Talking with Marvel Studios prez Kevin Feige after the astonishing Iron Man 2 panel at Comic Con, I found out some pretty fascinating news: Captain America won’t be working alone in his new movie.

Feige wouldn’t exactly confirm that Cap would be working with The Invaders, and in fact he gave a coy ‘I don’t know’ when asked point blank, but he did say that there is a group that might help sell a very American film to foreign audiences.

Setting it in the Marvel version of WWII is going to open it up [to an
international audience] in a big way. It’ll actually end up being our
most diverse and our most international film. In terms of the cast
there’s a group that [Cap] works with that will have an opportunity for
much more international casting.

The Invaders (formerly known as the All-Winners Squad) was a super-team during WWII that counted Captain America and Bucky among its members. Also in The Invaders were British superhero Union Jack, Namor the Sub-Mariner, speedster Whizzer, The Blazing Skull, the Human Torch and even a couple of female characters, Miss America and the Silver Scorpion.

I think this means we’re almost guaranteed to see Union Jack (or possibly Captain Britain thrown into the Union Jack role), but who else might be joining this team? Feige confirmed that while Fox owns the Johnny Storm Human Torch, Marvel Studios retains the rights to the android Human Torch, and Feige actually used the Torch as an example of what makes the Marvel version of WWII actually be the Marvel version of WWII (but he also said that he just wasn’t sure if they would use him). If they go with the original team members it would be very simple to change characters like Silver Scorpion or The Blazing Skull into Europeans.

I get the impression that at the moment the membership of the cinematic Invaders is pretty much in flux. The only member of The Invaders who is pretty much guaranteed to be left out is Namor, who as far as I know is part of the Fantastic Four package at Fox.

While we always knew that the Red Skull would be the villain in this film, Feige namedropped a villainous organization that surprised me: Hydra, a technologically advanced terrorist group that was a staple foe of Silver Age Captain America and SHIELD. He specifically called Hydra ‘an aspect of WWII that made Cap special.’ In the comics Hydra isn’t really active until after the Second World War, as it’s headed by a number of fugitive Nazi types. Is it possible that Feige is hinting that Hydra will be set up as the villain of The Avengers during the Captain America movie? As The Avengers come out after this film, that seems plausible. I’m working on a story about the villain of The Avengers movie, and I’ll talk about this more there.

Another character who could very likely turn up in The First Avenger: Captain America (and yes, that title is part of how they’re selling the film internationally) is Tony Stark’s dad, Howard. In Iron Man we saw Captain America’s shield as an easter egg; combining stuff I saw on the set of Iron Man 2 with information gleaned from today’s panel (Whiplash seems to hate Tony Stark because of the Stark family), I realized that Howard Stark has a complicated WWII backstory. Feige wouldn’t confirm the character’s appearance, but his reaction makes me think I’m on to something, and that Howard Stark may be something more than a cute cameo (which I think is all but guaranteed).