Comic-Con: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' discusses race and romance

Though some footage was shown of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" at San Diego Comic-Con, there's still a lot of mystery surrounding the forthcoming Marvel Studios film. Emily VanCamp's character is known as either "Kate" or "Agent 13," but it's never been outright confirmed that she is playing Sharon Carter. Similarly stars Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo can only say so much about the way their roles as Falcon and Crossbones, respectively, play into the greater plot.

Zap2it had the opportunity to sit down with the trio at Comic-Con and talk to them about what they could say about their roles. For VanCamp, she at least teased that her character and Captain America get a small amount of screentime together.

"This is really just an introduction of this character. I'm in the movie just a small amount and you're just sort of getting to know who she is. It's sort of the beginning of who she becomes," she says. "We meet her and she's living next to Captain America and they sort of have a little moment together."

Later during the press line for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," VanCamp adds, "There's a really sweet, sweet scene where we first see them together and that's sort of the beginning of something for them, whatever that is."

Grillo at least has the benefit of playing a character that many people know a lot about. Like with Red Skull in "Captain America: The First Avenger," fans will get to witness Brock Rumlow's transformation into the supervillain Crossbones. The way Grillo teases it, Crossbones might not be offed in "The Winter Soldier."

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"They're introducing a character who -- I'm not saying anything out of place here -- but starts out as Rumlow and becomes the Crossbones. That's what this film is about," Grillo says. "Rumlow comes into this as one thing and ... eventually, hopefully, if it goes well, you'll see this guy change. Something happens."

Then there's Mackie, who has a pretty big responsibility portraying Marvel's first black superhero, the Falcon. As the name implies, the Falcon has wings and Mackie says, "I use them a bunch. I fly a lot and I get to fight a lot."

He was a fan of the Falcon growing up, and says it was his brother, a big comic book fan, who helped him prep for the role when he scored it. For Mackie, the joy of playing this role is getting to be an idol for those children who look up to Marvel's superheroes.

"It wasn't so much a burden as it was a blessing," Mackie says of getting the role. "I feel like there's a huge segment of our population that's being neglected as far as having people to look up to and having role models to look up to, and I'm really looking forward to next Halloween seeing bunch of little kids running around with wings on."

He adds, "That's why I feel like I hope they make Wonder Woman one day. I hope they bring back these cartoons that little girls and other little kids can look up to and see themselves in that person. It's very important. So being able to play Falcon was a huge coup de gras for me."

This won't be the last fans see of Falcon, either. Mackie teases, "I'm looking forward to later on hopefully in 'Cap 3' and other movies that we get to see him grow into who we know now is the Falcon."

During their day doing press, Grillo and Mackie brought up the subject of race a lot. Grillo says those conversations of racial issues can be applied to "The Winter Soldier" as well. "You could actually conceivably consider race an issue. Not black and white, but there are prejudices," he says. "I can't really say more than that."

With the Marvel Studios films being so overwhelmingly popular, there is an entire new generation of children who will grow up only knowing these versions of Captain America, Crossbones and Falcon instead of the comic book versions. VanCamp, Mackie and Grillo all say they feel some pressure living up to that responsibility.

"You want to do these characters justice. These are characters that have been loved over years and years and years. You want to kind of bring that quality to the character, but the nice thing about Marvel is they really, when they hire you, you really have the freedom to sort of build the character yourself as well with your director," VanCamp says. "I feel like they're doing that with all their movies right now and there's definitely a responsibility you feel but it's so much fun. These characters are just awesome and you get to go kick some a** all day."

Mackie adds, "I think there's a huge responsibility that's placed on us as actors because the superhero actor pool is so small. I think being placed in the Marvel world, all of the movies have worked so you don't want to be the first actor to f*** up the Marvel world. ... We're all trying to figure how we fit in and just play our role to keep the ball rolling."

So will we ever see either Mackie or VanCamp on "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD"? Mackie seems hopeful.

"The thing about the TV show as opposed to the movies, they have a lot of freedom and leeway to go further into the world of Marvel than we have because we have two hours and they have basically 22 hours," he says. "I think it would be an honor to not only have the ability to add to the TV show but to work with Joss Whedon. I feel like once you're in the Marvel family and under that umbrella, you have the ability to go back and forth and go all the way through it, and no other franchise or studio gives you the opportunity to do that."

Of course, VanCamp has another TV show she's starring on: "Revenge." The ABC series is currently shooting its third season, and VanCamp teases, "We lose someone in the first episode, I can say that. It's moving fast this, season. We just finished our first week, so it's going to be a great season."

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is due in theaters on April 4, 2014.

Photo/Video credit: Zap2it/Marvel Studios
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