A mere two days after the Muppets Most Wanted premiere, the red carpet was rolled out once again on Thursday, March 13  at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, this time for the premiere of Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the follow up to Captain America: The First Avenger from 2011.  On hand at the premiere were the leading cast from the film, including Chris Evans, reprising his role as Captain America; Scarlett Johansson, returning to her role of Black Widow; Samuel L. Jackson, as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury; Anthony Mackie, making his debut as the Falcon; and Sebastian Stan, reprising his role as Bucky, who is now the Winter Soldier.

At the premiere, Jackson stated his excitement with the film’s script, as they “were actually going to deal with something that has substance … the intrigue aspect of the script was awesome, the mystery, the doubt, the questions that arise … the way that everything plays out is really exciting in terms of what an action film usually is.”

Louis D’Esposito, executive producer, further called the film a “political thriller” with “Cap … he’s a soldier working for a spy organization, that makes for a lot of conflict and lot of turmoil.”

Co-director Joe Russo, expanded on the political intrigue aspects of the film and relevancy with today’s issues.  “We’re making a political thriller, and our favorite political thrillers growing up were very relevant to the times in which the film was made.  They were culturally relevant, topically relevant.  It creates an immediacy for the audience as they sense the paranoia of the lead character, because they have the same anxieties about world around them.  It’s very  important for us to have  topical themes, especially topical political themes.”  Expanding on the specific issues that the film addresses, Russo admitted, “I have all the same anxieties that Cap has in movie about drone technology, preemptive strikes, and civil liberty issues.  We want to put all that into the film to add another layer of texture to the movie.”

His brother, co-director Anthony Russo, described the challenge bringing the Falcon to the big screen.  “There’s a lot of pressure when introducing a character into the Marvel cinematic universe.  We knew we needed somebody who delivered everything … you believed as a superhero, who has that kind of strength and charisma, who could hold his own with actors like Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Sam Jackson.  Anthony Mackie is just a wonderful addition to the family.”

Mackie emphasized the challenges behind the wires, jetpack, and wings required for the Falcon to take flight.  “The wires were possibly the most painful experience of my life.  The hardest working actors in Hollywood are flying superheroes.  Nobody else experiences harnesses, wires and running into vans face-first at 15 mph.”

Sebastian Stan, returning as Bucky, who has transformed into the Winter Soldier, spoke about the challenges behind the fight sequence process.  “It’s just repetition, like learning piano, it’s so specific and meticulous, you just have to do it over and over again, and you have to be patient. You have to take it one beat at a time.”

Chris Evans spoke about the friendship between Cap and the Falcon.  “Cap doesn’t have a secret identity.  As a result, I think he is a little wary of people who are only interested in knowing him for his celebrity status.  When he first meets Sam Wilson, he treats him like a man – he treats him like a soldier.  As a result, Cap finds an immediate comfort, and that friendship is not only necessary to Cap’s personal life, it ends up being necessary to script.”  Evans further discussed the challenges his character faces this time around and the “shades of grey” he must deal with.  “They make it difficult for him to understand who he’s working for. It’s not necessarily about adjusting to modern technology, it’s about adjusting to modern society.  It’s a grey area for Cap.”

With regards to the Black Widow, Johansson was thrilled about further expanding her character.  “The most exciting thing … I got to have more input this time around … we really get to focus on the relationship between Cap and Widow and also learn a little bit more about who she is outside of the job.  So it was fun for me to be able to incorporate my back story that I’ve been developing and finally get a chance to play that here.”

Also present at the premiere were the cast of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., now airing on ABC Television, further demonstrating the tighter integration between Marvel’s cinematic universe and fledgling television universe.  Ming-Na Wen, who plays Agent Melinda May, spoke of the increased tie-in.  “The hashtag of it’s all connected it’s really coming true … it’s such a marriage at this point, that you can’t watch our television show now without having seen the movie.”

Other Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast members on hand were Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) with wife Jennifer Grey, Chloe Bennet (Skye), Brett Dalton (Agent Ward), Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker (Fitz-Simmons).

Other cast members present included Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Callan Mulvey (Jack Rollins), Georges St-Pierre (Batroc the Leaper), Max Hernandez (Jasper Sitwell), Cobie Smulders (Agent Hill), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow), and Emily VanCamp (Agent 13).

Also on hand to support his fellow Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. members was Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye).

Invited guests included Disney Channel stars Kelli Berglund, Olivia Holt, Piper Curda and China Anne McClain.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters on April 4, 2014.

(Photo credits: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America, Christopher Polk/Getty Images North America, Charley Gallay/Getty Images North America, Jason Merritt/Getty Images North America, Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America, Axelle/Bauer-Griffin)