A CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER "What If?" About Robert Redford's S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Alexander Pierce

As Captain America: The Winter Soldier continues the California part of its production shoot—Cleveland and Washington D.C. location shoots coming very soon—more and more information is becoming available based on the set photos that have been hitting the Internet.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely playing a very large role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier to the point where Captain America himself is working with S.H.I.E.L.D., while he assimilates himself into modern society (remember he was frozen for decades). Not to mention all the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that are part of this film like: Black Widow, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, The Falcon, Agent 13 and Agent Sitwell. And don't forget that Robert Redford has been cast as Agent Alexander Pierce too.

Speaking of Redford's Agent Pierce, there is one record in the Marvel comic book universe of a character by this name and he has nothing to do with the Winter Soldier in the comic universe. As of right now, it is said that Agent Pierce is the Head of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is completely different to the comic universe version of the character. And as we all know, Marvel Studios likes to mislead and change things up in their movie universe, compared to their comic universe.

So this is where the speculation begins.

Keeping in mind that this movie is about the introduction of the Winter Soldier, we have to take a look at the comic book universe to get an idea of how things may pan out. One name that stands out in the Winter Soldier's comic universe story is that of Aleksander Lukin. Lukin's story will not be the same as in the comics, as it will most likely be in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but a connection might be there.

What if... Agent Pierce is actually an undercover Lukin? Yeah, that sounds a bit "out there" but anything is possible. This would mean that Agent Pierce is none other than the Red Skull, as in the comic book universe. With Hugo Weaving out as the Red Skull and no plans for him to reprise his role as the villain, it is tough for Marvel Studios to continue using the villain unless they want to recast/rebrand him and change his story to fit into the modern day. Agent Pierce could be that modern day version of the Red Skull.

Also, in the comics, Lukin is one of the reasons the Winter Soldier came to be and Agent Pierce might assume this role without using the same exact name in order to keep secrecy about Redford's character.

Think about it this way, the Red Skull could be more of a symbol of villainy, kind of like how Batman was more of a symbol (not a person) in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy. Yeah this is a very loose reference, but the Red Skull could be in a similar mold to this symbolism in order to continue using the villain in the movie universe.

Or maybe this is not the case. But if Captain America: The Winter Soldier has a plot twist which is  similar to Iron Man 3's plot twist (you'll understand this when you see Iron Man 3), then Agent Pierce could indeed be Red Skull. Or... and this is even a more far-fetched what if... Agent Pierce is just a cover for Dr. Heinrich Zemo, also known as Baron Zemo?

Anything is possible at this point, but do not discredit this theory until more is revealed about Redford's character in the new Cap movie. Especially since Captain America: The Winter Soldier is already confirmed to be a "political thriller" movie. Having some internal S.H.I.E.L.D. espionage by Agent Pierce would fit right into that genre classification.

If all this sounds crazy, it's okay. That's why it's called a "What If?" post.

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