Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a major game-changer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The second chapter of Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) solo film adventures revealed that HYDRA had secretly infiltrated every corner of the modern MCU, while also revealing that Cap's best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) had survived WWII and become one of the most notorious assassins in history. Well, Chris Evans' Captain America ended his story in Avengers: Endgame, and one year after that film's release, directors The Russo Bros. have been sharing more insights about their time in the franchise - including an anecdote about how The Winter Soldier almost took fans back to WWII!
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier actually opened with a battle during WWII in one of the drafts. It was a massive battle that ended with a significant moment for Cap, but then fed into the story. And we ended up cutting that about two months before shooting."
Many Marvel fans consider Captain America: The Winter Soldier to be among the top films in the MCU, so there's no real gripe about how its story structure ultimately took shape. Still, it's not hard to see what The Russo Bros. were thinking, with this WWII sequence; a lot of The Winter Soldier's deeper themes deal with Steve Rogers' idea of freedom heroism clashing with a modern (post-9/11) age, where security over freedom is the rule of the day. Having the Russos put their own visual stamp on Cap's WWII battles would've been interesting - in particular because Joe Johnston's stylized version of the war in The First Avenger was a divisive choice for fans.
Still, the way that Russos went with The Winter Soldier's opening ultimately paid big dividends. The directors never could've foreseen that the quite, comedic "On your left" jogging sequence between Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) would culminate in the epic "On your left," moment in Avengers: Endgame. Falcon (and so many other MCU heroes) return from being dusted by Thanos in Infinity War, to join Cap on the battlefield against The Mad Titan, in a sequence that is still now going viral, and inspiring fans all over the world during the dark times for the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The story of Captain America continues in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series coming to Disney+ (eventually).