Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ could have had a narrative structure that copied ‘The Godfather: Part II’, if things had gone differently. This was revealed in Paul Terry and Tara Bennett's The Story of Marvel Studios book, released on October 19. The project tells a comprehensive history of the MCU from the perspective of its writers, directors, producers, and other artists.
As is, the thrust of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ is Steve's discovery that Hydra has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., and that Bucky Barnes is still alive but has been twisted into the villainous ‘Winter Soldier’. Whereas ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’focuses on Steve's growth into a capable hero and leader during ‘World War II’, ‘The Winter Soldier’ hones in on a darker part of the Star-Spangled Man's story during the 2010s, as he struggles to cope with the loss of his former life and relationships, and with the knowledge that the mission he "died" for was never completed.
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Perhaps because of the sequel's darker emotional landscape, the creative team behind ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ initially considered giving it a ‘Godfather: Part II’ structure. This would have entailed moving back and forth between scenes set in the present and those in the past.
‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ does make use of one scene from Steve ‘Captain America’ Rogers' past before he was frozen, the flashback in which Bucky offers the famous line, "I'm with you to the end of the line, pal." There's a stark emotional contrast between the touching friendship between the pair in this scene and the next, in which Sam Wilson warns Steve that Bucky may be beyond saving.