Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen the movie.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier kicked box office ass over the weekend, and I'm sure most of you have seen it by now. This is my favorite Marvel movie so far, and it had a few easter eggs in it that you probably noticed. In a recent interview with Crave Online, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige discussed an easter egg involving Doctor Strange. It's no secret that Marvel is developing a Doctor Strange film, and the character was introduced into the Marvel cinematic universe in The Winter Soldier.
When Captain America and Black Widow are interrogating Agent Jasper Sitwell, Sitwell mentions a list of potential future threats to Hydra. On that list is "Stephen Strange," which is the name of the sorcerer supreme. When asked about the inclusion of the character's name, Feige replied,
"Well, 'we' know what it means and where we want to head with it, but we were comfortable with keeping it in there and leaving it in there because there are a few different ways to interpret it. The whole thing, what Sitwell’s saying is, this algorithm is going to predict if you’re going to become a problem for Hydra or not. So you don’t have to just be Tony Stark, actively plotting to save the world. You could be a kid whose SAT scores and whose essays have indicated that you’re going to be a problem one day. So is Stephen Strange the Sorcerer Supreme? Probably not at that point. Is he an unbelievably talented neurosurgeon who’s opinionated and kind of arrogant? Probably. That might put him on the list."
Feige went on to talk about Hawkeye and why he wasn't included in The Winter Soldier. He explains that all will be answered in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
"We will discover, later, the answers to that question. But it really came down to how many players can you have on the field at this time? We really wanted to bring in Falcon, we really wanted to team [Captain America] up with Black Widow, we really wanted Fury to have more of a part than he’s ever had in any of the other movies before. We wanted, ever so briefly, to introduce Sharon Carter. And we had a fun place for Maria Hill to be involved. So we didn’t want to just have, “Hey, I’m Hawkeye! Hey, I’m Iron Man!” We want to avoid the brief cameos of the week....Not every character from every movie is going to be in Age of Ultron, for sure. But Joss [Whedon] is excited and, for the characters you haven’t seen since the first Avengers – like Hawkeye, like Hulk – there’s a reason for that, and that gets showcased quite prominently in Age of Ultron."
He went on to talk about how the idea of S.H.I.E.L.D. being Hydra came about:
"I’ve been thinking since the first Captain America film that if the SSR was a… you know, the SSR was the organization that Captain was a part of in the first movie, and had the super soldier program. That was basically our version of the precursor to SHIELD, which in real life there was… I forget what it was called now, but there was a division that was a precursor to the CIA in real life, and in real life there was Operation Paperclip, which Widow mentions. They worked with Nazi scientists and Nazi equipment, and that’s part of where NASA came from.
"I had this thought for a long time that the SSR defeated Hydra, brought in their scientists, brought in their weaponry, that’s what SHIELD was founded on. But what if there was more to that than meets the eye? In Avengers, Captain America finds a Hydra helmet, Hydra weapons, and realizes that SHIELD has this whole plan Nick Fury was even aware of, of taking Hydra weapons and building them again. So I thought, what if SHIELD was Hyrda?"
Finally, Feige was asked, "Are we to believe that maybe that’s another one of the Infinity Stones, or is that just pure speculation at this point?"
"Well, it’s certainly pure speculation at this point. I’m not even sure if we even recognize Loki’s scepter [as an Infinity Stone], but that’s a big hint as to what will be causing them trouble in the next movie."
It's going to be fun seeing how all of this plays out in the future Marvel films. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is currently in theaters, and Avengers: Age of Ultron is set for release on May 1, 2015.