There are three roles being cast by Marvel right now that are attracting a lot of attention. Two of them, Ant Man and the as yet unnamed “American Pilot” in Guardians of the Galaxy, we’re still a year or two away from hearing about. But the role of Captain America’s leading lady is in the final casting stages now as the film is scheduled to shoot in January. Previously I voted for Anna Kendrick and hoped the character would not be creepy Sharon Carter (descendant of Cap’s first lady-love, Peggy Carter), but perhaps fellow superhero Janet Van Dyne.

However, Deadline is now reporting that screen tests are taking place and Kendrick’s name isn’t on the leaked list. Bummer. I could’ve really gotten down with that. Imogen Poots is still on there, though, and I could get down with that. Also being tested are Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay, The Khaleesi (Emilia Clarke), Community’s Alison Brie and I Am Number 4’s Teresa Palmer. Brie has the advantage of being known to directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who are veterans of Community, and she’s also the only American on the list. The presence of so many Brits and Brit-adjacent Aussies makes me think the part really is Sharon Carter, as Peggy was flipped British for the movie. I guess if we’re going the Sharon route, we’ll at least get the inevitable “explain how being in love with the woman descended from the lady you used to bone isn’t gross and creepy” scene.

When I expressed my disappointment that Kendrick appears to be out of the running, Lainey said, “Isn’t it better for her career that she doesn’t go in that direction?” No. Movies are shifting (have shifted) from star-lead to character-driven vehicles. Franchises are vitally important to an actor’s profile and career health—look at how many top actors are involved in franchises these days. Ten years ago it was a wild hare for someone like Ian McKellen to deign to be in a franchise but he’s been in two.

Even if they only appear in one of the features in a trilogy, films of this profile and mass-market reach are a top priority for agents to book. More established actors are using franchises to reinvigorate their careers while the young’uns use them to further establish themselves. Kendrick does have a recurring role in Twilight, but that’s wrapping up this year. The difference between her and the likes of Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence isn’t talent or connections but franchise presence. If she, or anyone, intends to compete at that level, she’ll need another franchise under her belt.

As for other details relating to Captain America 2, there’s not much new out there. Scarlett Johansson will most likely be in it in some capacity (read: is totally going to show up for at least a cameo), but there’s no word on a villain other than the Winter Soldier. The Marvel movies pretty religiously follow a two villain format (or a six hundred villain format in the case of Thor 2), so I’m a little surprised we haven’t heard of a secondary villain yet. I guess we’ll have to content ourselves with fighting over which of these actresses we most want to see opposite Chris Evans.


(Lainey: in real life Evans is current preoccupied with Minka Kelly. Celebitchy was the first to report that the two were back together in August. Here he is, dropping her and her dog off after a sleepover the other night.)