Two weeks ago, Scott Weinberg and I sat down to discuss the DVD release of The Incredible Hulk. It proved to be a popular conversation starter among readers, and I had planned on doing it again the next time there was a big movie release to theaters or DVD. I don't want to abuse the format, and I hardly think everyone wants to just read my goofy AIM conversations. But with the news that First Avenger: Captain America finally had its director in Joe Johnston, I decided that the news was worthy of sitting down with the biggest Captain America fan I know, Wes Robinson. Robinson is the steady first mate of Enchanted Grounds, arguably my favorite place in Colorado. Robinson is one of the best Dungeon Masters in the state, pulls the coolest comics for me, is a maker of fine food and coffee, and an all around awesome guy.

What I think is particularly key about a conversation like this is how quickly it destroys the notion that devoted fans are impossible to please. We really are an enthusiastic and optimistic group of people, badly represented by a few rabid nuts with online access. Don't get me wrong -- I know they exist and I've written about them, but this notion that "the fans will hate it anyway, so who cares" really ignores the normal, happy-go-lucky fans that I know and write for. So, more than a goofy AIM conversation, think of this yet another effort to knock down that Berlin Wall of bad reputation. And I hope you enjoy, and pick up the conversation where it left off.

Wes: Captain America!!!

Elisabeth: Yeah! Let's talk Captain America!

Wes: Okay!

Elisabeth: So, what do you think of the choice of director?

Wes: Well I was a big fan of The Rocketeer ...I think he will be able to capture the feel of a period piece Cap movie for sure. I mean, that's really the only way to do the first Cap movie -- set in WWII. I am happy they chose someone who is familiar with doing period pieces. So overall, I am very optimistic about the choice.

Continued after the jump
Elisabeth: Cool. I am too, I think The Rocketeer really is the best thing you can have on your resume when heading into Captain America. Now, who's your pick for Captain America? The world wants to know. I'm at a loss, myself. He *has* to be American, and I just can't think of anyone outside Aaron Eckhart who has that squeaky clean blonde goodness.

Wes: Well, a little while ago a few folks talked about it and I saw Leonardo DiCaprio's name dropped. Originally, I said hell no. Then I watched Blood Diamond and The Aviator and, honestly, he proved to be Captain Action, and that he could fit into the time frame very well. He just needs 30 plus pounds of muscle.

Elisabeth:
You know, I could see it -- I think he'd be especially good as the wimpy and sickly Steve Rogers who they shoot up with serum. Buff him up, 300 style, and voila!

Wes: My personal only other choice would be Tahmoh Penikett from Battlestar Galactica. He has the height, the build, the jaw, the presence to be Cap.

Elisabeth: I must google him, hold on. (Remember, I don't watch BSG!)

Wes: He just needs a bit more muscle and bam! Shield slinging hero!

Elisabeth: Yeah, he does look like Cap! It would be good to have a semi-unknown too, someone who didn't bring in the "OMG LOOK!" aspect of DiCaprio or even Eckhart at this point.

Wes: Plus he has shown with his role as Helo that he has the military feel to him. Eckhart is too old. Cap was a young man when he started. DiCaprio still has that young feel to him, as does Penikett.

Elisabeth: Now, here's a kind of weird thought -- do you like the whole crossover direction they're going with Cap, or do you wish he could have existed in his own universe?

Wes: I like the crossover as long as they handle it right and don't totally F it up. Giving each character a movie, then doing a big ensemble movie is a great idea! Captain America is a leader. Having him go solo, while awesome, it would be [even better] to see him stand toe to toe with Iron Man and Thor, and hear him call out "AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!" I would pretty much die in geek heaven at that point. That and it looks like they are taking the more "Ultimate" universe approach with the movies. Seeing him drop the Hulk in one on one combat would pretty much rule.

Elisabeth: I think if there is a geek heaven, you have indeed described it. Although the thought that I'll never see Cap smash Wolverine in the head with his shield makes my throat tighten. ;)

Wes: Heh. Well someday, you never know, we might see the Old Canucklehead and Cap square off. Never say never.

Elisabeth: Yes, I keep hoping that Marvel will be able to buy one X-Man back, or Fox and Marvel will willingly hop in bed for a crossover.

Wes: Stranger things have happened. See, I grew up loving comic books, and Captain America symbolized patriotism, virtue, and everything that was supposed to be good about America. His character was both a reminder and a reassurance to an America struggling with its own place in a world that was spinning out of control, and into war. But it was the theme of patriotism that was most central to this character. From his red, white, and blue costume and matching shield to the enemies he faced down in issue after issue, they included everyone from the evil Red Skull to Adolf Hitler himself, who was sometimes under a hooded mask as the villainous Hate Monger. Captain America was the original go-to guy.

Elisabeth: The timing couldn't be better -- and he's the antithesis to my least favorite comic trick "This beloved character cannot be trusted."

Wes: Agreed

Elisabeth:
I think it's going to be awesome to have a superhero who is 100% good, incorruptible, and yet believably so -- he isn't the otherworldly Superman. At his heart, he's still just a patriot, a guy who's as good as your grandpa.

Wes: Exactly

Elisabeth: You know who would have been the perfect Cap? Paul Newman. I wish we could alter the time space continuum.

Wes
: Back in the day he would have for sure. My biggest wish is that they get his suit right too. I don't want to see Spandex. I want to see the scale armored approach. Or his look from his WWII appearance in The Ultimates either would be good with me. Just so he doesn't look as bad as he did in the direct to video movie in the '90s where even the ears on the costume were rubber.

Elisabeth
: Me too -- a combo of leather and some kind of metal/scalemail would be cool. They've been dodging the Spandex bullet pretty well in the superhero films, thank god. No one would be able to take them seriously if they stuck with shiny, clingy, Spandex.

Wes
: Nope. Not at all

Elisabeth
: Rubber ears ... sigh. I don't know what they were thinking. All right, now your Cap fandom must really be let off the leash.

Wes: Okay ...

Elisabeth: We know his origin story is going to be set entirely in WWII, and we know that the Avengers movie is *probably* going to involve fighting the Hulk. But you know they can't, or won't, stop at a single Cap movie.

Wes: Yup. Well, he does have a wealth of villains.

Elisabeth: So, what solo adventure would you want to see?

Wes: Well, that depends. If the first movie just deals with Cap's Origin, there is a wealth of WWII era tales that could be worked with. But I think the movie is going to follow, Origin, gloss over his WWII career, and end with him getting frozen. I would love to see a hard action Cap vs HYDRA movie

Elisabeth: Oooh, yeah. That would be cool -- and you just know they'll want to go dark with Cap somehow.

Wes: You have some great bad guys there and if could even lend itself to showing the birth of A.I.M. and maybe seeing M.O.D.O.K on the Big Screen he'd be a wicked cool special effect. The could even do a movie dealing with Bucky...Having him in the origin movie...and then having Cap have to deal with him as the Russian Assassin the Winter Soldier...plus then we can see the Black Widow in all her tight black leathery goodness

Elisabeth
: I'm dying to see the Black Widow. I love Russian assassins. Even a bad movie improves when you add a Russian, clad in black, and packing a hell of a gun.

Wes
: Cap has a presence that could span and almost James Bond-ish feel. He has a good collection of villain organizations to deal with. HYDRA, A.I.M, the Serpent Society, Ultimatum, and he has some cool looking villains to boot. Red Skull, Crossbones, Taskmaster just to name a few

Elisabeth: Crossbones would be scary as hell -- the costume alone.

Wes: Honestly I would like to see Captain America done in a not glossy, glitzy way at all. He's a soldier, and lives a soldier's life. But he's a good man doing the right thing ... he's the bar heroic standards are set to.

Elisabeth:
The Avengers film is bound to be the sort of shiny, high-tech look of Iron Man -- but I agree, I think his origin story should be kept realistic, go back to what WWII was *really* like and capture the fear that was hanging over the world. Cap will shine gloriously by contrast. Damn, that would be so cool.

Wes: Yeah, plus, can't have enough of the News Reels that ran before movies. Man I am giddy just thinking of the possibilities!