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Watching the Disney movie Sky High - a spoof of the super hero genre in a high school alternative universe - I am struck by how similar it is to Marvel's Winter Soldier.

Specifically, the main character is an obvious Captain America stand-in, with the red white and blue color set and super strength and all-American boy characterization. The female sidekick is an unassuming but kickass redhead best friend to the main character. The black sidekick looks up the the main character and is basically comic relief. And the anti-hero, Warren Peace (hehe War and Peace) looks exactly like The Winter Soldier as portrayed by Sebastian Shaw. Except this was 10 years before Shaw. The main part being the long disheveled black hair, which is not what the character had when introduced in the comics in 2005, a year after Sky High. The Winter Soldier didn't get long hair until Shaw's portrayal in 2014.

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Original Winter Soldier Look (Winter Soldier 2006), significantly shorter hair:

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The hero and the anti-hero fight, then become friends at the end.

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Of course, the movie came out five years before Disney bought Marvel. So are there any real connections between these movies aside from superficial similarities and genre cliches? Similar production staff? Actual references?

To boot, it's almost like Civil War as well, with the villain that the Captain-america stand in fights being a super genius with technology with a super ego to boot. The villain is also holding a grudge, and goes through a long plot of retrieving an important object in the heroes possession.

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    I would say it's doubtful to find proof of this, and more so for it to be true, it would be very interesting if it was, Skyhigh certainly deserves more love. – Joshua Page Sep 18 '16 at 1:42
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Barring evidence to the contrary, I'd say there's no direct connection. It's more likely just common archetypes and visualization of characters through costume.

The primary hero often wears costumes in primary/patriotic colors (e.g.: Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Captain Marvel) and is usually clean-cut.

They also tend to have a darker/gritty frenemy/rival (eg.: Superman & Batman, Leonardo & Raphael, Captain America & Winter Soldier, Cyclops & Wolverine).

There's also usually a chick and a brainy friend or a token to round out the team.

Check out the TVTropes for the Five-Man Band and the Four Elements.


I had another thought (Why not look up "winter soldier costume inspiration"?) and found this blog post. While not official, it has some quality conjecture. One of the points it makes about the different looks for Bucky Barnes and the Winter Soldier.

1940s Bucky Barnes is the youthful, clean-cut sidekick and looks like this.

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Whereas the tortured and abused Winter Soldier looks like this. enter image description here

From a HYDRA perspective, denying the Winter Soldier basic necessities such as hygiene would help to degrade him and keep his spirit down. His clothes are chosen for utility, praticality, and durability.

And it's how he was portrayed in the comics. This one was published in 2005. enter image description here

  • His clothes isn't the issue, the hair was. Note the info graphic at MTV that I link to before the first picture that shows Capt and bucky costume evolution as well. – cde Sep 18 '16 at 9:35
  • I'd say that's still part of the grunge/bad boy look. – miltonaut Sep 21 '16 at 1:03

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