If this pans out, it answers some questions for me about the timeline for "Captain America: The First Avenger."

After all, the footage we see of Howard Stark in "Iron Man 2," where John "Mad Men" Slattery appears in the role, was supposedly filmed in the '70s.  And Slattery appears to be in his 50s at that point.  That would mean he was in his 20s back in the time period of the majority of the action in "Captain America," back when he was one of the founding partners in S.H.I.E.L.D. 

We already know from the "Iron Man" films that Howard Stark helped design at least a prototype for the Captain America shield, because we've seen it in Tony Stark's workshop twice now as part of the junk left behind by his dad.  It seems sort of like a throwaway joke in "Iron Man 2," in particular, but after we see the role that Howard Stark plays in "Captain America," we may think of that scene very differently.

Since Marvel needs a much younger Howard Stark, they're looking at Dominic Cooper to play the part.  He's the guy who played Amanda Seyfried's boyfriend in "Mamma Mia," and last year, he was Peter Sarsgaard's slimy partner in crime in "An Education."  His breakthrough role was both onstage and on film in "The History Boys," and he's proven himself to be an interesting young actor who hasn't really had a mainstream success of his own.

Playing a key role in a big Marvel movie like this could be very good for people's overall awareness of who he is, and I'm curious to see just how big a part Howard Stark has in the film.  As far as this news break goes, it's hard sometimes when you're not in the scoop-seeking business to realize that you've even got a scoop on your hands.  In this case, Salon was the place where this story originated, but it took Elizabeth Rappe over at Cinematical to realize that Cooper had spilled some new information. 

Little by little, "Captain America: The First Avenger" is coming into focus, and it's getting more interesting every single day.  We'll have more for you as production begins and hopefully all the way through the film's release next year, on July 22, 2011.