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The World of S.H.I.E.L.D Today
When Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" opens, about two years have passed since the alien invasion of New York was repulsed by Nick Fury's special team-The Avengers. The world is now well aware that extra-terrestrials, godlike beings and monsters may be lurking in the cosmos and that Super Heroes walk among us. The demand for protection of the world's citizenry has reached a zenith. In response to the world's justifiable fears, S.H.I.E.L.D. has expanded its presence to enhance the security of Earth.

Producer Kevin Feige explains the current state of affairs at the organization. "At the end of 'Marvel's The Avengers,' Nick Fury clearly disobeyed the World Security Council, which when we last saw them were sending a nuclear missile into Manhattan," says producer Kevin Feige. Luckily, Iron Man diverted that nuke and it didn't go off, so Nick has gotten a little bit more clout within S.H.I.E.L.D. Because of this growing clout he has been able to install people that are much closer to him now and they're working on various programs that will help tighten the security of the world."

S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new headquarters, called the Triskelion, is revealed for the first time in Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Built from the ground up in Washington, D.C., on Theodore Roosevelt Island, the Triskelion is the largest building in Washington, D.C. The building holds the expanded base of operations for S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as the World Security Council. This is where Nick Fury and his agents are based, as well as Alexander Pierce, a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. official who also is the head of the World Security Council.

The idea of the World Security Council came about because S.H.I.E.L.D. is so expansive and its responsibilities are so far-reaching that it cannot be run by only one country, so all countries have a voice in how S.H.I.E.L.D. operates. The World Security Council meets via holographic technology so members are able to be in their home countries but still have meetings in a virtual environment at the top of the Triskelion.

There are three redesigned helicarriers serving S.H.I.E.L.D. With new repulsor engines replacing turbines, courtesy of Tony Stark, the helicarriers no longer have to land and can remain orbital for as long as they need to be in order to protect the world. These ships, dubbed Project Insight helicarriers, are also more heavily weaponized, in response to the attack on New York where hoards of aliens were flooding out of a portal. Fury learned a lot from that battle and wanted ships up in the air that could combat attackers on a grand scale. The Project Insight helicarriers boast a more advanced and precise targeting system that links to a network of satellites.

The vertical takeoff and landing Quinjets used by The Avengers have also had an overhaul. Project Insight Quinjets, which unlike their grey counterparts are black, have more weapons than a traditional Quinjet. Quinjets were originally designed to be more of a transport vehicle but the new Quinjets, with their accelerated speed and weaponry, are built to be attack aircraft.

Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury's car also showcases some new technology. It has a voice guidance system that is very advanced but not quite up to the level of Jarvis' artificial intelligence that you see in Tony Stark's technology. But it does allow Fury to perceive threats before they are happening in order to identify and process information more quickly. It also allows him to communicate with other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents effortlessly. Fury's car is also a heavily armored vehicle-it features heavy metal panels and the glass is bulletproof. This allows him to drive around Washington, D.C. and be completely safe.

S.H.I.E.L.D.'s newly introduced S.T.R.I.K.E. Team utilizes a stealth weapon called the Energy Baton that can take out enemies quietly and effectively. The batons are about 18 inches in length with a point that extends out another foot. The S.T.R.I.K.E. Team, like a SWAT team or a Navy SEAL team, engages in undercover missions, so they need specialized armaments. The Energy Baton sits in a holster on the hip but when taken out and deployed, it is like a powerful high-tech Taser that, when touched to the person, incapacitates them immediately and takes them out of the game.

Steve Rogers aka Captain America works for S.H.I.E.L.D. now and out of necessity his red, white and blue costume needed to be replaced by a suit that would allow more stealth ability. As a result the new suit is darker blue with just a touch of red detail on the sides. The star on his chest is now silver instead of white. The new, subdued navy blue suit has a ballistic component, like Kevlar, that offers Captain America valuable extra protection. The suit is bulletproof and the mesh-like fabric also resists knife penetration. Captain America's helmet no longer has ear coverings and is designed to fit in with the style of his stealth suit. It also has a communication device built into it.

Captain America's distinctive shield is as much a signature for him as the hammer is to Thor, but when Captain America is on a stealth mission, an applique goes over his shield to subdue the red and make it less of a target. In Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Captain America throws his shield a lot more and also uses it as an offensive weapon, rather than just to block blows defensively. He uses the shield to strike opponents and has the ability to use the two handles on its inside in more of an eastern style of fighting in order to neutralize opponents.

Steve Rogers' style of fighting also got an upgrade. His fighting style was very 1940s old-school kick and punch but now Rogers has upped his game by mastering modern fighting techniques like Kung Fu, Mixed Martial Arts, Jujitsu and Krav Maga.

Black Widow uses her Widow's Cable in Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" in a new way: she swings from it. The cable is part of the Widow's Gauntlets that she wears, which also house her Widow's Bites. Distinctive only to her, Black Widow wears her wristbands almost all the time and they allow her increased flexibility in her fighting style. Black Widow's cell phone has some special capabilities that allow her to track incoming missiles and decode codes.

The phone doesn't talk to her but it allows her to process a lot of information quickly. In Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," the Marvel Cinematic Universe welcomes a new Super Hero with the introduction of the Falcon, who has been a fan favorite in comic books since 1969. Falcon, who is Sam Wilson in the story, aligns himself with Captain America and Black Widow to fight the enemies who are undermining world peace. Although Falcon is not a member of the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization in this film, you can be sure S.H.I.E.L.D. has taken notice of his exceptional abilities.

Falcon has the ability to fly and soar with a special suit that was developed by military ops and kept under wraps. Part of the suit's construction is the jet pack that provides the thrust that can keep Falcon aloft. The wings attached to the suit are like gliders, giving Falcon control of the direction of his flight when his hands are locked into them. When Falcon is doing maneuvers, he always has at least one hand on the wings for control. Falcon flies with goggles on to protect his vision while in flight.

Offensively, Falcon has a mini machine gun collapsed into a small box-like structure on each of his hips. When he taps the box, there is a magnetic switch that allows the gun to jump to his wrists and rest on wrist rails. Once in place, the guns quickly expand to their full size in his hand. This allows him to take his hand off the wing and shoot and then collapse the gun back into its side box by just tapping the box.

The wings of Falcon's suit are lightweight polymer with Kevlar detail so that small arms fire will not destroy them. Falcon also wears a short-sleeve Kevlar shirt and standard camouflage pants to keep as lightweight as possible so that he can stay in the air for longer periods of time.

Summing up, the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. is bigger and more powerful than ever and loaded with new weapons, vehicles, devices and gadgets that will excite and intrigue fans around the world and keep audiences on the edge of their seats in the not-to-be-missed thrill ride that is Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

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