When the Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer first hit, one of the weirdest things for me was watching Robert Redford and Nick Fury shake hands. And everybody was talking about The Sundance Kid (Redford's classic role alongside Paul Newman--kids, ask your parents) being in the cast of the film. But it struck me: I wonder if that could literally be the case?
In life as in the film (and sorry about spoilers, but Jesus, it's historical and the film's been out since 1969), Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid were both likely killed by the Bolivian Army in 1908. But there's been loads of speculation as to whether or not they actually died there. There's more than one theory out there about one or both of them surviving. (See the film Blackthorn for a fairly badass "Butch survived" setup.)
So here's another insane one. Let's say The Kid survived and managed to slowly make his way back to the United States. And let's say he continued to survive until World War II. He would have been in his mid-70s...and Robert Redford is 77 years old in real life.
So let's further say that some version of the Infinity Formula (from Marvel Comics...it slows down the aging process) was created in an attempt to recreate the process that made Steve Rogers into Captain America. The Kid could have been tapped by the government (for reasons unknown) and given the formula. Or maybe he wasn't given it by the government but some other rogue organization. Whatever. He's given it. And he regenerates and regains some youth as a result.
He takes on more than one alias before becoming Alexander Pierce. Those aliases could include Martin Bishop and Nathan Muir (his first job for the government that we know of). And the formula slows aging but doesn't stop it--so guess what, by the time we get to today, he would be the age Redford is now.
Mad? Perhaps. But The Two-Gun Kid traveled through time and joined The Avengers. And we're about to have a major motion picture starring a talking raccoon and a tree. So stranger things have happened and will continue to happen in Marveldom. And it's fun to go all Wold Newton on things. Helps make the wait until the film easier.