Steve Rogers (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
|Marvel Cinematic Universe character|
Steve Rogers / Captain America, as portrayed by Chris Evans in (L-R) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
|First appearance||Captain America:|
The First Avenger
|Full name||Steven Grant "Steve" Rogers|
|Title||Captain (U.S. Army)|
Steve Rogers is a fictional character portrayed by Chris Evans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film franchise, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name and known commonly as Captain America. In the films, Steve Rogers is a World War II-era U.S. Army soldier who was given enhanced physical and mental capabilities with a "super soldier" serum developed by the military, and who was later frozen in ice for 70 years. As of 2019[update], the character is one of the central figures of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having played a major role in six films of the series, and having a brief cameo in two.
- 1 Concept, creation, and characterization
- 2 Marvel Cinematic Universe
- 3 Fictional character biography
- 4 Differences from the comic books
- 5 Reception
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Concept, creation, and characterization
Captain America was first conceived as a comic book character in 1940, as a direct response to the military actions of Nazi Germany, prior to the United States entering World War II. The initial introduction of the character included the concepts of a soldier named Steve Rogers being given a serum bestowing enhanced strength and agility, wearing a patriotic red white and blue uniform, carrying a shield, and having as a sidekick a teenaged Bucky Barnes. In the 1960s, Marvel decided to test bringing the character back as part of the Avengers, with the premise that the character had been frozen for the two decades since the war, and was "haunted by past memories, and trying to adapt to 1960s society". Live-action performances of the character in television and film serials began within a few years after its creation, with a 1990 feature film coming as a critical and financial failure.
In the mid-2000s, Kevin Feige realized that Marvel still owned the rights to the core members of the Avengers, which included Captain America. Feige, a self-professed "fanboy", envisioned creating a shared universe just as creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had done with their comic books in the early 1960s. In 2005, Marvel received a $525 million investment from Merrill Lynch, allowing them to independently produce ten films, including Captain America. Paramount Pictures agreed to distribute the film.
Originally, the film would stand alone; producer Kevin Feige said "about half" the movie would be set during World War II before moving into the modern day. Producer Avi Arad said, "The biggest opportunity with Captain America is as a man 'out of time', coming back today, looking at our world through the eyes of someone who thought the perfect world was small-town United States. Sixty years go by, and who are we today? Are we better?" He cited the Back to the Future trilogy as an influence, and claimed he had "someone in mind to be the star, and definitely someone in mind to be the director". In February 2006, Arad hoped to have a summer 2008 theatrical release date. In April 2006, David Self was hired to write the script. Joe Johnston met with Marvel to discuss directing the film, and signed on in November 2008, hiring Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely to rewrite.
Variety reported in March 2010 that Chris Evans was cast as Captain America and Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull; Ryan Phillippe and John Krasinski were also considered for the role of Captain America. Evans, who previously worked with Marvel as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four film series, initially declined the part three times before signing a six-picture deal with Marvel, saying, "I think Marvel is doing a lot of good things right now, and it's a fun character. ... I think the story of Steve Rogers is great. He's a great guy. Even if it [were] just a script about anybody, I would probably want to do it. So it wasn't necessarily about the comic itself." In April, it was reported that Joss Whedon would rewrite the script as part of his negotiation to write and direct The Avengers. Whedon said in August, "I just got to make some character connections. The structure of the thing was really tight and I loved it, but there were a couple of opportunities to find his voice a little bit —and some of the other characters' — and make the connections so that you understood exactly why he wanted to be who he wanted to be. And progressing through the script to flesh it out a little bit".
In the MCU series, Steve Rogers begins as a frail, sickly young man who is enhanced to the peak of human ability by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort. Regarding the extent of the character's abilities Evans remarked, "He would crush the Olympics. Any Olympic sport he's gonna dominate. He can jump higher, run faster, lift stronger weight, but he can be injured. He could roll an ankle and be out for the season. He's not perfect, he's not untouchable. So a lot of the effects, if I'm going to punch someone they're not going to put them on a cable and fly them back 50 feet, but he's going to go down, probably not getting back up, which I think humanizes it. It makes it something that, again, I think everyone can relate to a little bit more, which I really like."
In The Avengers, Evans said that Rogers is much darker: "It's just about him trying to come to terms with the modern world. You've got to imagine, it's enough of a shock to accept the fact that you're in a completely different time, but everybody you know is dead. Everybody you cared about. . . He was a soldier, obviously, everybody he went to battle with, all of his brothers in arms, they're all dead. He's just lonely. I think in the beginning it's a fish-out-of-water scene, and it's tough. It's a tough pill for him to swallow. Then comes trying to find a balance with the modern world". Regarding the dynamic between Rogers and Tony Stark's (Robert Downey, Jr.), Evans said, "I think there's certainly a dichotomy—this kind of friction between myself and Tony Stark, they're polar opposites. One guy is flash and spotlight and smooth, and the other guy is selfless and in the shadows and kind of quiet and they have to get along. They explore that, and it's pretty fun." A key moment in The Avengers occurs when Stark, who has been dismissive of Rogers at earlier points in the film, defers to Rogers as leader of the newly formed team to defend New York against a large-scale attack. Describing his character's continuing adjustment to the modern world in The Winter Soldier, Evans said, "It's not so much about his shock with [technology]... It's more about the societal differences. He's gone from the '40s to today; he comes from a world where people were a little more trusting, the threats not as deep. Now, it's harder to tell who's right and wrong. Actions you take to protect people from threats could compromise liberties and privacy. That's tough for Steve to swallow."
In his next appearance, in Age of Ultron, Rogers is the leader of the Avengers. Evans stated that since the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Rogers has been left to depend on his Avenger teammates without the structure of military life and is now "looking to understand where he belongs, not just as a soldier, as Captain America, but as Steve Rogers, as a person." In Civil War, Rogers becomes the leader of a faction of Avengers against regulation. Director Anthony Russo described Captain America's character arc in the film as taking "him from the most ra-ra company man" to someone who is "a somewhat willing propagandist" to "an insurgent" at the end of the film. Unlike the comics' Civil War, the film was never going to kill Rogers, as the directors thought that was "an easy ending ... The more difficult and more interesting place to leave a family fight is: can these important relationships ever be repaired? Is this family broken permanently?"
Joe Russo said after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Rogers struggles with the conflict between his responsibility to himself and his responsibility to others. In Infinity War, the character therefore embodies the "spirit" of his comic alternate identity Nomad in the film. An early draft of the film experimented with Rogers first appearing in the film saving Vision from Corvus Glaive's attack in Wakanda. Markus and McFeely said they were called "insane" for waiting that long to introduce Rogers into the film and ultimately conceded it was "not [a] satisfying" approach.
Rogers has been criticized for his civilian attire, described as being "like a Kohl's mannequin, or a Wii avatar: bereft of patterns, graphics, imagery or anything you couldn’t color in with one singular crayon".
Appearance and special effects
Costume designer Anna B. Sheppard stated the Captain America's uniform in Captain America: The First Avenger was partly based on that of paratroopers of the era, explaining, "I think that the challenge of this costume was that it had to look 40s, that's why certain elements like using leather for the straps and belt, metal buckles and not having too tight a fit were important. Forget spandex!" Visual Development Supervisor Ryan Meinerding elaborated, "The straps that come off his chest are very similar to the ALICE webbing that was used in Vietnam. Using the straps as the stripes across his torso then seemed like an elegant design solution. In the end, the main design aspects of this suit are meant to be about making it appear soldier-like, functional and tough."
For The Winter Soldier, Evans trained in parkour, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, boxing, kickboxing, and gymnastics, as the Russo brothers believed that bringing Rogers into the modern day also meant that he had studied and mastered modern fighting styles and techniques. The filmmakers also looked to make the character's shield, which has traditionally been used for defense, a more offensive weapon. For Age of Ultron, Evans said that he was able to maintain the strength he built up for The Winter Soldier by working out up to an hour a day. Evans felt he did not want to take a step back from the skills shown in The Winter Soldier, making sure Rogers' fighting style advanced, showing "a consistent display of strength" and having Rogers utilizing his environment. Evans' training regimen to get in shape for the role included weight lifting, which consisted of "the classic bodyweight and bodybuilding stuff", gymnastics and plyometrics, while staying away from cardio-based exercises, along with a high-protein diet. His costume in the film received "subtle changes to all the details and cut" as well as its color, becoming a combination of the stealth suit from Winter Soldier and the Avengers: Age of Ultron suit.
In Infinity War, Rogers receives new vibranium gauntlets from Shuri to replace his traditional shield.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Appearances in feature films
Chris Evans portrays Steve Rogers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain Marvel (2019) and is set to appear again in Avengers: Endgame (2019). In addition Evans makes an uncredited cameo appearance in Ant-Man (2015). Evans has confirmed that he intends to retire from the role after the fourth Avengers film, leading to speculation that the character will die over the course of the final film. Theater actor Leander Deeny was the body double in some shots in the first film for Steve Rogers' pre-transformation physique.
References from other films
- In the 2008 film Iron Man, a replica of Captain America's shield can be seen in Tony Stark's workshop when JARVIS is removing his armor and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) spots him.
- In the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk, General Ross (William Hurt) mentions to Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) that there was a World War II program that created a supersoldier serum. The supersoldier serum is shown as well as Dr. Reinstein referenced as its inventor (in the comics, Dr. Reinstein was a pseudonym for Dr. Erskine to avoid Nazi persecution). Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) was involved in an experiment combining the serum with gamma radiation, which resulted in his transformation into the Hulk. Blonsky is then injected with the serum in order to take on the Hulk, the subsequent combination of the serum and Banner's blood transforming Blonsky into the Abomination. In the film's deleted opening, Bruce Banner goes to the Arctic to commit suicide but transforms into the Hulk, smashing a glacier. A buried human figure and shield are visible, who are meant to be Rogers and his shield.
- In the 2010 film Iron Man 2, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) discovers an incomplete replica of Captain America's shield inside a box. When he asks Tony Stark if he knows what it is, Tony tells him that it's "just what I need" and places the shield underneath his particle collider to level it. There is also a Captain America comic book (which made an appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger) in Howard Stark's crate delivered to Tony from Nick Fury.
- In the 2013 film Thor: The Dark World, Chris Evans makes an uncredited cameo appearance as Loki masquerading as Captain America.
The 2013 Marvel One-Shot short film Agent Carter features the exploits of Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) one year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, and features a flashback of Carter's final communication with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). The scene was also shown in the first episode of Agent Carter.
Fictional character biography
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Origin and World War II era activity
Steve Rogers was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 4, 1918. His father died of mustard gas while in the Army, and his mother Sarah, a nurse, died of tuberculosis. At the outset of World War II, he tries to enlist but is repeatedly rejected due to several health problems. In 1943, while attending an exhibition of future technologies with his friend, Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes, Rogers makes another attempt. Dr. Abraham Erskine overhears Rogers speaking with Barnes about wanting to help in the war, and approves his enlistment. He is recruited into the Strategic Scientific Reserve as part of a "super-soldier" experiment under Erskine, Col. Chester Phillips, and British agent Peggy Carter. Phillips is unconvinced by Erskine's claims that Rogers is the right person for the procedure but relents after seeing Rogers commit an act of self-sacrificing bravery. The night before the treatment, Erskine reveals to Rogers that Nazi officer Johann Schmidt underwent an imperfect version of the procedure and suffered permanent side-effects.
Erskine subjects Rogers to the super-soldier treatment, injecting him with a special serum and dosing him with "vita-rays". After Rogers emerges from the experiment taller and more muscular, an undercover assassin kills Erskine and flees. Rogers pursues and captures the assassin, who avoids interrogation by committing suicide with a cyanide capsule. With Erskine dead and his super-soldier formula lost, U.S. Senator Brandt has Rogers tour the nation in a colorful costume as "Captain America" to promote war bonds while scientists study him and attempt to rediscover the formula. In 1943, while on tour in Italy performing for active servicemen, Rogers learns that Barnes' unit was MIA in a battle against Schmidt's forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers has Carter and engineer Howard Stark fly him behind enemy lines to mount a solo rescue attempt. Rogers infiltrates the fortress of Schmidt's Nazi division Hydra, freeing Barnes and the other prisoners. Rogers confronts Schmidt, who reveals himself to be "the Red Skull" and escapes.
Rogers recruits Barnes and several others to form a team to attack other known Hydra bases. Stark outfits Rogers with advanced equipment, most notably a circular shield made of vibranium, a rare, nearly indestructible metal. The team later captures Hydra member Dr. Arnim Zola on a train, but Barnes falls from the train. Using information extracted from Zola, Rogers leads an attack on the final Hydra stronghold to stop Schmidt from using weapons of mass destruction on major American cities. Rogers climbs aboard Schmidt's aircraft as it takes off, and during the subsequent fight the Tesseract's container is damaged. Schmidt physically handles the Tesseract, causing him to dissolve in a bright light. The Tesseract burns through the plane and is lost in the ocean. Seeing no way to land the plane without the risk of detonating its weapons, Rogers crashes it in the Arctic. Stark later recovers the Tesseract from the ocean floor but is unable to locate Rogers or the aircraft, presuming him dead.
Adjusting to the modern era
Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Deducing from an anachronistic radio broadcast that something is wrong, he flees outside and finds himself in present-day Times Square, where S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury informs him that he has been "asleep" for nearly 70 years. In a post-credits scene, Fury approaches Rogers and proposes a mission with worldwide ramifications.
When the Asgardian Loki arrives and begins menacing Earth, seizing the Tesseract from a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. Fury reactivates the Avengers Initiative and approaches Rogers with an assignment to retrieve the Tesseract. In Stuttgart, Rogers and Loki fight briefly until Tony Stark appears in his Iron Man armor, resulting in Loki's surrender. While Loki is being escorted to S.H.I.E.L.D., Thor arrives and frees him, hoping to convince him to abandon his plan and return to Asgard. After a confrontation with Stark and Rogers, Thor agrees to take Loki to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s flying aircraft carrier, the Helicarrier.
The Avengers become divided, both over how to approach Loki and the revelation that S.H.I.E.L.D. plans to harness the Tesseract to develop weapons. Agents possessed by Loki attack the Helicarrier, disabling one of its engines in flight, which Stark and Rogers must work to restart. Loki escapes, and Stark and Rogers realize that for Loki, simply defeating them will not be enough; he needs to overpower them publicly to validate himself as ruler of Earth. Loki uses the Tesseract to open a wormhole in New York City above Stark Tower to allow the Chitauri fleet in space to invade. Rogers leads the others in defending the city.
Fighting the Winter Soldier
Two years later, Rogers works for S.H.I.E.L.D. in Washington, D.C., under Director Fury, while adjusting to contemporary society. Rogers and Agent Natasha Romanoff are sent with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team, led by Agent Rumlow, to free hostages aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Georges Batroc and his mercenaries. Mid-mission, Rogers discovers Romanoff has another agenda: to extract data from the ship's computers for Fury. Rogers returns to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters, to confront Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats against America. Unable to decrypt the data recovered by Romanoff, Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce to delay the project.
Fury, ambushed by assailants led by the Winter Soldier, escapes and warns Rogers that S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised. Fury is gunned down by the Winter Soldier, but hands Rogers a flash drive containing data from the ship. Pierce summons Rogers to the Triskelion. When Rogers withholds Fury's information, Pierce brands him a fugitive. Hunted by S.T.R.I.K.E., Rogers meets with Romanoff. Using data in the flash drive they discover a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker in New Jersey, where they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola reveals that ever since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, Hydra has secretly operated within its ranks. A S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker, and the pair realize that Pierce is Hydra's leader within S.H.I.E.L.D.
Rogers and Romanoff enlist the help of former USAF pararescueman Sam Wilson, whom Rogers befriended, and acquire his powered "Falcon" wingpack. Deducing that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is a Hydra mole, they force him to divulge Hydra's plan to use satellite-guided guns to eliminate individuals identified by an algorithm as a threat to Hydra. They are ambushed by the Winter Soldier, who Rogers recognizes as Bucky Barnes, his friend who was captured and experimented upon during WWII. Hill manages to extract the trio to a safehouse where Fury, who had faked his death, is waiting with plans to sabotage the Helicarriers by replacing their controller chips. After the World Security Council members arrive for the Helicarriers' launch, Rogers exposes Hydra's plot. Rogers and Wilson storm two Helicarriers and replace the controller chips, but the Winter Soldier destroys Wilson's suit and fights Rogers on the third. Rogers fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill have the vessels destroy each other. Rogers refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Rogers is thrown into the Potomac River. The Winter Soldier rescues the unconscious Rogers before disappearing into the woods. Rogers and Wilson decide to find the Winter Soldier.
Sokovia and its aftermath
In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers raid a Hydra facility to recover Loki's scepter, which Stark and Banner use it to complete Stark's "Ultron" global defense program. Ultron becomes sentient and attacks the Avengers at their headquarters. After battling at various points across the globe, Ultron is ultimately defeated in Sokovia. Stark leaves the Avengers, and Rogers and Romanoff prepare to train a new team: Rhodes, the Vision, Sam Wilson, and Wanda Maximoff.
Approximately one year later, the new team stops Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos, but during the fight an explosion damages a nearby building, killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers. U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informs the Avengers that the United Nations (UN) is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish a UN panel to oversee and control the team. The Avengers are divided: Stark supports oversight because of his role in Ultron's creation and Sokovia's devastation, while Rogers has more faith in his own judgment than that of a government. Helmut Zemo tracks down and kills Barnes' old Hydra handler, stealing a book containing the trigger words that activate Barnes' brainwashing. Barnes is framed for the killing of King T'Chaka of Wakanda, and T'Chaka's son, T'Challa, vows vengeance. Rogers decides to try to bring in Barnes himself. Rogers and Wilson track Barnes to Bucharest and attempt to protect him from T'Challa and the authorities, but are apprehended.
Impersonating a psychiatrist sent to interview Barnes, Zemo sends Barnes on a rampage to cover his own escape. Rogers stops Barnes and sneaks him away. When Barnes regains his senses, he explains that Zemo is the real Vienna bomber and wanted the location of the Siberian Hydra base, where other brainwashed "Winter Soldiers" are kept in cryogenic stasis. Rogers and Wilson go rogue, and recruit Maximoff, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang to their cause. Stark assembles a team to capture the renegades, and they fight at Leipzig/Halle Airport, until Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape. The rest of Rogers' team is captured.
Stark, learning that Barnes was framed by Zemo, convinces Wilson to give him Rogers' destination, and goes to the Siberian Hydra facility. He strikes a truce with Rogers and Barnes, but Zemo has left footage that reveals that the automobile Barnes had intercepted in 1991 contained Stark's parents, whom Barnes subsequently killed. Enraged that Rogers kept this from him, Stark turns on them. After an intense fight, Rogers disables Stark's Iron Man armor and departs with Barnes, leaving his shield behind. Rogers breaks his allies out of the Raft, and goes to Wakanda, where Barnes chooses to return to cryogenic sleep until a cure for his brainwashing is found.
The Infinity War
When minions of the mad titan Thanos ambush Wanda Maximoff and Vision in Scotland, Rogers, Romanoff, and Wilson rescue them and take them to Rhodes at the Avengers’ headquarters. Rogers suggests that they travel to Wakanda to remove the Mind Stone in Vision's forehead to keep Thanos from retrieving it while keeping Vision's personality intact. Thanos' army of Outriders invade Wakanda, and Rogers and the Avengers mount a defense alongside King T'Challa and the Wakandan armies. Thanos defeats the Avengers, including Rogers, and retrieves the Mind Stone from Vision, destroying him. Thanos activates the Infinity Gauntlet and people begin disintegrating; including Barnes and Wilson, although Rogers remains.
Differences from the comic books
The origin story of Captain America faithfully follows that of the comic books, particularly Ultimate Marvel for certain elements like growing up in Brooklyn and Bucky being a childhood best friend rather than being met later, but diverges from there. In the comic books, Steve Rogers is murdered at the event of the Civil War storyline, leading to Bucky Barnes becoming the next Captain America. This does not happen in the MCU, where Rogers survives both Civil War and Infinity War, and where no character other than Rogers has been Captain America.
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Evans' portrayal of the character has been positively received by fans and critics. Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel positively reviewed Evans' performance as Steve Rogers, writing that Evans "brings a proper earnestness to the character". Roger Ebert described the character as "a hero we care about and who has some dimension". Peter DeBruge, writing for Variety, had a more critical take, finding that "as Marvel heroes go, Captain America must be the most vanilla of the lot", and that because of his quick healing and fighting abilities, "there's never the slightest concern that the Nazis might get the better of him".
|2011||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer Movie Star: Male||Chris Evans||Nominated|||
|Scream Awards||Best Science Fiction Actor||Chris Evans||Nominated|||
|Best Superhero||Chris Evans as Captain America||Won|
|Fight Scene of the Year||Final Battle: Captain America vs. Red Skull||Nominated|
|2012||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Superhero||Chris Evans||Nominated|||
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Hero||Captain America||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Actor||Chris Evans||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Male Scene Stealer||Chris Evans (in The Avengers)||Nominated|||
|2014||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy||Chris Evans||Nominated|||
|Choice Movie: Chemistry||Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Liplock||Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson||Nominated|
|Young Hollywood Awards||Super Superhero||Chris Evans||Nominated|||
|2015||Critics' Choice Movie Awards||Best Actor in an Action Movie||Chris Evans||Nominated|||
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Duo||Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson||Nominated|||
|Favorite Action Movie Actor||Chris Evans||Won|
|Saturn Awards||Best Actor||Chris Evans||Nominated|||
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Fight||Chris Evans vs. Sebastian Stan||Nominated|||
|Best Kiss||Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans||Nominated|
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