A shortlist for the female lead in 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' has been drawn up.

Imogen Poots, Felicity Jones and Anna Kendrick are hot contenders to star opposite Chris Evans in the superhero sequel to 2011's hit action flick.

Former love interest Hayley Atwell will not be returning, but the new leading lady is likely to be Sharon Carter, a SHIELD agent and a descendant of Hayley's character from the first film.

Anna is best known for her roles in 'Twilight' and 'Up In The Air', while British actress Felicity recently starred in 'Like Crazy' and Imogen fronted horror comedy remake 'Fright Night'.

The film will be directed by Community's Anthony and Joe Russo, according to DenofGeek.com and the brothers have hinted they are planning a ''darker, edgier'' take on the Marvel comic classic.

Chris will return in the title role and Anthony Mackie is on board as the Captain's partner Sam Wilson, otherwise known as The Falcon.

The plot for the much-anticipated movie has yet to be revealed, but the story is likely to centre around a comic book storyline from 2000 involving former hero Bucky Barnes who is reprogrammed as a Soviet assassin called the Winter Soldier. It will also feature World War II flashbacks.

Production is due to begin before the end of 2012 and the film is scheduled for release in April 2014.

Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan will also star.