Captain America: The First Avenger writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely may not have gotten as much recognition as other creative architects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (like Kevin Feige or Joss Whedon) – but that’s starting to change. In addition to Captain America 1, the pair also co-wrote Thor 2, had a breakout hit with their script for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and are currently writing and producing the Agent Carter miniseries.
Markus and McFeely now have a tall order in front of them: writing the third Cap movie, Captain America: Civil War, which will not only kick off Marvel’s ambitious Phase 3 storyline, but will also bring in Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. for a true event film based on a modern classic Marvel Comics storyline. Even though the pair are ostensibly working on their third Cap film, suffice to say that they are facing much higher stakes (and pressures) with Civil War.
In addition to the demand for bigger and better Marvel event films, and a deepening MCU mythos to service, Civil War will also be responsible for introducing some new important players to the MCU. The film will also be obligated to make the usual connections to films and shows that came before it, while setting up ones to come after it. In speaking with IGN, the Markus and McFeely addressed all of the above, and more – and we have some key points from the discussion.
The “Civil War” Storyline
In Marvel Comics, a reckless mistake by some younger superheroes pushes a government debate about whether superheroes should have to reveal their identities to the government and be licensed operatives instead of vigilantes (basically like becoming agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). This leads heroes like Tony Stark (who is already living out in the open with his superhero persona) to support the government registration act, while heroes like Captain America (who doesn’t trust the government or registration practices) are left standing on the wrong side of a new law.
What followed was a schism in the Marvel universe and a civil war between its heroes – with superheroes like Spider-Man caught between the warring icons of Cap and Iron Man. In the end, irreparable damage was done to both relationships and lives, and little in the Marvel Universe has ever been the same.
In the Civil War movie, things will naturally be altered to fit the MCU – but according to Markus and McFeely, the themes will remain largely the same. According to the writers, the MCU has evolved naturally to fit the parameters of the “Civil War” story, instead of having to force things in that direction:
McFeely: “There’s a depth of myth [to the Civil War storyline]… It’s been on and off the table for a while, let’s put it that way, and it’s a challenge to do it and make sure that all the characters that we’ve established, and everyone’s established in the MCU are serviced and sound correct, right? Because there’s a difference between the characters in Civil War, which was written in 2006, 2007. The MCU doesn’t exist [when it was written]. There isn’t a Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Evans who has helped create the character so we need to make sure that that template gets adjusted and what have you in order to make sure it services these characters and not just sort of rip off their parts and make them look like them.
After Age of Ultron, it’s looking like there could be some major division in The Avengers team – especially in regards to how best to protect the world. After the events of Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Captain America could be in a place of massive distrust when it comes to organizations or systems of world governance. If rumors are true, he’ll be leading his own restructured Avengers team, with his own clear world agenda.
Tony, meanwhile, could still be reeling from the Ultron debacle, either a hunted man; or a man in a new, more authoritative administrator position; or something else entirely. The point is, Tony will likely want to establish more hands-on control of things in the world, which could bring him and Cap into that same “Civil War” conflict, on MCU terms. We’ll see.
It’s already been revealed that Marvel’s Black Panther (aka King T’Challa of Wakanda) will first appear in Captain America 3 (in civilian identity, at the very least). Meanwhile, seeds of Black Panther’s homeland, technology, and future nemeses are already being sewn into Avengers: Age of Ultron, so the character is definitely getting his own sizable space within the MCU.
As for how Civil War will use Black Panther, McFeely and Markus aren’t saying – but they are happy with the casting of 42 and Get On Up star Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa:
McFeely: I’ll keep that one close to the vest, but I’m very gratified that they went with Chadwick and that he said yes because he’s a good get.
Many hardcore Marvel fans have speculated that Black Panther could in fact be used to fill the role Spider-Man played in the original “Civil War” storyline. In the comics, Peter Parker/Spider-Man was a pivotal figure: one of the most secretive about identity, but one of most good-hearted heroes around. Tony Stark convinced Peter to reveal himself and take on new responsibility as a public figure; ultimately, though, Spider-Man went back on his decision and sided with Captain America.
There were rumors (and some actual email evidence) during the Sony hacking scandal that Marvel wanted Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War. The latest rumors suggest the character WON’T be in the film (possibly appearing later in the MCU), but McFeely and Markus won’t outright deny the possibility.
Said McFeely, regarding the Spider-Man rumors:
“I read that as well… More problems for me!”
And as for which side of the war Spidey would be on:
That’s a great question! More problems for me!”
The bottom line of it is that Sony has no firm plans yet on what to do next with Spider-Man. The character could still be given a small cameo (or just a name reference) in Captain America 3 – but that’s all about the powers that be striking a deal. Right now, though, it’s rumored that Spidey’s window of opportunity in the MCU will come in a few years – say around the time of Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, when Earth needs new defenders.
As the producers and writers of the Agent Carter TV miniseries, it’s only natural that fans would wonder if the Peggy Carter character – and her current mission to clear Howard Stark’s tarnished name – could have anything to do with the upcoming events of Civil War.
We’ve already seen Agent Carter’s influence on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; she’s already played a major role in The First Avenger and an important cameo role in Winter Soldier; and she and middle-aged Howard Stark (John Slattery) are set to appear somewhere in Ant-Man. Clearly the MCU’s biggest heroine is getting woven even deeper into the universe.
But as the woman who loved Steve Rogers AND served as close friend/confidant of Howard Stark, how will Peggy see the conflict between Steve and Howard’s son, Tony?
“As we have not started shooting, and I’m on my fourth draft of many, that question [of who Peggy was to Tony Stark] has been in and out all over the place so who knows. So many things can shake out but we’ve had conversations and we pitched scenes. Some stay and some don’t. But we saw [Peggy] in Winter Soldier, so we know she’s around”.
Going by chronology, Peggy Carter is currently not doing so well. In Winter Soldier we saw her seemingly on her deathbed and suffering from some form of dementia. It’s hard to imagine her playing an active role in Civil War as she’s likely dead (of course rejuvenation is always possible in the MCU), but as a source of wisdom (even posthumously as a symbol) Peggy can still make a difference.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3 2019.