[WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Captain America: Civil War]
With Captain America: Civil War now in theaters, Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has officially kicked off. Although Civil War itself led to major changes within the MCU – not the least of which being the fallout from the conflict between Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) – Phase 3 will usher in plenty of other changes to the shared universe, including the introduction of mysticism in Doctor Strange and eventually tying in the galactic universe established in Guardians of the Galaxy.
However, as many fans who have seen Civil War now know, though the film introduced two new heroes to the MCU – Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) – the third Captain America installment does not impact the MCU through the death of a superhero. Now, Captain America: Civil War writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely discuss the decision to not end the fight between friends with a major character death.
In an interview with Comic Book, revealed that the decision to end Civil War with everyone left alive was made in part due to Marvel Studios oversight as well as in an effort to explore other means of emotional impact on the characters:
McFeely: Hey, we never told anyone someone was going to die!
Markus: There is a corporate decision of, “We want that guy fighting in that movie, so you can’t kill him.” But, also, it would wrap up this conflict that we wanted to stay messy and keep it going so that everyone is still a little sick to their stomach about this conflict that they have not concluded.
McFeely: I see this all the time, like, “In order to shake it up they’ve gotta kill somebody!” Well, the challenge is, I think we shook it up plenty and there are ways to take big swings and move the ball down the field without just murdering half the cast. That’s not the only way you can change the universe.
Markus: Plus, comic book movies in general – but Marvel in particular – is accused of none of the deaths last. So, even if you put a death in, people are gonna go, “[Grumbling sounds].” So, it’s like, why bother to do it? You can have more impact not killing somebody than you can killing people at this point. We’ll kill them if they need to die.
McFeely: We’re not afraid!
Certainly, Markus and McFeely have a point in terms of death not having the same weight in superhero stories as it might in other narrative genres. For instance, in the Captain America films, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) was saved from death and returned as the Winter Soldier. Plus, in TV superhero adaptations The CW’s Arrow has featured a number of resurrections in the show’s current season, which may have impacted the audience’s reception to the most recent character death – one that will reportedly stick. Looking beyond TV and movie adaptations of comic books, though, the death and resurrection storyline has been used many times throughout comic history.
However, as the Civil War writers say, there are other means to give a storyline emotional weight. In the case of the most recent Captain America film, that can be seen through the development of James “Rhodey” Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Bucky – both of whom end the film in different states than when the movie began. Though neither died, their character development, in addition to the development of the rest of the cast, will certainly impact the progression of the superhero universe.
That being said, there may be viewers that feel Captain America: Civil War could have had a bigger impact, both on the MCU and audiences, if a major character death had been included. But, Markus, McFeely, and Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo managed to create a largely well-received film that has successfully kicked off Phase 3 of the MCU – both in terms of storytelling and its box office earnings. Plus, when asked about possible character deaths in Avengers: Infinity War, Markus and McFeely refused to comment, so there’s certainly still time for major superhero deaths in the MCU.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
Source: Comic Book