This spring, two comic book superhero tentpole films are set to hit theaters, and each will be acting as important launch pads for their respective franchises' futures. For Warner Bros., Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will see the Man of Steel fight the Caped Crusader for the first time in live-action film history, as well as set up the studio's DC Comics Extended Universe. One the other hand, Marvel Studios' Captain America: Civil War will launch Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and explore a disagreement between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) that leads to war between two factions of heroes.
To help promote the release of Batman V Superman, the casts of The CW's The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow weighed in on who would win in the titular superhero fight. Now, to promote Civil War, the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. discusses whether they would side with Team Captain America or Team Iron Man.
Variety released the video (below) of many S.H.I.E.L.D. cast members choosing which Avenger they would side with -- and whether they think their characters would be Team Cap or Team Iron Man. Elizabeth Henstridge, for instance, believes both she and her character Jemma Simmons would side with Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, whereas Luke Mitchell claims to be Team Iron Man while his character Lincoln would side with Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America.
Clark Gregg, however, chose neither side and instead compared the disagreement between Captain America and Iron Man to (a rather violent) Thanksgiving meal:
"It's like Thanksgiving, there will be a lot of people I love in a very compact environment who start out with good intentions and then end up trying to murder each other. So, I think, not until I get there and sample the turkey and see who's saying what am I going to be able to [choose a side]."
But, while this video of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast picking sides in the Iron Man vs. Captain America debate is a bit of promotional fun, the actors and actresses do touch on the fact that the conflict in Civil War isn't quite as simple as who would win in a fight, or even who out of the two heroes is in the right/in the wrong. Instead, as Gregg mentions, the environment and the mentality of Civil War is a complex grey area rather than a black and white question.
Of course, there are certainly comparisons to be made between Batman V Superman and Civil War -- especially in that both films recruited their TV counterparts to help promote their releases -- since both conflicts arise from differing ideologies about the manner in which superheroes should go about protecting the world. But, Warner Bros./DC and Marvel's films are approaching that subject in different ways, Batman V Superman with two solo heroes who had never met previously and Civil War with two teams of heroes who had worked together in the past.
In the case of Civil War, the groundwork laid by preceding MCU movies in establishing the relationships and partnerships of Captain America and Iron Man will help lead to an emotionally fraught conflict in the film. As Gregg succinctly explains, "The whole thing's just upsetting to think about."
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans– July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.