Captain America: Civil War kicks off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe this summer, but the movie's already complete. It screened over the weekend for the Los Angeles press junket where critics were able to view it early and share their reactions, and this week it will screen again for CinemaCon attendees in Las Vegas. Civil War is a grounded, Earth-set psychological thriller, and the next movie on the MCU slate is another Earth-set adventure in Doctor Strange - the story that opens the franchise to mysticism and alternate dimensions.
The trend of different settings continues in a big way next year when Marvel takes moviegoers back to the cosmos in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and later, back to Asgard and the Nine Realms in next fall's Thor: Ragnarok. And while all of these movies have their theatrical runs, the writers and directors of Civil War will be at work behind-the-scenes piecing together all of these characters from different parts of the universe for the two-part Avengers: Infinity War - which aims to culminate everything the franchise has been building towards.
"Everything" is the operative word there since Infinity War (Avengers 3 in 2018 and Avengers 4 in 2019) really will include everything. It aims to be the biggest superhero movie ever, far bigger than even Captain America: Civil War (which, to put that in perspective, features two teams of Avengers battling each other). Directors Anthony and Joe Russo have already joked that there will be 67 characters in the movie, including brand new characters, and shared their excitement for working with Chris Hemsworth's Thor and the cast of James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy.
But that doesn't necessarily mean all of these characters will share the screen together. In fact, many might not given the nature of Infinity War. It'll likely feature battles on multiple fronts - on Earth, in the larger galaxy, and perhaps even in other realms (if any still exist after the events of Ragnarok). Speaking with CB during the junket this weekend (stay tuned for our own video interviews this week!), Anthony Russo explained that part of telling such a massive story (and both movies will be shot entirely on IMAX cameras) is to tell it from the point of view of different characters, almost like a series of vignettes.
"Oh, yeah! I mean, it has to. It’s a culmination of everything that’s occurred in the Marvel Universe up to the point where the Marvel Universe is released. Some of those films haven’t even hit yet. We’re going to be dealing with some of the characters from those movies who are going to be in Infinity War. They’re massive in scope and scale but that’s the point. The point is for them to be as ambitious as they possibly can be. They're going to be multi-perspective films.
They’re not called 'Captain America: Infinity War,' they’re called Infinity War. You’re going to be moving around through different perspectives of the characters. It’s like Nashville for super heroes. It’s storytelling that is vignetted storytelling. It’s to composite all of them under one story - everybody. You can culminate without all of them, so…"
Expect to see all (living) characters from the Marvel movies have some role to play against Thanos and villains from other Marvel movies past. What we're unsure of is whether or not the flagship Marvel TV characters will finally get their time to shine alongside The Avengers. Depending on what story the Netflix Defenders will explore, its followup or future seasons of its individual characters could perhaps take part in Infinity War in their own way. Defenders begins shooting this year for release in 2017.
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters 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; 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; Inhumans– July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.