Captain America: Civil War won't come out until May 6, 2016, but its first wave of publicity, along with its first trailer, have already started making waves. The film's influential source material, coupled with its all-star cast and crew, make it an explosive and large beginning to what the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is calling "Phase 3." If the third installment of the Captain America movies follows in the footsteps of its predecessors and the Avengers movies, then it will prove to be a box office juggernaut thanks to its large and mobilized fan base.
For fans of MCU who are not familiar with the comic series, context can be helpful. Fans of the comics, too, will find that there are significant changes to the major players and stories. This article contains information about the Civil War comic series, in addition to information gathered from interviews and promotional material about the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. While it contains minimal spoilers from the comic, it does use this information to speculate about the characters and events of the film.
Collected from these diverse sources, here are the 10 Facts You Need to Know About Marvel's Captain America: Civil War:
11 The Comic
In the seven-issue crossover series Civil War, the United States government passes a law called the Superhero Registration Act, which required superpowered individuals to register with the government.
A group of heroes, led by Captain America, oppose the bill, which leads them to fight with another group of heroes, led by Iron Man, who support the bill. As other superheroes and villains join a side, the result is all-out civil war, where heroes fight heroes. The scenario allowed for the hypothetical of "who would win in a fight" to be played out among popular Marvel superheroes, who usually fight side-by-side. Spider-Man is caught in the middle of the war, initially siding with Iron Man.
In the comics, Iron Man's totalitarian and brutal actions alienate Spider-Man. The events of the Civil War comics also culminate famously in the death of Steve Rogers, the original Captain America. It remains to be seen if either Iron Man's cruelty or Captain America's death will happen in the movie. The series inspired many tie-ins, and was greatly influential and popular for many comic writers.
10 The Movie Will Be Very Different From the Comic
Captain America: Civil War has already proven itself to have striking differences from the comics. Not only will it feature less heroes and villains than the comics, it will also include, incorporate, and highlight already-established heroes in the MCU. The two major players - that is, Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) - will remain the same, but their conflict will be slightly altered from the source material.Because there is less of an emphasis on secret identities in the MCU, the focus of the film adaptation will be on whether or not governments should monitor, regulate, and control superheroes. While the Civil War comic books focus on the United States, the movie takes a larger, international approach, the Sokovia Accords are international laws that will attempt to govern how superheroes act.
9 Characters from All Over the MCU are Coming Together
The Civil War comics pulled together characters and stories from across Marvel. Similarly, the MCU is using this conflict between superheroes as a way to pull characters from all over the MCU together. This includes Avengers old and new: Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Vision (Paul Bettany), Falcon (Sam Wilson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). Additionally, familiar faces from the previous Captain America film (Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter, Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier) will join General Ross (William Hurt) from The Incredible Hulk and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) from Ant-Man.
Noticeably absent are Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), although both are set to appear in Thor: Ragnarok. The Hulk was originally slated to be in Captain America: Civil War, but was eventually written out because the screenwriters felt that he made the fight uneven; whichever side had the Hulk would have an unfair advantage, because he is so powerful. Any Avengers characters that survive Civil War and Ragnarok should return to team up in The Avengers: Infinity Wars.
8 Spider-Man is Coming to MCU
Spider-Man has been noticeably absent from the MCU, because his character is owned and controlled by Sony. However, Sony and Marvel Studios came to an agreement that would allow Spider-Man to appear in films in the MCU, and Captain America: Civil War will mark Spidey's first appearance. For this reboot, Andrew Garfield is replaced by the younger Tom Holland as Peter Parker. Holland will also star in an MCU Spider-Man reboot that is set to come out in 2017.
Due to the changes from the comic, it is unclear how large Spider-Man's role will be. In the comics, Spider-Man is a central figure who is caught between Iron Man and Captain America. He initially sides with Iron Man, and in a monumental moment in Marvel history, revealed his identity of Peter Parker as part of a publicity event. However, as he learns more about Iron Man's operation, Spider-Man has a change of heart and chooses to side with Captain America.
7 Black Panther and Winter Soldier Take Front and Center
The first trailer for Captain America: Civil War illustrates just how integral the Winter Soldier will be in the upcoming movie. The Winter Soldier, or Bucky Barnes, acts as the catalyst in the film to create the division between Iron Man and Captain America. Bucky Barnes, and his friendship with Steve Rogers, is featured prominently in the first trailer.
Like Spider-Man, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) will make his first appearance in the third Captain America movie. Black Panther is slated to have his own movie (delayed slightly, it will be released in 2018), which may be part of the reason why he is featured so prominently in the advertisements for Civil War. Some have speculated that Black Panther will take on the role that Spider-Man fills in the comics as a sympathetic middle-man who is caught between warring ideologies. However, based solely on the promotional material, Black Panther will be squarely on Iron Man's side of the war.
6 Supervillains Will Also Play An Important Role
The film's description notes an important addition to the movie's plot from the story of the comics. Instead of simply fighting among themselves, the superheroes are also going to be fighting "a new and neferious villain". In the comics, Iron Man ends up recruiting supervillains, so it is possible that supervillains will end up on either side of the civil war. However, the idea of a third, independent villainous party adds a new twist.
While the identity of this unnamed villain is unknown, it is most likely HYDRA-affiliated baddie Baron Zemo, as he has not appeared in a previous film, but is slated to be portrayed by Daniel Bruhl in Civil War. Bruhl has said that while his character is inspired by a comic book character, his character has been adapted in many ways for the MCU.
5 No One is Safe...
The death toll in the comics is high, and it is likely that Captain America: Civil War will emulate that. It seems highly probable that many heroes will not survive the war unscathed, and that there will be some dramatic deaths in the upcoming film. As the MCU expands, it is only natural for older characters to be killed in order to give new heroes a turn in the spotlight. The trailer for Civil War features Tony Stark holding the defeated War Machine, who may or may not be dead - and General Ross also ominously notes in a voice-over, "There will be consequences."
However, as is always the case in Hollywood, some people are more safe than others. Judging by the upcoming films and contracts, Iron Man, Black Panther, and Spider-Man are not going to die - despite speculation that Iron Man might die. Robert Downey, Jr. is set to appear in Infinity Wars and, given his popularity, it is unlikely that the MCU will kill off Iron Man before the actor is ready to retire. Likewise, Chadwick Boseman is signed on for five Marvel films as Black Panther, and Tom Holland has a solo movie as Spider-Man coming out in 2017.
4 ...and Captain America May Be in Trouble
The events of Civil War famously led to one of the most universe-altering and dramatic moments in Marvel comic history: the assassination of Captain America. The supervillain Crossbones shoots Captain America in the shoulder as he walks up the steps of a courthouse after surrendering and ending the civil war. Sharon Carter is also brainwashed and helps to carry out the assassination, shooting Captain America in the stomach. Crossbones (Frank Grillo) is set to appear in Captain America: Civil War, and Grillo has said that Crossbones is a relentless opponent. Sharon Carter, too, will appear in Civil War.
Chris Evans' contract, unfortunately, does not add any clarity to the situation. It would need to be renewed for him to appear in any films past the first half of Infinity Wars. However, Evans has stated that he would be willing to return to the character of Captain America if he was asked. It appears that his contract might be purposefully delayed in order to keep fans in the dark. Sebastian Stan is under contract for seven additional MCU movies after Civil War, and since Bucky Barnes takes on the mantle of Captain America in the comics after Steve Rogers is assassinated in Civil War, it could be that he succeeds Chris Evans/Steve Rogers in the role. Sebastian Stan has said that he is open to this possibility.
3 The Russo Brothers Are Taking the Helm Again
Anthony and Joe Russo directed the second Captain America: Winter Soldier, which was met with a positive reception from fans and critics. The brother duo is returning to helm the third Captain America film. Additionally, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the writing team behind the first two Captain America films have returned to write the script for Captain America: Civil War.
The movie's continuity is not only with MCU stories; it is also a continuation of the same creative team that developed the previous Captain America films. As the Russo brothers are also going to be directing Avengers: Infinity Wars, Captain America: Civil War will have ties to previous MCU films and tie into upcoming MCU films.
2 As the Beginning of Phase 3, the Events of Civil War Will Send Ripples Through the MCU
The events of Civil War will send ripples through the MCU, because it marks the beginning of "Phase 3." Phase 3 includes MCU movies that react to and build from the events of Age of Ultron, causing schisms between some heroes, as well as building new alliances.
The upcoming Marvel films include Doctor Strange and The Spectacular Spider-Man in 2017 and Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Infinity Wars Part 1 in 2018. It is unclear how Captain America: Civil War will affect Marvel television shows, but it is likely that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and even the upcoming series starring the Defenders (Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil season 2, The Defenders) will have to deal with the changes that occur.
We may not see how Captain America: Civil War affects the MCU fully until 2018, as The Spectacular Spider-Man (2017) and Doctor Strange (2017) may not deal with the events of Civil War.
Captain America: Civil War comes out on May 6, 2016, and in the coming months, we'll undoubtedly learn more about the plot, conflict, and characters. Given what we know now, who is most likely to die? What are other ways that this film can change the MCU? Let us know in the comments!
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 28, 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.