With just under three months to go before its release, anticipation for Captain America: Civil War is becoming hotter than ever. The kickoff for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will see Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man face off against Chris Evans' Captain America, over new government oversight of the Avengers. The schism results in the Avengers splitting up into rival factions, in preparation for a showdown. Based on Mark Millar's comic book arc of the same name, the 13th MCU movie is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Solider), who will go on to direct the two-part Avengers: Infinity War thereafter.
The Civil War narrative aside there's been much speculation as to the role of certain cast members and characters in the film, including Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) - who are making their MCU debut here, too. One cast member with rumours surrounding his role is Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock), who was previously rumored to be playing Everett Ross.
Well, that's no longer a rumor, as the news has been confirmed in the latest issue of Empire that Freeman will, in fact, be portraying that comic book character. For those unfamiliar: Everett Ross is the US government's man in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. He's prominent in the Black Panther comic book story, and a frequent ally to the African superhero. This film may be an introduction to the civil servant before he (possibly) enjoys a more central role in the Black Panther movie that Boseman (whose next appearance will be in Gods of Egypt) will headline in 2018.
Check out Empire's exclusive Captain America: Civil War image that includes Freeman as Everett Ross, below:
The exclusive photo of Freeman as Ross shows him standing next to Emily VanCamp's Sharon Carter, great-niece of Peggy Carter and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (who was assigned by Nick Fury to monitor Cap). Ross and Carter are pictured standing in front of a German SWAT team, suggesting the action will take Rogers back to where he served in WW2 once again - something he's not done since facing Loki in The Avengers. It's been confirmed that in Civil War, Ross will be part of the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre. That implies that, with S.H.I.E.L.D. basically out of service following the events of Winter Soldier, Ross and this organisation will be working with Stark and Black Panther in an attempt to rein in Cap and the others, including "Bucky" Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
Martin Freeman's been great at playing disgruntled, yet charming Englishmen like Dr. John Watson (or the disgruntled, yet also charming and daring hobbit, Bilbo Baggins) in the past. It will be interesting to see how he interprets his role in Civil War, for related reasons. As we've noted in the past, Ross - who appeared in the later volumes of the Black Panther comics books (Volumes 3 and 4) boasts much in the way of expertise on Wakanda in general - is a character that Freeman and Civil War's writers/directors should have a fair amount of freedom to interpret as they will.
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.