Following months of debate among comic book fans, the release date standoff between Captain America 3 and Batman V Superman finally came to an end - when DC and Warner Bros. decided to move their superhero team-up to March 25, 2016. While few moviegoers actually expected that both studios would open their films on the same May 6, 2016 date, a lot of fans wondered how exactly Marvel intended to take-on two of DC's most iconic superheroes with just Captain America. No doubt, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was an enormous box office success but Marvel never blinked - planting a Captain America flag firmly in the May 6, 2016 release date.
Of course, it all made a bit more sense when it was recently revealed that Robert Downey Jr. was in talks to join the next Captain America film - bringing Iron Man (and Tony Stark) into a post-Avengers: Age of Ultron solo movie for a possible Civil War storyline. Still, at the time, the notion that we'd see Civil War was only industry hearsay - with Marvel remaining tight-lipped on the subject.
However, two weeks after Warner Bros. laid out their entire DC film slate through 2020 (including announcements of a Suicide Squad film and Green Lantern reboot, among other surprises), Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige hosted a closed-door event announcing their own shared universe schedule. In addition to revealing release dates and logos for Black Panther, The Inhumans, and Captain Marvel, as well as plans for their next Avengers team-up, subtitled Infinity War, the studio finally confirmed that Captain America 3 is titled Civil War.
Originally, Marvel came out and "announced" the title as Captain America: Serpent Society - leaving attendees (and those following along around the web) wondering if the Downey rumors were actually true as well as how exactly the lesser-known supervillain team would tie-into the existing Hydra plot. After all the speculation and anticipation for Civil War, Serpent Society stood to be somewhat of a letdown. Then, fans (and press) at the event were treated to an exclusive Avengers: Age of Ultron scene - where tension between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark is already very apparent. The studio then revealed that the Serpent Society was merely a joke - unveiling that The Avengers are definitely headed into Civil War.
Both Chris Evans and Downey were on-hand at the event for the announcement - suggesting that the Iron Man actor, whose prior contract negotiations have been a hot topic of debate, is officially locked-in for at least the Civil War story (with a possible return in the aforementioned two-part Infinity War). Previously, the actor had teased his involvement - suggesting that Captain America 3 would be "huge" but never officially confirmed his casting.
As we've discussed in prior articles, and on a recent Screen Rant Underground podcast, the Civil War storyline is a smart move for Marvel Studios. Not only will it explore new layers in established characters, blurring the lines between "good" and "bad", the film will also help modify the core Avengers line-up moving forward and make room for new characters to take center stage (while allowing some of the primary actors much needed time away from the franchise).
Feige was short on concrete plot details but suggested that the Civil War will be kicked-off by tensions within the team - after the government and other agencies want to hold superheroes accountable for Earth's recent invasion by aliens (and likely Ultron robots). To that end, the presentation suggested that Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther will actually play into the plot and be forced to choose sides (similar to Spider-Man's role in the original storyline) - a full year before he takes center stage in his own solo film.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 on May 3 2019.
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