In Phase 1 of Marvel's Cinematic Universe, the primary focus was on establishing the core members of the Avengers - Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor - so that they could team up on screen in 2012. Meanwhile, Marvel has been planting seeds throughout the entire movie universe in the form of the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) and the Infinity Stones, building towards The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and 2.
However, prior to the Avengers taking on Thanos, they'll be facing off against one another in Captain America: Civil War next year. Now, Steve Rogers himself, Chris Evans, explains that while Civil War is a heavy comic event to adapt on its own, it will also be acting as an explicit "jumpoff" for the later Infinity War movies.
In an interview with MTV News, Evans was asked if Civil War would feel like a Captain America film (as implied by its main title) or another Avengers film, given how many existing members of the team will appear (including the new allies teased in Age of Ultron). In response, Evans said that Civil War will most definitely act as a precursor to the Infinity War:
"They do, they have a lot of people in it... but, it's to jump off into the next Avengers, 'The Avengers: Infinity War.' So 'Cap 3' is going to be the setup of the real battle. So yeah, there are a lot of people in 'Cap 3'."
In addition to Steve Rogers, Civil War will see the return of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff. Chadwick Boseman will also make his first appearance as T'Challa/Black Panther while Daniel Brühl has confirmed he's playing Baron Helmut Zemo. Even though it's not yet official, Marvel is also expected to introduce the new Spider-Man as well.
Behind the camera, Civil War will reunite Captain America writing/directing duos Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and Joe and Anthony Russo. This particular screenwriting and directing team has also been set to helm both parts of The Avengers: Infinity War, leaving little doubt that Marvel was as impressed with The Winter Soldier as fans and critics.
Since the Civil War writers and directors were brought on board to also create The Avengers: Infinity War, it seemed likely that the Captain America Phase 3 entry would act as a lead-in to the Avengers sequel, even if only in thematic terms. So Evans' confirmation that it would be direct lead-in isn't shocking, even if it was unclear.
That being said, it’s unclear just how much of Civil War will be dedicated to setting up The Avengers: Infinity War. With many Avengers returning for the film, and even more characters set to be introduced, Civil War will have a great deal to accomplish - not to mention adapting Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's comic limited series - in addition to leading into Infinity War.
However, many of the basics for the third and fourth Avengers outings have been introduced already: Thanos has appeared in previous films, four of the six Infinity Stones have been established in their own films, and even the Infinity Gauntlet has been explicitly teased.
So, Civil War could further establish the Avengers roster that will face Thanos, introduce another Infinity Stone, or establish some of the supporting villains joining the fight alongside Thanos. But with four films slated between Civil War and Infinity War, it still seems odd to think that the former will directly act as a prologue to the latter. We won’t know for sure how Captain America: Civil War will help audiences "jump off" into Infinity War until more details are released.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is now in theaters. Ant-Man will premiere on July 17 2015, followed by Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Spider-Man on July 28, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4 2018, Black Panther on July 6 2018, Captain Marvel on November 2 2018, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3 2019 and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.
Source: MTV News