If the recent series of Captain America: Civil War casting announcements and leaked promotional art didn't make it clear, Marvel's next big ensemble feature is beginning production right now. Shooting is underway for the first chapter of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Atlanta, Georgia - and the shoot will extend to locations in Germany, Puerto Rico and Iceland.
The timing capitalizes on the buzz of Marvel Studios' largest project to date, Avengers: Age of Ultron, which finally released in North American theaters this weekend, setting the stage for Civil War (with July's Ant-Man bridging the gap). That's an important bridge film, since Ant-Man himself (Paul Rudd) is officially confirmed to return in Civil War alongside a lengthy cast list of familiar characters, including one we've not seen on screen since 2008...
NOTE: The following contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Avengers: Age of Ultron concludes (read our ending explained post here!) with the team's roster undergoing some changes. Hawkeye is living with his family, Thor returns to Asgard, Tony Stark "taps out" of field duty, and Hulk runs away. Filling in for them are Scarlet Witch, Vision, War Machine and Falcon - all of whom return for Captain America: Civil War.
New cast members Daniel Bruhl and Martin Freeman are also listed but their roles remain under Marvel's veil of secrecy, even if we know the former is playing Baron Zemo and the latter, potentially Everett Ross. The most interesting casting addition however, the one big surprise of the group is the return of The Incredible Hulk's General Ross, played again by William Hurt - a welcome addition that helps solidifies that Hulk movie in the MCU. Does that mean Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) could show up in some small capacity even if not listed?
- Chris Evans (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) as the iconic Super Hero character Steve Rogers/Captain America
- Robert Downey Jr. (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Marvel’s “Iron Man 3”) as Tony Stark/Iron Man
- Scarlett Johansson (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
- Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: The First Avenger”) as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
- Anthony Mackie (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) as Sam Wilson/Falcon
- Paul Bettany (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Iron Man 3”) as The Vision
- Jeremy Renner (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Marvel’s “The Avengers”) as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
- Don Cheadle (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Iron Man 3”) as Jim Rhodes/War Machine
- Elizabeth Olsen (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Godzilla”) as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
- Paul Rudd (“Ant-Man,” ”Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”) will make his first appearance alongside the Avengers as Scott Lang/Ant-Man
- Chadwick Boseman (“42,” “Get on Up”) as T’Challa/Black Panther
- Emily VanCamp (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Revenge”) as Sharon Carter/Agent 13
- Daniel Brühl(“Inglourious Basterds,” “Bourne Ultimatum”)
- Frank Grillo (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Warrior”) as Brock Rumlow/Crossbones
- William Hurt (“A History of Violence,” Marvel’s “The Incredible Hulk”) as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
- Martin Freeman (“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”).
While the cast list is as impressive as it is exciting, there are still some names lacking, some we know will be in the film as well. Peter Parker/Spider-Man has yet to be cast but the character will undoubtedly be introduced in Civil War, even if Marvel Studios hasn't come out and said it yet. We also wouldn't be surprised if Evangeline Lilly's character from Ant-Man shows up, given her relationship with Paul Rudd's Scott Lang (and hopeful fan theories that she becomes the MCU's version of Wasp - a founding member of the Avengers in the comics).
The other big question we have is whether or not Marvel TV characters will come into play since ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be rounding out its third season by the time Civil War hits theaters - and, on top of it, AoS has a spinoff in the works which will likely be airing by then. Fans are still waiting to see Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson make his return to the big screen, and the story of Civil War seems like it might be time to bridge that gap and for the Avengers to realize he's still alive.
The lack of Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) seems to suggest this first official casting press release avoiding the topic of S.H.I.E.L.D. all-together. That could be intentional.
Of course, there are also other key Marvel heroes who will have been introduced on Marvel's Netflix programming by the time Civil War rolls around, including Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones - potentially Iron Fist too. These characters may be future Avengers, so cameos in Civil War are not out of the question.
Official Captain America: Civil War Synopsis
“Captain America: Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo’s creative team also includes director of photography Trent Opaloch (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Elysium”), production designer Owen Paterson (“Godzilla,” “Matrix”), and three time Oscar®-nominated costume designer Judianna Makovsky (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”). Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” is produced by Marvel Studios’ president, Kevin Feige, with Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is now in theaters, 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, 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.