Throughout Phase 1 and 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a variety of directors have introduced the core group of heroes who have appeared in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now, Phase 3 is set to launch with Captain America: Civil War, which will see conflict between two major heroes: Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr).
However, Civil War will feature a number of other characters previously established in the MCU like Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Vision (Paul Bettany), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) among others. Civil War will also be tasked with introducing both Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) before they receive their own standalone films. Now, directors Anthony and Joe Russo have discussed how they approached Civil War.
In the extended interview with ComicBook.com, in which the Russos also discussed how their take on Spider-Man differs from past versions, Anthony explained how they tackle ensemble movies. In the case of Civil War, they did so by looking at the story from each character's perspective, but ultimately the film is shaped by Cap's viewpoint. However, he explained that both directors knew it was important to get every character portrayal right because each hero has their own fans:
"My brother and I, we've always loved ensemble storytelling. And if you look at a lot of our work, we worked in ensembles a lot from our first movie Welcome to Collinwood to our television shows. We love ensembles, and I think we're kind of in tune to the idea of telling the story that has more than a single protagonist. We like that kind of story. We like depth storytelling. We like layered storytelling. Joe and I, as we were developing the script with the writers, we like to pick a path and look at the script from every different character's point of view. Even though it's Cap's movie, and the ultimate way we decide where to go with the film is filtered through Cap's perspective, we do take time and walk ourselves through the story from every single character's point of view as if it's their movie.
"We know how important these characters are. We love these characters ourselves. We know that there's somebody sitting out there in the audience whose favorite character is that one, even if that character has only a few scenes in the movie. We want to make sure everyone's coming to the movie and it's going to get a lot of satisfaction and have a lot of fun with what's being done with their favorite character in the movie, regardless of who it is. We work really hard to do a lot and do something special with characters who may only have limited screen time in the film."
Between the Russos' past work with ensemble casts and their knowledge of the Captain America world that they established in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it seems the many characters in Civil War are safe in their hands. Additionally, their awareness of the importance of these characters to many fans should offer viewers hope that although Civil War will feature a large number of heroes, their favorite will be portrayed well.
Of course, that's not to say every character in Civil War will receive a lot of screen time - given the ensemble cast that's nearly impossible to achieve without sacrificing the main conflict between Cap and Iron Man. Certainly, since it is, at its core, an installment in the Captain America series, it makes sense for that character to take up the majority of the film. But, given the consideration the Russos and the writers gave to the other characters, it seems likely the portrayals of Black Panther, Spider-Man, and the host of returning heroes will satisfy fans.
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.