Most of the promotional materials, artwork, and certainly the trailers for Captain America: Civil War place emphasis on one specific set piece. Known as the "splash page" sequence, Team Cap is pit against Team Iron Man in a battle that takes place on the runway of a German airport and it's this scene we saw being shot (with new IMAX cameras) when visiting the set of Captain America 3 last summer.
What we didn't see on set however, and equally missing in the marketing until last week, was one of the most exciting and important additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date: Spider-Man. The inclusion of this younger version of Peter Parker brings the teams to an equal six versus six when it comes to headlining Avengers, but not everyone loved Spidey's intro, and certainly his costume.
That's all to be expected though according to Captain America: Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who return to help the first entry in Phase 3 after their success with 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The brothers are already signed and working away on their next Marvel projects as well, Avengers: Infinity War, which they discussed as vaguely as possible in an interview with Forbes.
Joe Russo: The design of the costume is what it is. That’s the design that we love, it’s the design that Kevin Feige loves and so on. He’s a very popular character so it’s always going to be controversial, people are always going to love or hate what you do with him, but all we can do is make sure that we love it, that we are true to ourselves and true to how we feel about the character and then hope that everybody else digs it.
Anthony Russo: Part of issue is that we gave such a small impression of the character in that trailer, it’s something of a Rorschach test where people can pour as much of their Spidey anxieties out but when they see the movie they are going to get a very big picture of a very complete character that they have never seen before. It’s kind of hard to react to people’s reactions but they will change radically when they see the movie.
Joe Russo: And there is still effects work that needs to be done on it.
The plan was always to introduce Spider-Man in the second Captain America: Civil War trailer and as Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said in the past, they always planned for Spider-Man to be in Phase 3 even before the deal was made. They were even shooting before it was finalized.
Joe Russo: We always intended to. He was my favorite character growing up, I still have my collection of comics in my closet so it was a dream come true for us to be able to have Spidey in the movie and interpret him as a character so we couldn’t be more excited and we wanted to share that with everybody else.
Anthony Russo: Also I think it was a little bit of a correction because it was a very complicated deal that Sony had to work out with Marvel Studios and Disney in order to make that work. We were very quiet about Spider-Man’s involvement in the movie for much longer than we would have been. We were artificially silent on the character because it was such a sensitive business deal still being worked out even while we were shooting. We went through a very thorough casting process, we tested Tom Holland vigorously with Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr,, we screen tested him along with several other actors, it was a very intense part of making Captain America: Civil War because he was an important part of the movie to us. Finally it’s all secure and we’re at a place where we can present him even in just a small taste.
Joe Russo: We thought it was a great way to reveal him. I think people are going to be happy with him in the movie, he’s got a very interesting role in it.
As for how much a role Spider-Man has in his debut this summer, Joe Russo says fans will be "happy," but when it comes to his involvement in Avengers: Infinity War, he would only say that it it's to be determined.
Anthony Russo: I’ll say this, part of the fun of Spider-Man is that this film is basically a war amongst the Avengers and Spidey does not have the baggage that all these other characters have. He enters the story after the conflict that is happening between the Avengers and that gives him a very unique place in the story.
What is for certain, Avengers appearance or not (although you can count on that), is that Spider-Man - like most Marvel heroes - will see his costume change and evolve. So for critics of the costume design teased in the Cap trailer, that's only a brief shot, it's not been seen in action (nor has its creation been shown), and there will be more costumes to come.
Joe Russo: Without question. We like making strong choices with characters so while this might be a slightly more traditional, Steve Ditko influenced suit, it is certainly in our vocabulary to develop it into something more extreme as the storytelling requires. I think there are things that people will discover when they see the film about why the suit operate the way it does, why the eyes move, all that stuff is substantiated. Everybody wants the answers yesterday but then what would be the point of seeing the movie?
For more on actor Tom Holland's Spider-Man costume, check out our close look at what the high-res photos reveal, our list of best Spider-Man costumes ever, and a comparison of previous live-action Spidey outfits.
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd and Frank Grillo, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl.
Anthony & Joe Russo are directing with Kevin Feige producing. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Get ready to pick a side and join the nonstop action playing out on two fronts when Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War opens in U.S. theaters on May 6, 2016.
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.
Spider-Verse covers by Gabriele Dell'Otto