If you turn down your TV and stick your head out of the window you will hear numerous pops, like rice krispies in milk. That's the sound of champagne bottles being popped all over the world, as the news of Robert Downey Jr's return to the Marvel cinematic universe spreads. No he won't be starring in Iron Man 4, as other sites have speculated. Last week we broke down the leaks and clues that Marvel had been leaving recently. As we concluded, all signs have been pointing to him joining one of the other established franchises as the route Marvel would take, if they could successfully renegotiate his contract.
It's true and it's happening soon. Marvel has found a way to re-energize Downey Jr's role in the MCU and what a glorious plan it is. Downey will be co-starring against Chris Evans in Captain America 3. The rumored subtitles for the film are Civil War and Fallen Son. The movie is said to be heavily influenced by the Civil War storyline which divided the Marvel Comics universe into two factions, led by Iron Man and Captain America. The issue that led to an all out war between the former allies, was over a government program spearheaded by Tony Stark to register all meta-humans. Variety explains how Stark looks to fit into the plot of Steve Rogers' third cinematic adventure:
"...the plot will pit Stark against Captain America’s alter-ego Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, as they feud over the Superhero Registration Act, which forces anyone with superhuman abilities to reveal their identities to the U.S. government and agree to act as a police force for the authorities. Stark supports the program, but Rogers does not, saying it threatens civil liberties, causing sides to be taken and Rogers, among others, to go on the run to avoid arrest. The moral question and battle with his Avengers teammate essentially makes Stark a villain of sorts in “Captain America 3,” providing Downey with a meaty role he could play out into future Marvel films, including a fourth “Avengers.”
This is monumental news. There are surely more twists in store, but even from a distance you can see how this would turn the MCU upside down. Putting Rogers on the run from essentially Iron Man and his backup, will frame Stark in a way not yet seen. Perhaps he will be revealing some of the same evil traits that Ultron is said to be exhibiting in Age of Ultron. Those details will soon come to light. Perhaps he will come off as apologetic and sympathetic. You better figure out what side you fall on. Team Stark and Team Rogers t-shirts will be available in the morning.
What is of even bigger interest is how this will affect the larger landscape of Marvel movies. Much like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the ramifications of Steve Rogers' next adventure will shake the MCU to its core. Here Marc Sanger lays out some of Marvel's plans in broad strokes:
"...the introduction of the Civil War story is seen as a way to drive the plots of sequels and new franchises for the next seven years, given the dramatic possibilities it offers for future films. The fallout from the government and Stark’s actions would factor into a new “Avengers 4″ film and beyond that will assemble new characters being introduced like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, among others, in their own movies."
This will be Marvel's first official attempt at a comic-book style event story that spans over multiple titles. Regardless of the sub-title of the third Captain America film, this will begin the era of Civil War in the Marvel cinematic universe. This allows for more opportunities for character crossovers, while simultaneously solving one of Marvel's greatest problems, villains that are one-dimensional. There will be more inter-personal conflicts, because there won't be simply good guys and bad guys, but two points of view. (Well, there will still be plenty of potential mustache-twirling villains lurking and using the chaos to their advantage, but we will get into that later.)
Downey Jr. is rumored to have resigned for a $40 million dollar payday, which includes some backend incentives as well as a bonus if the film makes more than The Winter Soldier. Financially the decision seems to be a no-brainer. He will also still be returning for another installment of the Avengers series, it is not yet clear if that film will land up being Avengers 3 or 4. His role can that of a military general, which would leave more opportunities for Downey's trademark banter and less physicality as he gracefully transitions into his golden years. Marvel's decision to take the cinematic universe in this direction is daring, yet makes sense on many levels.
The still untitled Captain America 3 will be released on May 6th, 2016.
We will be writing on how some of this will unfold in more detail soon, for those who want to dig into potential spoilers. Geek movie news doesn't get much bigger than this... So what the heck do you think? Who's side do you see yourself taking? Let us know on the comment boards!
Source: Point of Geeks, Variety