Marvel isn't creating movies; Marvel is creating a religion.
At least, that's what you'd have believed had you been in Hollywood at the El Capitan Theater today, as I was, for Marvel's Secret Event, or the #MarvelEvent as it was trending on Twitter. This is how you do a line-up announcement. THIS is how you do a fan event.
We've been writing as fast as our fingers will let us at Moviepilot HQ, bringing you guys the news about Captain Marvel getting her own movie, along with Chadwick Boseman being cast as Black Panther, the entire line-up through 2019, AND Infinity War being the official title of Avengers 3. And yes, it's two parts.
But that's not even the bit of news that made me almost stroke out in my excitement. The part that did was Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, and our new Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, strolling out onto the stage to announce this:
[Captain America: Civil War](movie:994409)
That's right. It's official. What I've been speculating on for months, Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will see both the Civil War and Infinity Gauntlet storylines playing out.
I really, really should have made monetary bets on this all those weeks and months ago.
Sidenote: Even from 25 feet away, Chris Evans? Still in Super Soldier, could-rip-off-your-head shape.
So, it's happening! Captain America 3 will kick off the Civil War storyline, and [The Avengers: Infinity War](movie:738027) will be split into 2 parts. Here's what else we know so far.
Secret identities won't be necessary
One of the few arguments readers had against Civil War was happening was: What about the secret identities? In the comics, the Civil War had as much to do with unmasking superheroes' secret identities (hence one of the reasons Steve Rogers was against the Superhero Registration Act) as anything else.
But that won't be necessary in the MCU, said Kevin Feige:
And while some comic book fans might rage that they're not sticking exactly to the storyline, the reality is that they were never going to, no matter what. It would be impossible. So it's very smart and savvy for Marvel to start streamlining the events leading up to it, while making them culturally relevant for modern audiences. At a time in which the news of hacking, surveillance, drone programs, and the government spying on its own people is so current in the news, it's a storyline that won't need a painful amount of backstory for audiences to rally behind.
It's the first time we'll see T'Challa/Black Panther
I speculated a few days ago that we might see Black Panther in [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035), at least in a post-credits scene. But while he confirmed that Andy Serkis is indeed Ulysses Klaw (or rather, he confirmed there was a Black Panther Easter egg in the Age of Ultron trailer and all of us in the audience nodded and went "duh"), he said that we wouldn't be seeing Chadwick Boseman take on the mantle of the King of Wakanda until [Captain America: Civil War](movie:994409).
HOWEVER, that doesn't mean it's written in stone. At the moment, that's the plan. But Marvel generally doesn't shoot its post-credits scenes for movies until much closer to the release date, so they can make sure the scene fits the continuity of the MCU and isn't already outdated by the time the movie is released. So don't entirely rule out seeing Black Panther just yet - but don't expect him to be in anything more than the post-credits scene. Feige shot down any idea that he would be part of the Age of Ultron movie itself.
But he's not picking a side for now
Whose side are you on?
That's the tagline from the Civil War storyline, and Marvel is already running with it. After introducing Chadwick Boseman as our new Black Panther, Boseman was asked whose side he was on.
And someone in the audience yelled out, "CAPTAIN AMERICA!!" because well, of course he does. At which RDJ turned to the audience in full Tony Stark mode with arms spread and an "Oh, COME ON" look on his face.
But Boseman surprised people when he sided with not Cap, but...neither.
Black Panther, so he said, was his own man.
Interesting. And not canonically incorrect, actually. In the comics, yes, he eventually does side with Steve Rogers' anti-registration forces. But people forget that before he chose a side, he was not allied to either the pro-registration or anti-registration cause, but that he and his wife, Ororo Munroe (you know her as Storm of the X-Men), went around the United States on a diplomatic mission, hoping to keep the peace between the two sides and negotiate a truce.
But while he may not be picking a side (yet), Kevin Feige confirmed that he is and will be a huge part of the Civil War storyline in the MCU.
The above makes it seem very much as if Black Panther will be standing in as a surrogate for Spider-Man in the tug-of-war that happens between the pro- and anti-registration sides in the comic books. He's a neutral party who - eventually, we can assume - will pick a side.
But I wouldn't completely rule out Spider-Man's involvement just yet. I still firmly believe that Sony and Marvel have had talks about Marvel either fully regaining the rights to its iconic wallcrawler, or at least having some sort of shared joint ownership with Sony.
When Kevin Feige was asked at the Marvel Event today if he could address both the Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Spider-Man rumors, this was his response:
Anything that wasn’t specifically and obviously revealed today is either not true at all, or still rumor until it’s worked out.
It's the "or still rumor until it's worked out" part that grabbed my attention. If either/both were absolutely untrue, he'd have said so. Feige's not a man to mince his words, which leads me to believe that at least one of those situations (if not both) is indeed happening behind the scenes.
That being said, it wouldn't surprise me if Marvel were hedging its bets and positioning Black Panther as that aforementioned neutral party whose decision sways the course of the Civil War. It's a smart move in the event that talks with Sony (assuming they are happening) fall apart or a deal can't be reached. Of course, I could be wrong and talks haven't happened at all.
Buuuut...I've been right so far.
Avengers: Age of Ultron will make the reasons for the war VERY clear
During the event, we got to see not only the trailer again, but a bit of footage - and no, not the OTHER new footage that will be shown during tonight's [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.](series:722469), but an entirely new scene that was exclusive for those of us lucky ducks at the Marvel event today.
It was quite a brief scene, but it revealed a lot about where the Avengers are headed. And where they are headed (as we learned five minutes later) was toward war with one another.
The scene, as Feige set it up, happens toward the middle of the movie, after the Avengers have gotten their collective ass handed to them by Ultron. They appeared to be holed up in some secluded estate (probably in upstate New York from the looks of it, maybe Connecticut). Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are outside, chopping wood together and talking. And very quickly, the conversation goes south.
"Earth's Mightiest Heroes...and they pulled us apart like cotton candy," says a bitter Steve. At which Tony takes a nasty shot as he eyeballs him: "You seem to have escaped unscathed." And keeps pushing him, suggesting that if they had a way to stop things like this before they started, then maybe they wouldn't be in this mess. It devolves into the two arguing about the reasons why they're Avengers, the reasons why they fight.
"Isn't that why we fight?" Tony asks. "So we can win and go home?"
At this, Steve snaps a log in half with his bare hands in his anger, prompting an impressed, "Ooooooo" from the audience.
He has, after all, no more home to go to. And he retorts with something along the lines of, "All I know is, when people try to prevent war before war happens, that's when people get hurt."
The idealistic Steve Rogers. The cynical Tony Stark. And the opposing fundamental belief of each from which neither will budge.
All I have to say is, buckle up, Marvel fans. Because this is going to be one hell of a ride...and not everyone may make it out alive. And if you'd like to brush up on the Marvel Civil War coverage I've written up to this point, you can read on by clicking here, here, and here.
[Captain America: Civil War](movie:994409) will hit theaters on May 6th, 2016.