It goes without saying that fans of Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe were beyond thrilled when news of Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016) hit the world wide web. For a number of reasons, I personally didn't think Marvel would go this route. However, that doesn't even slightly take away from my excitement for this movie.
Now that Civil War is official, it's time for us to speculate on how Marvel Studios is going to translate the story from comic pages to the big screen. Specifically for this article, what is going to trigger Civil War in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
In the beloved Marvel: Civil War comic story arc, the institution of the Superhuman Registration Act and the inception of Civil War is prompted by a super villain known as Nitro. A team of heroes called the New Warriors perform a videotaped raid of a home. In this home, a group of villains who have recently escaped from a Ryker's Island prison reside. Among these villains is Cobalt Man, Coldheart, Speedfreek, and Nitro. Provoked by the New Warriors, Nitro uses his ability to turn his body in a gaseous state and explode with maximum force. The explosion kills some 600 people, including 60 children in a nearby elementary school. The explosion forces the United States Government to act, producing the Superhuman Registration Act.
Is Nitro a contender for the triggering of Civil War in the MCU? Honestly, it's debatable. Nitro has not been introduced as a character in the MCU, nor has he even been mentioned via easter egg. While the story line is unbelievably powerful this way, it's doubtful that Marvel will go this route, considering the fact that they'd have introduce new characters and create a separate story for Nitro.
2: THE HULK
Judging by the information we know about [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) thus far, it's easy to deduce that Bruce Banner will be going through some serious internal struggles in this film. I mean, every time we see him in the first Age of Ultron trailer, he is either angrily fighting Iron Man or breaking down, whether it's sweating and staring into space on an airplane, or falling over in a snowy forest. It's clear that Banner's battle with the enormous green rage monster inside of him is far from over. In terms of causing a war amongst heroes, we know that S.H.I.E.L.D. and the government don't fully trust Banner/The Hulk. I mean, S.H.I.E.L.D. did have a special "cell" for the Hulk in the Helicarrier in the first Avengers film, and in the 2008 The Incredible Hulk film, Banner was the target of a United States military global hunt.
All it takes is one nasty outburst, one lapse in control, and the Hulk can do some real, unadulterated damage. This might be enough for the government to institute the Superhuman Registration Act, causing a conflict between Iron Man and Captain America, and prompting a Civil War.
3: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
This idea is far-fetched for more reasons than one. While the Guardians of the Galaxy are heroes and not necessarily a threat to Earth, it is possible that the governments of the world start to feel that they have the right to know who is protecting them, and since the Guardians are, well, not from around here, it's only natural that the people of Earth feel uncomfortable with their presence. This could, in turn, lead to a Superhuman Registration Act, and the beginning of Civil War in the MCU. I do realize the unlikelihood of this idea due to the fact that we won't be seeing the Guardians of the Galaxy on screen again until Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which is set to release on May 5, 2017, but hey, it's Marvel, anything could happen. I like to keep an open mind.
It's interesting that Phase 2 of the MCU is not ending with Avengers: Age of Ultron, but instead, is ending with Ant-Man (July 17, 2015). What could be their motive for this?
With [Captain America: Civil War](movie:994409) kicking off Phase 3, I am led to believe that Ant-Man has a hand in Civil War. Since we don't know a whole lot about the Ant-Man film, it's tough to say how exactly he can contribute to Civil War. It's likely that this movie can have absolutely nothing to do with Civil War, but something tells me that the war will be hinted at in this movie, especially because it comes after Age of Ultron.
Having said all that, we know that Avengers: Age of Ultron will in part set up a further distrust between Captain America and Iron Man, and the events of this movie will have a huge hand in setting up the Civil War. We just don't know specifically what will provoke such a war.
As a side note, it's possible the Civil War in the MCU can have nothing to do with a Superhuman Registration Act. Realistically, the possibilities for what Marvel can do with this story is endless.