*Spoilers for Civil War (graphic novel) and Avengers: Age of Ultron*
The Marvel Cinematic Universe rolls steadily onwards with the next iteration, Captain America: Civil War (2016) due to hit the big screen next May and promising to kick start what Marvel has dubbed Phase 3 of the MCU. Based on the seven-issue series by Mark Millar, Civil War charts a turbulent time in the Marvel Universe marked by the political division of heroes over the introduction of the Superhero Registration Act.
Set in a far more expanded universe than the MCU, Civil War involves a larger assembly of characters and is based upon years of building tension between numerous superhero/super-mutant groups and the general public. The Registration Act controversy is difficult to adapt into a Hollywood film as many of the main players in Civil War have not yet appeared in the MCU; without this backbone to build upon what does this mean for the characters involved in the adaptation?
The Triggering Event
The triggering event in Civil War is the New Warriors and the Stanford Incident alighting a powder keg of tension that had been growing in the Marvel comic universe for years, and the corresponding event in Captain America: Civil War has been the subject of much speculation. Following Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) it seemed sensible to suggest that public support for The Avengers would take a downturn following Hulk’s outburst in Johannesburg, the collateral damage caused and the creation of Ultron (however inadvertently) by Tony Stark himself. However the official Captain America: Civil War plot synopsis tells us that the spark point is an “international incident” caused by The Avengers fighting in Nigeria that leads to the introduction of a governing body to control when and why The Avengers are assembled.
The ‘New Avengers’ presented at the conclusion of Age of Ultron pose all new possibilities – the team now comprised of Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon, Vision, War Machine & Scarlet Witch with Iron Man, Hawkeye and Hulk taking a step back. The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Crossbones and General Ross will all be making an appearance in Captain America: Civil War, going against the grain of the source material. The original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, was also an founding member of The Avengers team and plays a central role in Civil War, so it will be interesting to see how the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man reacts to the group split.
But who will take which side?
Captain America vs Iron Man
This friendly rivalry turned deadly will always be the crux of Civil War. The fact that the film is titled Captain America: Civil War rather than The Avengers: Civil War says a lot about whose perspective we’ll be viewing the events from and it seems likely that the majority of the action will be centered on Cap and Iron Man.
In addition to the Registration Act another point of tension between the two is likely to appear in the form of Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier). As Barnes will be reappearing in Captain America: Civil War, what will his impact be upon Rogers? Will Steve try to protect him? Will Stark go after him in revenge for the death of his parents? Barnes has been in hiding since events of The Winter Soldier and his reappearance here coupled with the hints that he will have a substantial role in the film will undoubtedly provide a serious point of contention for the team.
How much can we expect to see of Spider-Man?
Another major piece of character news is the inclusion of Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man with a confirmed appearance in Captain America: Civil War now that Sony and Marvel have come to an rights agreement. The scope of his involvement has not yet been revealed, rumours hinting at anything from a cameo to a secondary role.
One of the most powerful moments of the Civil War comic is the scene where Spider-Man publicly removes his mask - revealing himself for the first time as Peter Parker. This seems unlikely to happen here since this is the new Spidey's first appearance in the MCU, but Spider-Man is central to the themes of Civil War, both as proponent and victim, and the role Tom Holland plays could be a defining one.
What will happen to Captain America?
The events following Captain America: Civil War are going to be incredibly important in setting up everything that follows in Phase Three of the MCU. After Civil War ends we’re left with Steve Rogers’ supposed assassination and with Stark appointed head of S.H.I.E.L.D., whether or not the film will follow a similar formula here remains to be seen.
One thing is for sure though, no matter what role they ultimately play the characters will really have to gear up for Infinity War: Parts I & II. Civil War, however it plays out, has to be the catalyst that pulls them apart and puts them back together stronger in order to face Thanos in the coming Infinity War.
Who would you like to see clash in Civil War? Have your say in the comments.