The next installment in Marvel's Cinematic Universe doesn't hit theaters for a whopping eight months, but that hasn't stopped loyal Marvel fans from going full-throttle with their theories and speculations.
With every new set photo, casting announcement, or concept image, comes many more fan theories. Many of these theories are pretty outlandish, though there are a few that are generally possible, and they almost have me wishing they would actually happen!
While it may not be best to start things off with a sad note, this is a theory that very much interests me. In a sudden turn of events during Avengers: Age of Ultron, we saw that Clint Barton, the lovable yet lethal Avenger known as Hawkeye, had a family hidden far away from society.
Sure this twist wasn't that thrilling for action-loving fans out there, but it was probably the second-most unexpected event in AoU (and we all know what the first one was). We all saw the spark we saw between him and Natasha in the first Avengers, so we were pretty shocked to see him betrothed to someone so... well... normal.
In the Civil War movie, Hawkeye has been confirmed to be fighting alongside Cap and his band of rebels. That seems a tad odd, seeing that as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, he should be fighting alongside Stark and his government-loyal squad. Especially because Black Widow is in fact on Stark's team, separating the two good friends.
So why does Barton stray from both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Natasha? Well if the theory is to be believed, it's because of the death of his family. He intentionally kept his family a secret to save them from harm, so if anything were to happen to them, that might be enough for him to sign on to Cap's revolution.
Maybe he initially backs up Stark and stays loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. and Natasha, but due to some horrible incident, he loses his family due to Stark's mistake. He could go nuts and run off, and maybe fight off Natasha in the process. Images have leaked of Hawkeye fighting Natasha, so we know they are going to be at odds at some point. He could track down Cap and join him to get revenge on the man who caused the death of his family.
Among the enormous cast of heroes we'll be seeing in Civil War, we also have a pretty large supporting cast as well. With new faces showing up like Martin Freeman's currently unnamed character, we also have a familiar face from a film back from the beginning of the MCU's Phase One: General Thunderbolt Ross.
Ross, played by William Hurt in The Incredible Hulk, is known to be quite the antagonist in the comics. Not only is he one of the men in charge of taking down Bruce Banner, he ends up becoming the very beast he was attempting to slay when he turns into the Red Hulk.
In the Civil War comics, Tony Stark clones Thor and uses the clone to gain an upper hand in the battle against Captain America. However, instead of cloning Thor in the Civil War film, what if Stark decides to recreate a different Avenger who recently went MIA?
Since Banner went into hiding at the end of Age of Ultron, Stark could try to recreate the Hulk, thus turning Ross into the Red Hulk. He could use Ross to gain an advantage to combat Cap's team, which is packed full of strategic masterminds.
Ross' possible revelation as the Red Hulk could possibly even bring Banner out of hiding. Mark Ruffalo, the actor who plays Banner, has been spotted on the set of Civil War, so perhaps Marvel has some big twist with him sometime in the film. I mean, who wouldn't want to see a throwdown between two Hulks?
Surely Marvel doesn't want their film to leave off with all of these heroes at odds with each other by the end of the film. They are obviously going to have to reconcile somehow, especially since they still have to band together for yet another Avengers movie coming out in a few years.
A widely popular theory is that Thanos, the purple-faced titan that we've seen in several Marvel films already, could launch some sort of attack that forces the heroes to put aside their petty squabbles in order to defeat such a monumental threat.
Believe it or not, there is quite a bit of evidence that supports this theory. For a starter, take Thanos' recent appearance in Age of Ultron. In the post-credit scene for the film, we see Thanos equip the famed Infinity Gauntlet before announcing that he has to do everything himself. He clearly intends to step into the fray himself, rather than playing puppet master in his fancy throne we saw him in during Guardians of the Galaxy.
We also see a lot of Marvel films getting a bit "out of this world" after the Civil War. We will get our first taste of mysticism with Dr. Strange, followed by a third Thor movie, a second Guardians of the Galaxy movie, a Captain Marvel movie, and of course the Inhumans. All of these movies will deal with more cosmic and magical aspects than our other superhero films, and that may have to do with Thanks being revealed as a threat.
Death of a Hero
As I have been predicting alongside countless other Marvel fans, there is an unbelievable amount of evidence pointing towards the probable demise of Mr. Steve Rodgers, aka, our beloved Cap.
The theory has roots back in the Civil War comic series, in which the event was concluded with the assassination of Steve. In a fiasco involving Sharon Carter, Crossbones, and brainwashing, Steve was shot down and killed.
However, this did not spell the end for Captain America. The shield was picked up by Steve's friend Bucky Barnes, who you might remember to be the Winter Soldier. For those of you who haven't seen recent Civil War news, Bucky has been confirmed to fight in the Civil War alongside Cap and his team. So if Cap did end up meeting his untimely end in this movie, Bucky would be there to take his place.
Bucky isn't the only candidate to fill Cap's spot however. Recently in the comics, the spot of Captain America has been filled by Sam Wilson, who has been recently introduced to the MCU as Falcon. It could be that Marvel intends to have Wilson don the shield, though I'm still personally rooting for Bucky.
Death of a Hero pt. 2
This by far is my favorite theory on the list. Of course there is rampant speculation about the death of Captain America. In fact, it looks like Marvel has set up everything they need in order for the assassination to occur. But wouldn't it be amazing if Marvel just took a sudden left turn and left Cap alive? Perhaps a totally different hero will meet his fate.
All signs point to Iron Man as the fatal candidate. If you are going to leave the leader of one side alive, why not target the other? There is a lot of evidence pointing to the death of Stark, though it might have gone right over our heads.
A frequent complaint about the death of Cap theory is that Chris Evans still has one more movie on his contract with Marvel, so it would make sense that he would stick around for Avengers: Infinity War. Well Robert Downey Jr.'s contract is a lot more flexible. He's been signing on from movie-to-movie recently, and he has actually been signed on for the third Avengers.
That means both Evans and RDJ have one more film to go. So technically they have an equal chance of death. If Cap dies, Chris could always film a flashback or hallucination scene for the third Avenger. Is Stark died, RDJ could do the very same.
We can't forget that Civil War is a Captain America movie. In the film, Cap will be the protagonist, and Stark will be the antagonist. It doesn't make much sense for the movie to kill off the hero while leaving the villain alive, even if doing so would show loyalty to the comics.
But as we've seen in Iron Man 3, Marvel isn't always going to stay loyal to the comics. In fact, killing Stark could just make for a better movie than killing Cap. What if both teams have to team up to take on a bigger threat at the end of the film (Thanos perhaps?), and Stark sacrifices himself to save Cap. His sacrifice could redeem his villainous actions in the rest of the movie, and he could actually die a hero.
You could make the argument that killing Cap would be safer, because Marvel has two replacement characters ready to take the mantle, Bucky and Sam. That being said, Stark also has a very good friend that could adopt the Iron Man title, a friend who already has a suit and knows how to use it.
That's right, Rhodey could very well be the next Iron Man. He has the skills, the military training, and the overall experience to make a great Iron Man. He could even add the same element of diversity as Sam Wilson could by replacing Cap.
There are already so many interesting theories floating around and we still have quite a while to go until the film actually hits theaters. I guess all we can do is wait for more news to come out, so we can keep making theories.