We're all foaming at the mouth in anticipation of Captain America: Civil War, but it turns out that the Marvel Cinematic Universe adaptation of the fan-favorite Marvel storyline wasn't always the plan for the third Captain America movie.
It sounds as though had the elements not come together the way they did — the Sony/Marvel deal to use Spider-Man in the MCU and Robert Downey Jr. being in the film — we could've gotten a very different sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Talking to io9, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said:
"We developed Captain America 3 knowing we wanted to continue the Bucky story. Is Bucky going to get his mind back? What is Bucky struggling with, after the tag scene on Winter Soldier, and how does Steve’s desire to save Bucky bring him into conflict with something else, thinking about how do the sins of his past sort of affect him? And [writers] Chris [Markus] and Steve [McFeely] came up with a number of cool plots that could’ve worked, but none of them were feeling worthy of a follow up to Winter Soldier."
Co-writer Chris Markus revealed:
"We plotted out a movie that wasn’t Civil War, but that had sort of the central spine that you still see, with Zemo and Bucky and a couple of the set pieces. And the further you probe into the effects of the Winter Soldier on the [Marvel Cinematic Universe], by not bringing in other people, we’re actually ignoring content."
On the time before the building blocks that would become Civil War came together, Feige said:
"Chris and Steve started to chart out various versions of the movie. [Versions] without Iron Man, [versions] without Spider-Man—but we’re very lucky we got to make the whole one. The one we really wanted do."
Co-director Joe Russo agreed:
"There were a lot of things on this movie we [needed], to will it into existence. [One was] Downey."
Once Downey was secured and Spider-Man was available, the filmmakers realized that they could call the movie Civil War and still manage to meet the expectations that are synonymous with the famous superhero conflict. The only thing left now, according to co-writer McFeely, is trying "not to f**k that up.”
'Captain America: Civil War' hits theaters on May 6.