Talk about controversy! By the conclusion of Captain America: Civil War, the status quo of the MCU is in pieces and we're left wondering where the Avengers can go from here. (Not to mention wondering what to do with all of these emotions we're suddenly burdened with because wow, the recovery from #CivilWar will take some time.)
Suffice to say, Civil War's end really messed with the future of the #MCU. So what does this all mean for Phase Three, and the upcoming #InfinityWar? And could we finally see the Secret Avengers on the big screen?
The End Of The Avengers
In all seriousness, Civil War is probably the boldest film that #Marvel has ever made. After The Winter Soldier saw the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D., fans were wondering how the Russo brothers could top the game-changing effect this film had on the MCU. And yet the creative team really pulled out all the stops for Civil War.
Drawing on events from several films, in Civil War we see underlying tensions reach breaking point, as the Avengers are called upon to take responsibility for the destruction they've (somewhat indirectly) caused.
The ensuing conflict, which begins at the negotiating table before descending into some of Marvel's most emotional hero vs. hero battles, tears the teammates apart. Although there's a clear winning side, neither teams make it out scot-free.
Rhodey is left paralyzed, Vision is forced to live with the guilt of wounding his friend, Tony is racked with grief over the death of his mother (at the hands of the Winter Soldier). And then of course there's Natasha, who goes on the run after acting to protect Steve and Bucky.
But it's Team Cap that we're really concerned about. Because of their actions against the accords, all the heroes that rallied behind Steve find themselves incarcerated in the Raft — until Steve rescues them, of course. This puts the characters in a very interesting position, especially considering what we know will happen next.
Rise Of The Secret Avengers
So Team Cap are fugitives, on the run from the US government. Will they continue to act in defiance of the Sokovia Accords, becoming vigilantes in order to help people? Well, they're lead by Steve "I don't like bullies" Rogers, so it's highly likely the answer to that question is yes.
While the Civil War film deviated a great deal from the original comic arc, this conclusion could well be setting up a team that arose as a consequence of the comic Civil War: The Secret Avengers.
Initially formed by Cap to combat the effects of the Superhero Registration Act, the Secret Avengers later became a covert branch of the Avengers, acting as a Black Ops strike team. The Secret Avengers comics proved very popular among fans, as they operated separately from the other #Avengers teams and had a secret-agent type mission.
It's possible, and even probable, that Team Cap will now become the MCU version of the Secret Avengers, operating outside the law as vigilantes. This would call for a lot of secrecy in their missions as they try to avoid capture while helping others. Narratively speaking, this is very exciting. These characters, formally celebrated heroes, have to deal with their tarnished reputations and the fact that they can't return home or work with their former friends. Or at least, not yet.
We know that the threat of Thanos will rise in Infinity War as he finally makes his move against Earth.
The Russos have spoken frequently about how Civil War is meant to set up Infinity War, aligning all the pieces on the board for the MCU's biggest conflict yet. Joe Russo told Empire magazine:
"We wanted Winter Soldier, Civil War, and the Infinity War films to have a strong through line. We look at this movie as setting the stage for Infinity War, how it starts and what condition everybody is in."
It's possible that the Infinity War films could be a divided story, following up on the situation after Civil War and showing the two Avengers teams working separately. It would make sense for the story to explain how the two teams are brought back together, but before Thanos attacks Earth we could well see Team Iron Man (the accords-approved Avengers) sent after Cap's Secret Avengers to bring them in.
A reprisal of the hero vs. hero battle from Civil War could be on the cards, which would be fantastic. Ultimately though, the two teams will no doubt come together again to battle Thanos, albeit a little worse for wear.
So will Cap's team finally accept the Sokovia Accords, or will something happen in Infinity War to cause those accords to be repealed? And how do the #Defenders, Spider-Man and any other budding heroes play into this? It's all very difficult to predict, but one thing is certain: The future of the MCU will never be the same.
Do you think Cap's team will become the Secret Avengers?
[Header source: Vincent Rhafael Aseo]