In the run up to Captain America: Civil War, there was a lot of debate over whether we'd actually see Spider-Man in the movie. The internet was rife with rumors about a reported deal going down between Sony and Disney, as they negotiated the future of this particular comic book property. Now we know that this was indeed the case, and when it was revealed that Spider-Man would appear in Civil War, many fans wondered if he was shoved in at the last minute.
Actually, the opposite was true.
As it turns out, the Civil War creative team — screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely along with directors the Russo brothers — had always planned to involve Spidey in the action. And in fact, the original draft of the script gave Spider-Man a much bigger role in the story, more in keeping with the comic book arc. Unfortunately, this version of the movie would never come to pass — but oddly enough, that might have been the best thing for the film, and the future of the MCU.
Delays In Negotiations
This revelation went largely unnoticed a few months ago, as Markus and McFeely told Creative Screenwriter Magazine of their original plans for the film.
"We had [Spider-Man] in, and sometimes a month or two later Kevin would come back and say, ‘No, negotiations are not going quite as well. Don’t plan on him!’ [Laughs] I don’t know the exact date when corporate signed contracts with Sony, but it eventually led to some hard and fast choices later on."
The writers explained that Spidey's role was intended to build up to the "splash panel" sequence: The climactic airport battle between the two Avengers teams. In the comics, Spider-Man is torn between two sides, and eventually switches loyalties part way through. His journey is one of the main threads of the arc, as Peter Parker's struggle with the issues at hand become a metaphor for the entire conflict.
Originally, the film was going to adapt this part of the storyline, but as Markus and McFeely revealed, the deal with Sony just didn't go through in time. By the time Spidey was confirmed to appear in Captain America: Civil War, the movie was well into shooting, and the writers had already replaced Spidey's role with someone else.
"When things maybe looked like we weren’t going to get Spider-Man, it was like, ‘Let's put the costume on that guy!’ And then he became so integral to the story as it evolved that once Spider-Man came back, we didn't take him out. So, it was a problem that created a really nice situation."
As the writers told Cinemablend, the Wakandan characters were originally intended to give the movie a bit of scope, but when they knew they wouldn't get Spidey in time, Black Panther's role became much more prominent. And honestly, that turned out perfectly for both Civil War and the entire MCU.
Black Panther's Role Was Fascinating
In a film filled with superhoroes and poignant emotional journeys, Black Panther still stood out as the breakout character.
This was due to many factors, but mostly it was because he offered an outsider perspective. We may not have known much about T'Challa, but his quiet dignity made him compelling. Once his father was killed — in one of Civil War's most heartwrenching scenes — we really sympathized with T'Challa. His personal stakes in the conflict were different from just political side taking or theoretical ethics debates. He wanted justice for his father's death, and although he blamed Bucky Barnes — who we all knew wasn't the culprit — it was still easy to understand T'Challa's actions.
T'Challa's journey from vengeance to acceptance became the metaphor for the conflict in a different way, striking an interesting parallel with Peter's role in the comics while telling a new story. His final decision to spare Zemo's life was very satisfying, and as T'Challa offered aid to Bucky we knew this new hero was truly worthy of a bright future in the MCU.
Of course, this all meant that Civil War was the perfect introduction for Black Panther, setting up his solo movie by taking us briefly to Wakanda in the end credits scene. Black Panther is one of Marvel's most iconic heroes, with a fascinating history, and Chadwick Boseman's performance in Civil War proved that this version of the character exceeded fans' wildest hopes.
While Spider-Man's original role in Captain America: Civil War could have been much bigger — and in keeping with the comic books — what we ended up with was a far more original and atypical story, not to mention a great introduction for Black Panther. Besides, Spidey's role in Civil War was awesome, offering much-needed comic relief, and getting us good and hyped for Spider-Man: Homecoming — in which we're sure to see Peter go through the emotional journey he missed out on in Civil War.
Are you disappointed about the changes to Spidey's original role in Civil War? Let us know in the comments!