Oh man, it’s finally happening! According to a Variety scoop, Captain America 3 is going to be a huge turning point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Why? Because Marvel is finally ready to dive into a movie version of the Civil War comic book storyline, pitting Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark against Chris Evans’ Captain America.
Variety reports that Cap 3 will signal the beginning of a larger story arc, which will span multiple films leading up to a third, and maybe even a fourth, Avengers. Additionally, Robert Downey Jr. is in final negotiations to join the upcoming sequel, which is important because Tony Stark has an extremely crucial role in the Civil War story.
In the comics, Civil War centered around the Superhero Registration Act, which required all superheroes to reveal their secret identities and work for the US government. This creates a schism in the superhero community, with Tony Stark leading those in favor of registration, and Captain America fighting against it.
Using the idea of a superhero civil war as a jumping off point will give Marvel a lot of interesting material to work with across a number of films.
Here’s how I think it might impact things moving forward (potential spoilers for future films and the Civil War comic book storyline):
1. The Civil War will open things up for an invasion by Thanos.
We already know that Avengers 3 will most likely feature the culmination of the ongoing Infinity Stones storyline, and a climactic confrontation with Thanos. If much of Phase Three (Cap 3 will the second post-Age of Ultron movie) will be spent on the Civil War though, where does that leave all of the space stuff?
I think that as the Civil War is going on, Marvel will continue to reveal the remaining Infinity Stones, and subtly allude to Thanos’s ongoing machinations. The subsequent aftermath of the superhero war on Earth will then give Thanos an opportunity to strike while the planet’s defenders are at their weakest. That in turn should give the Guardians of the Galaxy a good opportunity to step in and lend a hand.
Reaching even deeper into speculation, let’s not forget all the evidence in Agents of SHIELD for Skrull involvement. I think a version of Secret Invasion is totally on the table, and with the possibility of lots of major characters dead or missing during the Civil War, there’s plenty of opportunity for alien sleeper agents to slip in undetected.
Want my million-to-one bet? Thanos will use the Skrull (or movie Skrull equivalent) to invade Earth, replacing major characters with alien doubles. To accomplish this bit of storytelling, Marvel will focus the Phase Three films primarily on Civil War, while Agents of SHIELD (and maybe Guardians 2) quietly keeps the cosmic gears turning.
2. Captain America bites the bullet.
If you’re at all familiar with the Civil War comic book story arc, you’re probably aware of what’s arguably its most famous panel: the death of Captain America.
Killing off Chris Evans’ character in the movie-verse has been long rumored, and plenty of fans have been speculating that Bucky will pick up the shield in his place. And let’s not forget that both of the people involved in the assassination, Brock Rumlow and Sharon Carter, had meaty roles in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
With Thanos incoming, having Cap die makes a lot of sense from a storytelling standpoint. Steve Rogers has become something of a leader to the Avengers. Killing him off, only to have the team facing down their biggest threat yet is super-fuel for some real drama.
And if my Skrull prediction is correct, how crazy would it be to have Thanos show up with an army led by none other than Captain America (who would later turn out to be a Skrull double of course).
3. More interconnectivity.
Marvel may seem like the biggest thing in movies right now (and they are), but it’s important to remember that they’re still learning. What they’re trying to do has never been done before, so things will occasionally be a little bit bumpy as they figure everything out.
A big complaint many fans had about Phase Two is how disconnected the movies felt from each other. Where was SHIELD during Iron Man 3? Why couldn’t Thor lend a hand in The Winter Soldier? Why didn’t Tony Stark and War Machine show up at the end of The Dark World?
Well the meta answer is that Phase Two was all about telling these characters’ individual stories in a post-Avengers world, not about crazy team-ups. In Phase Three though, if Captain America 3 is any indication, Marvel is going the opposite route.
I predict we’ll be seeing a huge amount of crossover between Marvel’s major franchises. Expect characters like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers to play a big role in most, if not all, of the films. Even if they don’t actually appear in person, I think we’ll be seeing a much more serialized approach to storytelling, with all of the movies contributing to a cohesive “civil war” narrative.
4. Bring me everyone… EVERRYYOOOONE!
Speaking of crossovers, the first Avengers movie was absolutely nuts in that it managed the impossible task of somehow serving as the culmination of four distinct movie series. Age of Ultron sounds badass, but it doesn’t have nearly the same awe-inspiring heft to it. It’s basically the same group of characters, with a few new entries who will get their real introductions in that film.
For Avengers 3, I hope they go back to their roots, and floor the fans by delivering a team-up film that’s impressive even by Marvel standards. The Guardians of the Galaxy are a must, but that’s just the start. Get the Agents of SHIELD cast in there! Let’s see Daredevil and the Defenders! Ant-Man and Doctor Strange! And heck, not to be greedy, only asking because I know they’re capable of delivering, but here’s to hoping they manage all of that and a few surprises.
5. A left field prediction.
Hey remember that rumor that Sony was in negotiations to share the rights to Spider-Man with Disney? Well, guess which character had a huge role in the Civil War comic book storyline…
Sounds unlikely right? It probably is, but Marvel just so happens to be reviving the Civil War comic book series in some way, and here’s the first cover they revealed. Oh my: