What Is Marvel’s Civil War, and How Does It Relate to the Movie Universe?

Yesterday, Marvel broke the internet when they announced all of their films from now up to 2019. Nine films were presented, including newbies like Doctor Strange and Black Panther, and the ridiculously exciting prospect of Avengers: Infinity War, a movie that will presumably be so packed with awesome, it needs to be split into two parts.

Naturally, it’s easy to get a little lost in all these announcements (we needed a lie down and a cry), so let’s take a more in depth look at just one of the new Marvel movies on the horizon, and easily one of the ones we’re most excited for (not least because it’s the first Phase 3 film out of the gate); Captain America: Civil War.

What could be considered as spoilers are about to follow, so if you want to go in to the third Captain America film completely cold, you should leave now.


For those who don’t know, Civil War was a big event comic published by Marvel in 2006. The Civil War spanned all the major Marvel books, and had long lasting consequences for most of the major heroes, the biggest of which were the assassination of Captain America, and Spider Man revealing his secret identity to the world (but that guy is currently being killed by Sony, so don’t expect to see that).

The Civil War kicks off when the government pushes something called the Superhuman Registration Act. This is essentially a law which requires all super powered humans to register with the government as a “human weapon of mass destruction,” reveal their true identity to the authorities, and undergo proper training. All of this is in response to an entire town being destroyed (including a school full of kids) after a super hero bust up.

Perhaps understandably, some heroes don’t take too kindly to being required by law to essentially become super powered civil servants, and the act splits the god guys down the middle. Captain America leads the rebellion, while Tony Stark leads a team of registered heroes who are tasked with rounding up anyone who refuses to sign on.

We won’t go into any more detail on what follows, mostly because we don’t wanna spoil things too much. However, you can expect a whole lot of hero on hero carnage.

It’s important to remember that a whole lot is different in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, most notably what characters can even show up. The Fantastic Four and the X Men played important parts in the Civil War, as did Spider Man… but obviously Marvel doesn’t have the movie rights to any of these chaps. Even if they did, this is still essentially the third Captain America film, so we would imagine most of the focus will be with him.

So who’s gonna join Cap? Falcon is a safe bet. We’ve already seen him (in Captain America: Winter Solider) and he’s one of the first to join Cap’s rebellion in the comic. We can imagine Bucky will also be involved somehow, since that arc was left dangling  in the last movie… but who can say what side he’ll fall on?

We know Robert Downey Jr. is set to co star in Captain America: Civil War, so presumably he’ll be the “villain” of the movie. At this stage, who knows what other heroes might pop up (who knows who’s even going to survive Age of Ultron), but again, this isn’t Avengers 3. This is being billed as the third Cap flick, so we can speculate that we aren’t actually going to see that many major players as that would detract from Captain America being the main player.

It’s safe to assume that the inevitable destruction in Age of Ultron will be the catalyst for the Registration Act, and considering that based on the trailers Stark is responsible for making Ultron, we have his motivation for signing on with the act; guilt. It’s hard to say who else could side with him though, as most of the heroes on his team in the comic don’t actually exist in the MCU yet.

In some ways, what’s even more exciting than the prospect of a huge throw down between Iron Man and Cap on the big screen, is the far reaching consequences Civil War will inevitably have for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Winter Solider completely changed the game by getting rid of S.H.I.E.L.D, so hopefully we’ll see the effects of the Superhuman Registration Act in following films like Black Panther, and Doctor Strange.

A post Civil War world could even bleed into Marvel’s TV shows. After all, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D suddenly went down a completely different (and much better) path after the events of Winter Soldier, and with Marvel expanding their TV universe by introducing street level heroes such as Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage, it would be mad to assume the registration act won’t impact on these shows (if they’re still around by then). Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D could even crossover, as they hunt down the heroes that refuse to register.

So in conclusion, if you weren’t already insanely excited by the prospect of a big screen Civil War… with a showdown between two heroes that’s been brewing since the first Avengers, and the potential for much further conflict in later films and TV shows…you really, really should be.

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