With the announcement this week that Robert Downey Jr. will be appearing in Captain America 3, not to mention the plethora of hints that have already been dropped about it, it seems fairly certain that the Cap’s third film will adapt Marvel’s Civil War storyline. Published in 2006-07, the story centers on the introduction of the Superhero Registration Act, which forces all superheroes to register their secret identities with the government and essentially become government agents instead of vigilantes. Iron Man fully supports the act, but Captain America is violently opposed and leads a group of heroes against Iron Man, defending their right to act without government interference.
Betrayal, intrigue, politics, Civil War has it all. Marvel clearly knows this, especially considering it’s relaunching the series in comic form next summer (although exactly what that means is unclear). The story is complex enough to give us a decent script, while still action-heavy enough to make for excellent popcorn fodder – much like Captain America: The Winter Soldier was.
Ever since Iron Man came out in 2008, fans have been clamouring to see this iconic story on the big screen, and we think now is the perfect time. It’s always been thought that because of various rights issues, we never would, but lately things have been falling into place.
So just why is this story going to make such a great film? Well to start with…
6. Those Pesky Rights Issues Might Be Resolved
One of the major road blocks in bringing Civil War to the big screen is that Spider-Man features heavily in the story. At first, he’s charmed into joining Iron Man, who provides him with is own “Iron Spider” costume and, in a very controversial move, convinces Spidey to reveal his secret identity to the world (which had a huge impact on Peter Parker’s life after the series ended). Later, HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER Spidey switches sides and is an integral part of Captain America’s endgame.
Since Marvel doesn’t own the film rights to Spider-Man (Sony does), it seemed that any adaptation of Civil War would have to work hard to fill that gaping plot hole. However, rumours have been spreading like wildfire in the last few weeks about the possibility of Sony joining forces with Marvel Studios so that Spidey could finally share the screen with the Avengers. If so, Civil War would be a perfect way to cross-over, as it wouldn’t require Spider-Man to become a full fledged Avenger and could allow for the universes to go their separate ways afterwards.
As for the other non-Marvel Studio properties – X-Men and Fantastic 4 – they’re not nearly as integral to the Civil War plot. The X-Men actually only appear long enough to tell everyone that they’re staying out of this because they don’t fully support either side. And while the F4 become split between the two factions, including that storyline would probably make the film too long anyway and can be cut out without creating any plotholes.
5. It’s An Avengers Film Between Avengers Films
One of the best parts of Captain America: The Winter Soldier was that Captain America wasn’t alone – he was leading a small team of heroes (Black Widow, Falcon, Fury, Agent 13, etc.). I’ve always held that Cap works best as a leader – so it makes sense to make his films the main crossover ones outside of the actual Avengers films. As big a year as 2015 will be for film, 2016 will arguably be bigger, or at the very least have bigger team ups. WB/DC will be releasing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice the same month as Captain America 3 and the two films will be competing in virtually every market. Later on that summer, Fox will be releasing X-Men: Apocalypse and Sony will be putting out Sinister Six. It would be crazy for Marvel not to put the world’s most successful superhero team back on the silver screen that summer too.
But Marvel clearly has their plans in place, and the timing wouldn’t be right for Avengers 3. But Civil War? It’s not, strictly speaking, an Avengers film, but it would still allow them to have their own team-up film to compete with. And considering their main target is Batman v Superman, this would be the time to pull out all the stops, including…
4. Bringing The Netflix Defenders & Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Into The MCU
Next year, Marvel and Netflix will be releasing their Daredevil TV series. While not hugely prominent, Daredevil and the rest of the Defenders (Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones) do appear in Civil War. Avengers: Age of Ultron will bring only 9 heroes together, and even with Spider-Man, 5-on-5 is hardly a war. Adding Daredevil and the other Hell’s Kitchen characters would help flesh out the world and add more soldiers to the fight.
In addition, S.H.I.E.L.D. plays an important role in the Civil War story, as they are essentially the ones enforcing the Registration Act. Fans would welcome Coulson’s return to the big screen, and the storyline could be seeded in the show’s third season. Both shows could also allow for the introduction of more minor heroes to join the fray, fitting in nicely with Marvel’s “It’s all connected” scheme.