What Is CIVIL WAR, And How Could It Work In The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
A quick intro to CIVIL WAR and some ideas on how it probably WON'T be adapted.
Ehhh. Can we not? Not that I don’t like the storyline - I’m neutral on it - I just don’t want Captain America 3 to turn into an Avengers movie.
I feel like this is getting built up into something it isn’t at this point: i.e., a complete departure from what we’ve already seen. The core of Civil War — not “superhero v. superhero,” but “freedom v. accountability” and “can we trust superheroes” — is already playing out in the MCU. It’s a major theme of the IM and Cap franchises. The Russos don’t seem to have any interest in the SRA, but they have set into place a lot of other smaller bits that would (as this article mentions) lead to a “Fallen Son” scenario: Fury going underground, Crossbones’ ‘origin,’ the idea that the government is looking for accountability in the wake of a major attack. Nobody’s going to blow up a school bus in the MCU, but Ultron could definitely be the final factor that pushed that into high gear.
I will say there is one pretty major exception that keeps getting overlooked in all of this “no one has a secret identity; who would this be about?” discussion. There’s not going to be a SRA in the MCU, but there was a massive attack on the nation’s capitol. The equivalent of the FBI or CIA headquarters (hell, likely more the equivalent of the Pentagon) was leveled to the ground. The amount of damage done was catastrophic — very possibly bigger than the Battle of New York; at the very least on par. Pierce is dead, as is most of the World Security Council. Who knows what those leaks say. But the thing anyone watching that fight on the causeway would’ve seen? The terrorist with the metal arm. Who is currently at large.
The only real way I could see Steve and Tony clashing in a significant way would be over the Winter Soldier’s status as a POW v. enemy of the state, and whether or not he should be brought to trial. It’ be the only real in-character situation under which Tony would be on the government’s “side” — and not even because the Soldier killed his parents, which he likely doesn’t know about: rather, because the presence of a “terrorist” supersoldier goes against the primary argument of the Avengers: that they make the world safer. And I could absolutely see this being what puts Steve on the wrong end of the legal system, as he would technically be aiding and abetting (though in the comics he and Bucky don’t really see each other again due to Bucky’s guilt until after Steve’s resurrection - something I think we need to prepare for as a real possibility in the MCU. I’d say like, 80% chance).
Which isn’t to say I necessarily think any of this is going to happen. But I feel like a lot of these “what is Civil War and how would it fit” articles focus on the wrong thing by emphasizing the “superhero v. superhero” aspect. Certainly that’s the big draw in the comics, but in terms of how it would actually be adapted I imagine what they’re after is the themes, not the action (they’ve already taken action sequences near panel-for-panel from Civil War). Yes, it would be “taking the point” out of Civil War — but TWS did Secret Invasion without Skrulls or clones. They’re not exactly concerned with manipulating plot lines, here!