Captain America – Recruiting for a Civil War by Jerry Whitworth
Recently Marvel Studios announced films slated for its third phase including solo movies for Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel (featuring former Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers). Aligning with this news is the release of a trailer and sneak peek for the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron which, rumor has it, will feature a new team of Avengers to rise from its finale. It’s challenging to distinguish what out of all of this news and rumors has the most buzz, but perhaps the most inquired aspect of this information is the details of the announced Captain America: Civil War. Thus far, we know elements of the Civil War crossover will be adapted putting Captain America and Iron Man at odds while Black Panther will make his first appearance in costume in the film. However, the question several fans have posed is if there exists enough established characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to support such an ambitious project.
Drawing some parallels to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in that the film is being marketed as a Batman movie featuring Superman and guest-starring the Justice League, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has prided itself on building its films around characters nurtured across its several projects. In other words, while the Batman film maybe introducing several characters to be branched out into various franchises, Captain America: Civil War is expected to largely play with pieces already introduced or announced prior. If such is the case, at first glance the heroes likely to emerge would largely be drawn from Age of Ultron with the aforementioned Captain America and Iron Man as well as Nick Fury, Hulk, Black Widow, War Machine, Thor, Hawkeye, Maria Hill, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Vision. There is, of course, also Black Panther where it’s likely Falcon, Winter Soldier, and Agent 13 will emerge with good odds on Ant-Man (and perhaps the Wasp) and maybe even the aforementioned Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel (though this seems somewhat unlikely as these franchises likely will be steeped in magic and space, respectively) to appear. However, an element that shouldn’t be neglected is Marvel’s non-movie live action productions.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spun directly out of the films and drives alongside them. It would then make sense that at some level it could also then feed more directly into the greater Cinematic Universe. Meaning, it wouldn’t be unheard of that Phil Coulson and his team (including the newly introduced Mockingbird) could play a part, especially considering Coulson’s hero worship of Captain America (and relationship to Nick Fury, who aligned with the Captain in the comics). But even more than that, the television series’ platform allows it the greater serial nature to plant seeds that could grow in Civil War. Characters like Cloak & Dagger, Spectrum, and Tigra, for example, could rather easily be established while others like Deathlok could be further developed in time for the movie. Arguably even greater than this is the Defenders on Netflix. With series focusing on Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones, there’s a very real possibility the likes of the Daughters of the Dragon, Moon Knight, Echo, and perhaps even the Punisher could appear which would be ripe for Civil War. As an aside, the rumor mill even has it talks are in play for Marvel Studios to use Spider-Man in its films.
If there is at least one element of the various non-movie series that could play out more so than anything else, it could be in members of a possible Thunderbolts team. Re-imagined in the comics mashing up the Freedom Force concept with the Masters of Evil masquerading as the heroic Thunderbolts, too many of the film villains have sadly been killed off for such a team to work. There are those like the Abomination, Leader, Batroc, and Crossbones from the movies, while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has thus far offered up Graviton, Blizzard, Blackout, Absorbing Man, and Whiplash. Through Marvel Studios’ non-movie live action productions, the likes of Songbird, Taskmaster, Bullseye, and Radioactive Man could be established to make way for addition in the Thunderbolts.