What happens after Captain America: Civil War?
The road to the Infinity Wars started with Civil War. We’ve got 7 questions for the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War.
Cap 3 is the runaway hit of the year, so far. It has the top spot for worldwide gross at just over $1.15 billion in 2016, and sits second behind Finding Dory on the domestic box office at over $400 million.
Let’s take a look at these 7 questions. What comes next after the end of Steve Rogers as Captain America and a fracturing of the Avengers?
Steve Rogers Survived; Captain America No More
Cap didn't die in the on-screen MCU version of the famous Civil war comic - as some anticipated. In the comic, Cap did not die in Civil War technically either. Cap was gunned down on the steps of the courthouse where he would stand trial following the Civil War. The Death of Captain America story-arc gives an iconic bookend to the events of Civil War.
We can’t help read into the writing on the wall. The imagery and characters are pretty close to what the MCU has developed in the Captain America movie trilogy. Agent 13 Sharon Carter and Falcon feature as central figures in Civil War. Could there be a big twist in the universe as we head into the Infinity Wars? It won’t be as simple as Thanos lining up on one side and the Avengers on the other. The MCU crafts narratives far too well to expect less. You can almost see the imagery from the comics bleeding out on to the screen. How epic would this be to start the Infinity Wars?
Steve Roger’s made a choice keeping a powerful secret from Tony. It cost him his friendship, the Avengers, and his heroic identity, Captain America. There isn’t much doubt we will see Cap again come into play. He sends Tony a letter saying as much. He’ll always be there for the Avengers and the world, but will he do it as Captain America? It’s a little difficult to say. We’re thinking yes and no. Yes, eventually, but Captain America may start off the Secret Avengers on covert missions. We may see something like US Agent or the "SHIELD Agent" Cap we saw in beginning of 'Winter Soldier'. What will it take to have him wield the shield again? We're hoping something powerful in the story of Infinity Wars.
Vision, War Machine, Hawkeye, an original Avenger... who will they rally around this time?
The character development of the Vision is delicate and deliberate from the start. He has some of the most human moments in both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. He also is the steward of the Mind Stone - the most prominent of the Infinity Stones in the MCU to-date. Thanos is looking to compile ALL of these stones. Only then can he wield the most powerful force in the Marvel Universe. We doubt he's going to fail in getting the infinity gauntlet and all of its stones at some point. Something has to give. Will Vision be a casualty or will he morph into a little bit different of a character after losing his stone?
Mainstays such as War Machine have a lot of emotional capital built up as well. Clint Barton is the same as the film consistently teases the idea of Hawkeye as woefully underpowered and irrelevant. Yet, he is an emotional center of the team. Age of Ultron went out of its way to tease his death in Act One. Age of Ultron left us at the precipice of Hawkeye's death to give us a twist. They may not be so generous next time. Either would be a substantive choice to "sacrifice" to Thanos, like Coulson to Loki. Thanos will have his victim(s). A bigger question may be, will they stay gone? We think so. Infinity War will make room for phase 4 additions and a new Avengers.
Two Avenger Teams?
Both Cap and Iron Man expanded the MCU in Civil War to fill their ranks. This trend will no doubt continue. Will we see much of the two different teams separately dealing with threats, maybe the beginning of a Thanos campaign?
Early reports have the hero count above 60 for Infinity Wars, albeit in two films. This doesn’t worry us at all as the MCU has done an amazing job with large ensemble casts. They employ the Avengers ensemble model evolved from the X-men’s success in 2000. Each character doesn’t need a heavy dose of screen time. They just need a good actor and several powerful action beats parried by a combination of emotional and humor beats. Black Panther, Spider-man, Ant-man, Hawkeye, Vision, War Machine all measured up in Civil War, getting their own moments while never dominating screen time. Quite the feat. So who will they call on to fill their ranks further?
Civil War ended with two teams of Avengers, a secret team of vigilantes, and a Sokovia accords mandated team of official Avengers. Who will fill these ranks? What will be their missions leading into Infinity Wars? Thanos is coming.
Marvel Universe Growing Exponentially
It was easy in the beginning to dismiss the grounded street-level ABC Agent’s of SHIELD as regulated to the small screen. The TV period piece Agent Carter didn't match with the timeline. But, the Netflix shows raise the bar for the small screen properties substantially! Each show is on par from a character standpoint with the MCU movies. It is beginning to be a little more difficult to keep these worlds separate.
Will the Secret Avenger’s reach out to some street-level heroes? Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage all feel like they could stand toe to toe beside the Avengers. Don't forget Agent's of SHIELD will debut a big name Marvel hero - Ghost Rider! It's possible Ghost Rider will put AoS in a position to influence the big screen MCU in the same way it has always over-arched events on the show.
Thanos is going to push our universe in new ways. The Netflix, ABC actors are solid and the Netflix characters are powered enough to fit in larger events. There is also a certain amount of cache behind the Netflix characters, similar to Spider-man and his debut in Civil War. The first moments of Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones on the big screen may be like Spider-man’s big entrance for the growing multitude of fans of the Netflix Marvel shows.
As the universe in NYC expands, we also have to consider the close proximity to Spider-man, Doctor Strange, and the Avengers base. The leaders behind the MCU have said that the schedules are just too complicated to have them work both a TV series and movies. However, anything is possible and the Netflix shows may have a more movie-like schedule. The Defenders are going to have some impressive buzz before Infinity Wars hits.
If the small screen "Avengers" is well received, will any of those characters make their way into the Avengers?
The Future of These Character Icons
The moniker of Captain America, Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man passed on to new characters in the world of the comics. Some very recently. Will the MCU pass the mantle of a character to a new actor or a different character? Exhibit A: Sebastian Stan is signed for nine movies and he has been in two (only one of which counted for against the nine on his contract). Civil War leaves him back on ice, but will something big bring him back out into the world? Perhaps the death of Steve Roger's would bring the Winter Soldier back into the fold to become Captain America. The Winter Soldier, Bucky and Falcon, Sam Wilson have each been Captain America for a time. The Russo brothers also recently said that Steve Rogers is not Captain America anymore at the end of Civil War.
There are a lot of creative threads at play in the MCU right now. It's possible they may continue any of the biggest Avenger monickers under different portrayals with new actors. In the comics, Iron Man now has a different character under the armor, Ironheart. Thor has been embodied by several different characters, and even the Hulk is no longer Bruce Banner.
Will we see these pillars of the MCU played by new actors and be new characters taking up the mantles? Some signs are pointing in that direction.
Thanos Courts Death
As the first two suggest questions, we think some characters will not survive Infinity Wars. Will it be a major character or will they deliver on the foreshadowing of minor characters doomed to die at the hands of the Mad Titan?
From a plot and character standpoint, there are a number of Avengers who may be on the chopping block before Phase 4. Logistically, many actors are up for contracts soon. Robert Downey Jr. is movie to movie. Chris Evan’s Captain America and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor have one more movie after Civil War. Will they wait until Infinity War Part II or will Cap be killed off in Infinity War Part I? Like Thor, the most likely choice appears to be that they will come into the fold in the conclusion of the story in Part II. Sure some will re-sign but not all.
Who will make it out of Infinity Wars? Not everyone.
Thanos will need some very powerful plot development to fulfill his place as the big bad of the first 3 phases. The Mad Titan will also need some help. Thanos will need help, perhaps an army. It’s going to be difficult to pull off Thanos fighting a slew of heroes that have been set up for 12+ movies as super-powered. There isn’t too many levels higher before it becomes unbelievable. Thanos also has to drive the plot a good distance to round up all of these stones without rallying all our heroes together too soon. He most likely learned from the failed Loki, Chitauri invasion. Remember, the Red Skull is in play though the actor will not likely be returning - luckily he shed his human face in First Avenger.
Will Loki further seek to leverage the situation? Could Thanos use the stones to power-up Zemo into a more similar version to the comics? What villains could come out of Spider-man: Homecoming?
The divorce of the Avenger’s in Civil War is the height of the MCU up to 2016. They cashed in on a lot of the emotional support they have built up with these heroes over the past 12 movies. Thor: Ragnarok is poised to be the epic follow-up to the wide world of the MCU in 2017. Fractured and displaced, Infinity War will start to take shape. What questions are you most interested in after Cap 3? Care to venture a guess on any of our questions?