Marvel’s ‘Civil War’: 5 Things You Should Know

Captain America Winter Soldier

With their super powers and skin-tight costumes, superheroes are meant to be a little, well, unbelievable. Now Disney’s Marvel wants to make movie fans accept them as if they had to live with real-world consequences.

By announcing its intention to launch a Hollywood take on “Civil War,” the seven-issue miniseries Marvel’s comics-publishing unit let loose in 2006 and 2007, Disney will have to hope comic-book fans like their out-of-this-world heroics leavened with a little reality. The series asks what might happen if the U.S. government demanded mystery men and women register their identities so they can be tracked and monitored, which results in a schism between some of the best-known characters in the Marvel pantheon:  Captain America, Luke Cage and Spider-Man are against the idea, while Iron Man and Mister Fantastic think it’s a notion whose time has come.

Will fans of the blockbuster “Avengers” series of movies bite? Below, a  few issues (not the printed kind) to consider:


 *Real life has intruded upon the comics before… Marvel isn’t the first to inject a little reality into the world of costumed adventuring.  Rival DC Comics, owned by Time Warner, has used the “what if our heroes had to deal with real life” theme in some of its most memorable works. In the 1970s, writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams crafted a series of comics featuring Green Arrow and Green Lantern taking a trip across America and forced to deal with the problems of poverty, racism and drug abuse (even Green Arrow’s sidekick developed a heroin addiction). In 2004, writer Brad Meltzer and artist Rags Morales unveiled “Identity Crisis,” which forced the Justice League and other heroes to deal with the fact that their loved ones would be natural targets for anyone who wanted to gain revenge on them (the Elongated Man’s wife was among the casualties).

 *Captain America faces death…. The Star-Spangled Avenger can face down enemy spies, weapons of mass destruction, even kooky villains like Batroc the Leaper (don’t ask) .But can he escape death ordered by the company that publishes his adventures? As part of the “Civil War” storyline, Captain America is assassinated after he is taken into custody by government agency S.H.I.E.L.D. (don’t worry, kids: he comes back like every other dead superhero).  Can Marvel keep one of its more successful movie franchises going if the hero at the center of the thing is dead, lost, or –shudder – replaced by another actor?

 *There’s another big superhero battle brewing a few weeks earlier…. Just as “Civil War” will show Captain America taking on Iron Man, DC Comics has plans for something similar. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is expected to launch in theaters on March 25, 2016, while “Captain America  3,” which will kick off the “Civil War” storyline, is supposed to debut May 6, 2016. Will fans line up for both?

 *The pivotal event that kicks off “Civil War” features a bunch of C-listers…. At the heart of the debate in “Civil War” is an ill-fated attempt by a group of lesser-known Marvel heroes known as the New Warriors (Namorita and Speedball are among their ranks) to tackle villain Nitro in Stamford, Conn. As a result of the battle, the northeastern city is decimated and hundreds are killed. Will comics fans spend their social-media time trying to figure out who will be cast as some of these younger unknowns?

 *Marvel may have to unveil dozens of new Avengers… Just as Captain America and Iron Man split, so too does Marvel’s best-known super-team, the Avengers. Different teams sprout up around each hero. On Cap’s side: Daredevil, Luke Cage, The Falcon, Black Panther and Hulkling. On Iron Man’s: Ms. Marvel, Ares and Black Widow.

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  1. jr240483 says:

    and there is the other thing as well. if they end up doing this, eventually they will do a marvel movie that is based off the AVX comic series. that is if FOX and Sony are unable to keep the licenses for X-Men and Spider Man ( Personally FOX should have bought the Marvel franchise ) but unless that happens, the odds of it happening are persona non grata .

  2. Smith says:

    So all of the avengers do not have secret identities so i’m not sure what the point is in registering. They need to establish some heroes that are actually hiding, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. cap, thor, ironman, hawkeye, hulk and black widow are all revealed. Even the twins coming up don’t appear to wear masks.

    • Bryan says:

      The premise of the movie won’t be about registering your true identity. It’s more about becoming a government sponsored lacky. Meaning, you become a soldier of your corresponding country, making the super human property of the gov’t

  3. Philip James says:

    As far as the Real Life intrusion angle goes, let me quibble a minor point… If you’re going to go back to the O’Neill-Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow run as an example of “real life intruding on the world of comic books”, Marvel STILL did it first, with the “anti-drug” message in Amazing Spider-Man, wherein Peter Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn, becomes a drug addict. Stan Lee had to fight with the Comics Code Authority to get this published (the government asked Stan to create a story with an anti-drug message, but the CCA wouldn’t allow it), and ultimately, Marvel ran the story without the CCA symbol on the cover (This also led to some major changes in the way the CCA operated). This was a big deal in the late 60s, a few years before the GL/GA stories. Just thought I’d clear that up. MMM.

  4. David S says:

    With the given lack of the given background of the comic, and the lack of so many of the comic characters, we would need to do a complete overhaul of the storyline. How about this…
    – Priming event: rather than a bunch of C-list superhero-caused tragedy that leads to identity registration, how about a “big name” causing an incident with a large loss of life, which leads to government exercising control over “Wonders”, not just registration. The most obvious culprit: the Hulk with his history of loss of control.
    – Opposing Sides: it would still probably come down to Stark and Rogers as the two opposing “generals”. As for the others, I see Hawkeye sticking with the government line, while Natasha chooses to support Cap (as she did in CA2:TWS). Thor could go either way, either supporting Rogers’ valor (or asserting Asgardian independence) or following the government’s lead as he would Odin’s. The “Agents of SHIELD” could make their movie debut, supporting Cap.
    – Villains: The government side could hint at a future “Thunderbolts” movie by bringing back some returning villains to support their side. Best choices would be Loki (when isn’t he great?), Blonsky the Abomination, Generals Ross (Hulk) and Talbot (Agents of SHIELD) and possibly a few “AoS” villains.
    – Effects: Siding with a losing Cap could be something that pulls the Black Widow away from the Avengers, leading to her solo movie. Also, as mentioned, this could lead to a “Thunderbolts” movie if done right.
    Still, there would be a lot to tell, and it would be hard to fit in just a two- to three-hour movie. (Maybe a two-parter?) It’s a great storyline, but it would be hard to adapt for the movie screen.

  5. says:

    Marvel Studios and Sony should allow Andrew Garfield to play Spider-Man as a mature, thirty-something Peter Parker, years removed from the stink of the last two movies. He could portray Parker as a High School teacher that survived the explosion at the school that brought about the Superhero Registration Act in the Civil War mini-series.

    Marvel could finally get their “Mickey Mouse” to appear in their Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Sony could get the much needed soft reboot that the SPIDEY Franchise badly requires to remain relevant.


  6. Jean-Francois says:

    Most people really don’t understand what Civil War needs in order to work. I see so often questions of “How could they do it without Spiderman/X-men/Fantastic Four”. Here are a few important facts people need to understand.

    Even the most faithful of marvel or DC comic book movies are adaptations. Comic books are 22 pages worth of story that need to bring the reader to buy another 22 pages of story a month later. A movie is a 2 hours or so experience in one sitting. It stupid to expect that an adaptation of Civil War or any other miniseries would be page for page, shot for shot or word for word. In order to make a good movie Marvel needs to understand the overall story and make it work in an interesting fashion in movie format.

    Now, for what I expect will be the most controversial part: CHARACTERS don’t matter. ROLES do. Anyone claiming Marvel can’t do Civil war because they don’t have Spiderman doesn’t understand storytelling. Peter Parker accept to unmask because Starks asks him to therefore supporting the registration act. But any character could fill that role… except Marvel doesn’t have a single one that could. The real issue here is that no superhero has a) a secret identity, b) supervillains gunning for them c) loved ones that could be in danger if this information fell into the wrong hands. If you disagree, look at the whole roster of heroes from Marvel. Tony Stark declared on TV he was Iron Man. Rhodey being War Machine was never played secretly. There is a musuem wing on who is Captain America. Thor doesn’t have a secret identity. Hawkeye and Black Widow are shield agents and with Cap 2 the secret is already out as are probably any other Avengers. Falcon helped Cap but is otherwise villain-less. Banner is now a loner without family or loved ones. Hell, outside of Thor and Iron Man having girlfriends everybody else in the Marvel Universe seems to be like that.

    And in the end, this is why I think they can’t make Civil War work on the big screen yet. They haven’t setup their cards right at all. Even without the ending of Cap 2 (which basically negated the need for the registration act since all of shield secrets are out in the open) there was just no Spiderman type character. Nobody was trying to keep their identity a secret. The closest character right now would be Bruce Banner trying to keep a low profile. I guess they could rush a bunch of characters into their next few movies to fit the mold but as of right now, they just don’t have any character setup the right way to make this work.

  7. Billy says:

    Taking this Route will backfire for Marvel! So people-young and old will be dissappointed. Civil war comic was Created for an option as if to say what if this happened! People don’t want to see there Heroes of favourite characters pitted against each other or Killed.. As a fan of the movies I don’t like it and I think it will be the downfall for Marvel

  8. Richard Head says:

    Civil War really changed my view of Iron Man and the heroes who were behind registration. I don’t see how they can do this correctly if the X-Men is owned by Universal and the Fantastic Four are owned by Fox as well as the murky rights to Spider Man, Namor and the Punisher who all have significant roles in Civil War.

  9. madfan23 says:

    As a long time comic fan there was a time inside comics history that made me stop collecting marvel comics. That time was “Civil War”. Some of the most lame writing and situations that made personalities of characters do things they have never done b4 or since the story arc. Just seemed like a team that ran out of ideas that lead to poor sales after. Which might I remind you not long after that was sold off. Unhappy about this decision to go this route for the big screen.

  10. madfan23 says:

    As a long time comic fan there was a time inside comics history that made me stop collecting marvel comics. That tine was “Civil War”. Some of the most lame writing and situations that made personalities of characters do things they have never done b4 or since the story arc. Just seemed like a team that ran out of ideas that lead to poor sales after. Which might I remind you not long after was sold off. Unhappy about this depiction to go this route for the big screen.

  11. marco says:

    I think this gives Marvel the opportunity to introduce a bunch of superheroes that haven’t yet been on screen. but I do think they should tie in the Netflix series heroes to the MCU to help make that happen. they have a great opportunity with their SHIELD tv show to intro characters to people. Black Panther is a perfect example of that. Coulson’s team can certainly go to Wakanda at some point. the trick for Marvel is to greenlight a BP movie and get the actor in place and onto the show for an intro. they can do the same thing with Doctor Strange (already name dropped in Cap 2) and that would be a perfect opportunity to into Ms. Marvel. Moon Knight works in this way too.

  12. Eddy Kelevra says:

    Reblogged this on Tv Is Just A Box dot Com and commented:
    just wow

  13. I would disagree with a few elements of Steinberg’s editorial. Marvel’s plan of action here seems to match perfectly the rumors that have come out in the past few months, and in certain ways, could help smooth over some of the rough edges of the Marvel Universe.

    1.) Sony can license Spiderman for this one film, as has been rumored.
    2.) An earlier rumor stated that Avengers 2 ends with Rogers enlisting a new team of heroes – this would explain why.
    3.) Dr. Strange can now introduced at the end of Avengers 2 so his film won’t be an origin story, as Feige has declared.
    4.) A deadly rampage by the Hulk at the end Avengers 2 could lead to the Registration Act (removing the need for a Stamford massacre).
    5.) Hulk voluntarily being shot into space at the end of Avengers 2 connects Earth to the Guardians of the Galaxy (through hints of Planet Hulk). This also means Banner won’t need to be in Capt America 3.
    6.) Thor 3, a rumored Ragnarok event, means no need to have Thor appear in Capt America 3.
    7.) This could lay the groundwork for The Runaways to appear (they’ve been stuck in production hell for years, despite what would be an inexpensive, female-heavy, young cast).
    8.) Avengers 3 has been rumored to be split into two films. Part 1 is the rebuilding of the Avengers (Thor and Hulk return) and the introduction of Adam Warlock.
    9a.) Avengers 3: Part 2 is the big fight with Thanos, pulling in Netflix characters, the Guardians, and helping to introduce new figures: Black Panther, Ms. Marvel, the Inhumans (built off the Maximoff twins), etc.
    9b.) The C-listers you mentioned are the properties that really need some sort of vehicle to introduce them. Without a Civil War-like event, lots of these characters may never have a way to connect.

    10.) But the REAL beauty of this announcement is that Captain America 3 wouldn’t be the end of the Captain America trilogy: it would be the second chapter of the Civil War trilogy:
    a.) Avengers 2 (calamitous ending + Registration Act)
    b.) Capt America 3 (Cap vs. IronMan)
    c.) Avengers 3: Part 1 (Reuniting the Avengers)

    11.) And depending on how Avengers 3: Part 2 goes, it could lead to Marvel passing the Captain America mantle to Bucky Barnes or Sam Wilson, removing the need for any kind of clunky reboot.

    • Mike Petro says:

      Weird, I saw the same exact post on another website, by different user….

    • Dee Lee says:

      Lucas, everything you said makes total sense. Love idea #4 with the Hulk creating the need for the Registration Act. The shadowy group at the end of The Avengers showed that the Registration Act seemed to be in the works. The only thing I would be curious of would be Chris Evans giving up the Cap role. He’s still pretty young and he could seek the type of clout within Marvel that RDJ is exuding now. Anxious to see how this all plays out.

      • Chris Evans has already gone on record wanting to be done after his current contract…he wants to move on to directing as well…so having Bucky or Sam take over his mantle is simply a matter of time…and convenience

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