Captain America vs. Iron Man—Marvel’s Civil War is happening
Riccardo Cesari/ Splash
RDJ has been talking up a potential extension of his contract to play Iron Man, and everyone jumped on the Iron Man 4 grenade, because he made some wiseass comments about Iron Man 4. I didn’t buy that he was in talks for another Iron Man installment, but that he could be extending his deal to make room for a fourth Avengers movie. Whether or not there will be a fourth Avengers (with this current cast) is still up in the air, but RDJ is definitely going to be making at least one bonus appearance—in Captain America 3. Interesting timing of this news breaking, following The Judge’s lackluster opening weekend. I highly doubt this information leaked directly from Marvel… is all I’m saying.
The assumption is that Cap 3 will officially be titled Captain America: Civil War, after the comic book run that saw Iron Man and Captain America tearing the superhero world apart. But I’m going to throw my money on Captain America: Fallen Son. There are some challenges to translating Civil War to the big screen, and if you call the movie “Civil War” and then don’t actually deliver on that promise, people will riot. But if you call it “Fallen Son” you can use elements of Civil War but make it more about the aftermath—the assassination of Captain America. (Not a spoiler, it was covered in the f*cking New York Times.)
The problem is Civil War relies on two things: Politics and secret identities. But RDJ’s Tony Stark is well-established as anti-authoritarian, and the MCU doesn’t have secret identities. In the comics, no one knows Steve Rogers is Captain America—in the movies, he has an entire wing of the Smithsonian dedicated to him. Hawkeye doesn’t wear a mask, Natasha Romanoff appears before Congress—the issue of being forced to reveal their identities is moot. So if they’re doing Civil War, I’m assuming they’re coming at it from a different angle.
Like, say, Bucky Barnes, Cap’s long lost best friend who, it’s implied in The Winter Soldier, murdered Tony’s parents. While promoting The Winter Soldier DVD, directors Joe and Anthony Russo didn’t seem hot on bringing Civil War into the MCU (see above), but if Tony and Steve get into it over Bucky’s continued freedom, well. I’d buy that. I just don’t see a Civil War movie happening as a close translation of the comic book material. So it’ll be A Civil War, but not THE Civil War—all the more reason to not actually call the movie “Civil War”.
Couple of footnotes: 1) This solves the Chris Evans Problem. Since Cap spends a chunk of this arc out of commission, they won’t need to re-up him. Just bench him after Cap 3 while Sebastian Stan steps up to the plate, and bring Evans back for whichever Avengers movie concludes the arc. And 2) This puts a new spin on Superhero Face Punch’s graceless exit from the May 6, 2016 release date. If WB/DC got wind that Civil War was coming, yeah, they’d back down pronto. Superhero Face Punch will make a bunch of money, but at this point, audiences are more invested in Tony and Steve than they are in lukewarm Clark Kent and a brand-new Bruce Wayne.
We’ve had years to come to love Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. They’re Marvel’s biggest stars. Imagine if Cap 3 ends on the most iconic image of Civil War—and one of the most iconic comic book images ever—of Tony sitting next to Cap’s body, saying “It wasn’t worth it”. JESUS. There’s not enough money in the world to give Marvel to see RDJ bring that to life.