Choose your side. Surely you’ve seen the posters and ads for the upcoming Marvel film Captain America: Civil War. What gets most people excited about it is that it’s the first time we’ll see Iron Man and Captain America fighting each other. From what’s been shown from the trailer, it looks heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and incredibly divisive.
The Civil War storyline actually originated from the comics, like any good superhero movie, and it was ground-breaking then, too. Bringing in the entire cast of characters they had on one side or another led for some of the most renowned and remembered moments in comic book history. The Civil War name fit incredibly well.
You can imagine the excitement from the fans when it was announced that the third Captain America film would be based on the Civil War. However, with it, there are going to be some notable changes from the comic it came from. After all, with movie rights for characters at three different studios, and only a few dozen Avengers actually in the MCU at the moment, who can blame them? Nonetheless, if the film can strike the same chords that the comic book did, it’ll no doubt be one of Hollywood’s most remembered movies to date.
Before you see that movie, here are 15 things you need to know about Marvel’s Civil War.
15. Superhero Registration Act
In the comics, the conflict for Civil War was that the government wanted superheroes to work for them as opposed to operating on their own terms. This registration act required all superheroes to be turned into a glorified version of the police, only working when they are allowed to. Iron Man, wanting to put a suit of armor around the world, was all for this idea. Captain America, loving freedom, did not. Then as they opposed one another, heroes chose to side with one man or the other.
14. Hundreds of Heroes
What really made the title of ‘Civil War’ stick out was that it was very much like a war. Nearly every hero we’ve gotten to know and love up to that point was brought in for this issue. Spider-Man, Daredevil, Wolverine, you name it! The conflict was deep, epic, and one of the largest-scale wars to ever put on the panels. There was even one page where it showed all the superheroes and both sides ready to face each other, and it only makes me wish that the MCU could have done the same thing.
13. Villains Participate, Too
One of the most shocking developments in the Civil War arc was when Iron Man figured out that he was outnumbered. To compensate, he enlisted the help of several supervillains that agreed to be a part of the Registration Act. This not only caused a lot of superheroes to switch from his side to Captain America’s, it really set Tony Stark’s motives in a gray area. In the film, we’re going to see Baron Zemo and Crossbones, but they’re going to serve as antagonists, not as actual participants in the war.
12. All Because of Nobodies
Yes it was the Superhero Registration Act that kicked off the Civil War, but something had to happen that caused the government to make it. It was a tragic event really. Some C-list superheroes that nobody had ever heard of, the New Warriors (consisting of a guy named Speedball), were filming for a show and tackled some villains in a suburban area. What they didn’t know is that Nitro was among them, and he had set a bomb that went off during the fight. The explosion resulted in the whole town getting leveled, along with hundreds of deaths.
11. Teams Were Divided
The Fantastic Four. The Avengers. The X-Men. All of these teams were present during the Civil War, but what really set the gravitas of the event was that these teams were divided because of it. Even married couple Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic found themselves on opposing sides of the Act. Nothing was more painful than to see Marvel’s First Family separated over a political disagreement. Because Iron Man and Cap head the teams, you know the Avengers had to suffer a big cut as well, which led to new teams forming like the New Avengers.
10. The Negative Zone
One of the cruelest and most jaw-dropping events in Civil War was when Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic created a prison for any superheroes that opposed the Registration Act. This prison, called the Prison 42, took its captives to another dimension called the Negative Zone, ruled by disgusting creatures not known to Earth. Daredevil was captured and sent to this prison, and his whereabouts were unknown for a while. This really set in motion the corrupt nature of the government and all involved in it for the rest of the story.
9. Thor is Dead
During the events of Civil War, our favorite Asgardian hero had already bit the dust. However, that didn’t stop Iron Man and Hank Pym from creating an exact clone of Thor called Ragnarok (coincidentally the title of the next Thor movie). This clone had no moral guidelines and even killed the hero Goliath by sending a giant bolt of lightning through his stomach. It was one of the most silencing and deafening moments in the story, and really affirmed in Captain America’s own head that he was doing the right thing by fighting.
8. All About Identities
Along with reporting to the government, the Superhero Registration Act also required that all superheroes reveal their secret identities so that tabs could be kept on them at all times. One of the pivotal points of the story came where Tony Stark held a press conference in which Peter Parker revealed to the world that he is Spider-Man. Unfortunately, that would grow to bite him in the butt in the future. The movie definitely won’t take this route, as there really are no secret identities to be revealed – there would be if they included Daredevil, but I doubt that’ll happen.
7. Spider-Man’s Allegiance
On the topic of Spider-Man, he was the turning point for the Civil War. After seeing Ragnarok kill Goliath, Peter Parker began wondering if he really did the right thing by siding with Tony Stark. A good while had passed before he decided to switch to Captain America’s side, not without some retaliation from good ol’ Iron Man though. After losing a battle himself, Stark sent a group of villains to capture Spider-Man, and they would have killed him if not for the Punisher’s arrival.
The Thunderbolts comic is like Marvel’s equivalent of the Suicide Squad. A team of villains operating under the government’s supervision to do good things. The team consisted of characters like Red Hulk and Elektra, and it grew to be a popular run. However, the entire reason the team became a thing was because of the Civil War. After the war was over, the government was fine with having villains on their side, and along with some help from former Avenger, Hawkeye, they were able to become a strong force of nature.
5. Nobody is the Good Guy
What really hits home near the end of Civil War is that there isn’t a good guy/bad guy dynamic going on. Sure it might’ve seemed like Iron Man was the villain, but that was not the case near the end. During the intense fight in a crowded city, Captain America gets the chance to end Iron Man, thus bringing freedom to superheroes. However, he looks around and sees buildings destroyed and people hurt as a result of the war. He realizes at this moment that he was no longer fighting for freedom, he was fighting for himself. He let his own desires get ahead of his moral compass, and innocent lives were paying for it.
4. Captain America Dies
This doesn’t happen in the Civil War comic, but right after it. Cap turns himself in at the end of Civil War, and somebody takes this chance to be rid of the Star-Spangled Avenger once and for all. While walking up to a courthouse after his incarceration, Captain America gets a bad feeling that he’s being targeted. Surely enough, a bullet pierces him, ending his life then and there. The man behind the gun was none other than the villain Crossbones, who is going to appear in the Civil War movie, mind you. We just might be reaching for the tissues in the theaters, folks.
3. Tony Stark Becomes the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
During the events of Civil War, Nick Fury was nowhere to be found. Maria Hill had been filling that position for a while. Following the Civil War though, Tony Stark himself was appointed to take Fury’s place as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Due to his involvement in the Superhero Registration Act, there really was no better person to take up the mantle. He was definitely going to use that position to help a lot of people, especially after learning about the death of his fellow Avenger, Captain America.
2. The Aftermath
Along with Tony Stark’s promotion and Cap’s death, there were many other events that occurred as a result of the Civil War. The entire Marvel Universe had been flipped on its head now that superheroes across America had been fighting each other. The directors of the movie are taking this route with the MCU. They’ve openly stated that the events of Civil War will not only set the stage for Phase 3, but will shake up the MCU from that point on. It’ll be all the more satisfying then when everybody gets together for Infinity War.
1. Anyone Could Die
I’m specifically addressing the movie here. Because the movie will be drastically different from the comic, apart from a few key elements, the writers have the freedom to do whatever they want. We know for a fact that somebody is going to die in Civil War, we just don’t know who. They want to shake things up for the MCU, and the best way to do that is to kill someone we know and love. It’ll feel like you’re actually reading a comic. Just keep in mind that anybody in that movie could die. So don’t get too attached.