Civil War 101; an Introduction to Marvel’s Next Big Thing

By Joe Strange


So, if you read this morning’s CTN you’ll know how excited I am about the latest Marvel news that they will be heading towards the Civil War Storyline in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It was mid ‘squee’ that I realised that not everyone has read Civil War, or even knew it existed, so my job here is clear, to give you a quick introduction and a run down of what the Civil War actually was and what lead to this storyline being an option for the MCU. And hopefully, if you’re interested you’ll run out and read the story arc, because it is awesome.

Civil War kicks off with a superhuman accident, basically some young, up and coming heroes try to take on a team of villains that are a little above their pay grade. This leads to a lot of ‘collateral damage’ and the media and governments begin looking at the superhero community with a sceptic eye and start to wonder if having masks with fake names protecting the public (or trying to) is a good idea.

This leads to a split in the superhero community, with one side backing the government’s Superhero Registration Act, a bill that would force heroes to come clean about their real identities and begin working more for the government as opposed to alongside it, and the other side who would rather keep their masks as it protects them and they don’t see any harm in helping people.

The obvious upside of the act is that superheroes would be personally liable for any damage or mishaps they may cause and accountability is a big part of this. The downside is that, with the secret identities out there, the gallery of villains that have been put away now have a target to take down, if not in the heroes then their families. But despite all that the heroes that signed up to work with the world would still be allowed to help people, those who didn’t would be labelled villains.

What this leads to is a war between factions, with families being split and friends becoming, not so friendly. I don’t want to get too much in specifics because that’s part of the fun of the story itself, and well, due to the infamous licences and rights attached to certain heroes, some of these might not make it to the silver screen storyline anyway.

So what has lead up to this revelation? Quite a few things have been happening and building up recently that has made this arc a possibility, and so I’ll go into that now. Warning, I will be treading into spoiler-ific territory from here on, so be cautious, and look for the ‘SPOILERS OVER‘ tag at the bottom to carry on reading sans spoilers.

Marvel has worked pretty damn hard to reach the point they’re at now; a unified universe that not only spans movies but now television, but where exactly were they going with all this?

Since Ironman 3 there was talk of Robet Downey Jr’s Tony Stark hanging up his helmet for good. Recently there’s been a lot of talk about Ironman 4 and the future of RDJ as Ironman. Those who have read the comics know that Stark does become more of a consultant to the superhero community, if you remember the conclusion of Ironman 2 was that he’d be on the Avengers team as a consultant, but Loki and the Mandarin put an end to that. Stark actually works a lot with congress and the government, even becoming the head of SHIELD at the end of Civil War (I told you there’d be spoilers) so that’s heading in the right direction.

This point in particular is exciting; as you know the events of the Winter Soldier lead to the abolishment of SHIELD after Hydra reared its ugly heads. SHIELD is publicly demonised and its here that Agents of SHIELD really picks up pace, the second season sees Coulson (Clark Greg) as the new Director of SHIELD which is now underground and somewhat undermanned.

We all know how much Marvel likes to touch butts with their properties and this could be a great chance to have Stark and Coulson on screen together again, in the reformation of SHIELD later in the universe’s timeline, perhaps after the events of the Civil War, assuming they go for the ‘Superhero Registration Act Wins’ approach. (Seriously, I wasn’t kidding about the spoilers)

We also see that Captain America may not be so keen on government control any more after seeing the biggest agency out there crumble from his old enemy. Cap is the leader of the resistance in the comics and his movie storyline is pointing him more towards backing the heroes themselves than being heroes being employed. There’s also the rumours that we’ll see Cap assembling more Superhumans in the upcoming films, which only adds to this.

The next point to consider is the failing of Sony’s Spiderman series. With the Venom movie now canned and talks between the two studios pointing towards working together, it’s likely we’ll get a Spidey in the Civil War timeline after all. Which is great since Spiderman plays a major role in the events of the story arc. Having Spiderman on the bill would also give the series another boost, not that it needs it right now, but you never know when we’ll get tired of superhero movies

SPOILERS OVER.

Marvel’s inclusion of more and more of the universe, from Agents of SHIELD to the planned Daredevil and Defenders series on Netflix points towards a larger plan for the story, and frankly the Civil War is the best one to pick. With the Avengers, Defenders and SHIELD, it gives each platform a chance to show conflict and a more human story to a larger battle. Also, unlike the excellent Avengers Vs Xmen series, it doesn’t require Fox to give up the rights to a very lucrative property. Yet.

There are a whole lot of other factors that would go into making the Civil War the best it can be, and some of these I’ll go into in a later article, but for the time, all the signs point to the Civil War MCU arc being not only feasible but also pretty damn exciting.

The only thing that it leaves a bit out there is the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos’ search for the Infinity Gauntlets, with Ultron being the big bad in Avengers 2 (and its creation at the hands of Stark a possible reason behind the Superhero Registration Act) and Civil War lining up for Avengers 3 and Phase 3, when will Thanos get his chance to tackle the Avengers?

Unless he gets them while they’re broken up and weakest. Just an idea.

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