Yesterday, Marvel released a teaser image and a Tweet that said Civil War was coming in 2015. At first it seemed like Marvel had lost its head thinking fans would come back for another round of the superhero vs. superhero story, but with news that Robert Downey, Jr. is coming back as Iron Man, there may be more to the teaser than we think.

Robert Downey, Jr. went on record with Vanity Fair saying there were no plans for an Iron Man 4 movie, but today we learned from Variety, that Downey is planning on reprising his Tony Stark role for Captain America 3 in a much larger capacity than previously thought.  According to the story, Downey will more than likely receive $40 million upfront, plus points, plus a bonus if Captain America 3 performs better than Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Why is this a big deal?

According to sources, Producer Kevin Feige is envisioning that Captain America 3 will kick off a seven movie storyline adapting Marvel’s Civil War event for the big screen.  If this is indeed Feige’s plan, the teaser image released yesterday from Marvel indicates a “new” Civl War story will will be published leading up to the 2016 release of Captain America 3, and continue story in Avengers 4 (providing Age of Ultron isn’t split into two movies).

Those paying close attention to gossip around the water cooler have probably heard that Sony and Marvel Studios have been talking about sharing Spider-Man for unannounced project(s). Considering Peter Parker’s reveal is a pivotal point in the Civil War story (and the subsequent mind wiping and dissolving of his marriage to Mary Jane), these rumors are starting to seem more and more likely and I bet we hear something to this effect before the year is out.  Want further proof? Why did Marvel release this particular cover, when there are so many other Civil War covers to choose from?


Multiple Storylines

With Ant-Man and Doctor Strange already on the slate of movies being produced, and Guardians of the Galaxy now a huge property, it will be very interesting to see if sequels to these movies tie into the Civil War vision, or if we will see multiple story arcs spinning through the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  Everyone is expecting the Infinity Guantlet storyline to be the next big story push and with the cosmic and magical heroes being involved, it very well could create a space opera story for the sci-fi fans, while the Civil War story with the Avengers and mutant characters keep the mood and feel of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. vibe going strong. Creating multiple storylines is probably the better way to go, as it gives fans a chance to slip in and out of the MCU without having to feel like they are forced to see every movie in order to understand what is going on.

Or perhaps that is exactly what Marvel Studios wants to happen. As discussed time and time again on the Major Spoilers Podcast, and Dueling Review, Marvel loves to tie all of its books into a big story event, and “forcing” fans to get involved in the bigger story.  If this model is applied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it could be a huge cash grab for the company – or backfire in its face.  Recently, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have stated the movie going experience is going to change where big budget movies will dominate the big screen, and change the movie going experience.  For Marvel this could work very well be the plan with the eleven movies scheduled to arrive between now and 2019 -at least twice a year we’ll travel to the movie theater to get the next installment of the Civil War story, with action and intensity building with each installment.

Is Marvel being too ambitious, or not enough? If everything is put in the Civil War basket, it’s a major risk for the House of Ideas and House of Mouse, and one that probably has many a bean counter nervous as they run the numbers again and again and again.  All movie genres have a natural ebb and flow, and if Marvel Studios is expecting audience interest in their characters to continue to climb and grow with each movie, then someone needs to rethink their plan.



About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. I have to say . . . I’m not a huge fan of “Civil War”. It’s a very challenging project because it’s so polarizing . . . if you’re not careful, one character comes off looking like the hero (read: Captain America) and one character comes off looking like an asshat (read: Tony Stark). That said, Marvel has certainly earned quite a bit of credibility with its recent releases, so I’m certainly interested in seeing what they come up with. I just think this move is not without significant risks.

    • That might be what they’re looking for, actually. Painting RDJ as a bad guy would be a way to have him step out and have Don Cheadle step in as the new Iron Man. I don’t have anything to base any of that on, but in my head it sounds reasonable. lol

      • I have been wondering that. Since Stark is the creator of Ultron in this universe, where does he go character-wise after creating a homicidal robot? And he’s clearly trying to replace SHIELD. Maybe a Civil War-style event leaves Tony Stark broken, especially if Cap dies, giving the Marvel Universe a way to take both characters off of the board (for now).

        • That’s a good point. Maybe they’ll pull out the alcoholism storyline as a result of that and expand it a bit with the whole ‘he’s disappeared and we don’t know where he went thing’ while Rhodey takes over the suit and Potts takes over the company? I mean, combining being the catalyst that gets Cap killed AND creating Ultron would be enough to make him crawl into a bottle, I’d think. And if Marvel continues to make money hand over fist on the MCU movies, they could always set up a new contract with RDJ, at least for cameos and whatnot, if they wanted to bring him back eventually. And I think it’s a given that Winter Soldier is going to take Cap’s place, since they have Sebastian Stan locked in for 7 movies. SO they’ll still have the characters around, just different actors. It’s a good way to get around contract limitations, at least for now.

          As a completely unrelated thought, I’m still not totally sold on Stark creating Ultron by himself. I’m willing to bet he found some old designs from Pym (I think they’re setting him up as being an occasional character in the Agent Carter series, aren’t they?) and expanded on them to create Ultron.

          My biggest question is, if they’re going to actually set up something like Civil War, how can they really do it justice with (relatively) so few heroes and villains that have been established so far? Then again, maybe they could use the plotline as a way to kick off Phase 4 or whatever, with all new heroes showing up?

  2. Having read Civil War and the criticism of Civil War. The may be a story line best suited for the big screen. It is hard to argue with string of success MCU is having. If Marvel can manage to bring their number one character (Spider-Man) into to the MCU…more power to them.

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