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    Robert Downey Jr. Joining the Cast of “Captain America 3” for “Civil War” Adaptation

    By | October 13th, 2014
    Posted in News | 53 Comments

    Well, this is rather big news, isn’t it? I suppose it was only a matter of time.

    According to a report from Variety that just popped up online, Robert Downey Jr. is in final negotiations to join the cast of Captain America 3 for an adaptation of the “Civil War” storyline. Featuring the introduction of the Superhero Registration Act that forces all superheroes to essentially become government employees, the film will supposedly pit RDJ’s pro-registration Tony Stark against Chris Evans’ anti-registration Steve Rogers. Given Captain America: the Winter Soldier’s existence as basically Avengers 1.5, it’s also perhaps fair to assume that the introduction of the SRA will come as a result of Age of Ultron, which most rumors point to being Tony’s “fault” thus giving him a very plausible reason for signing up to work with the government to protect us all against the dangers of superheroes and making Captain America 3 essentially Avengers 2.5.

    The Variety article also goes rather in-depth to the contract negotiations behind the film, explaining Downey Jr.’s recent flip-flopping on whether or not he would play Tony again. Apparently Downey Jr. wanted a substantial role for the film’s plot based on the “Civil War” elements as opposed to what would amount to a walk-on, resulting in a bit of a conflict between Downey Jr. and Ike Perlmutter, chief of Marvel Entertainment (who notoriously also currently has tons of comic rumors circling him about how much he hates “Fantastic Four”). But Kevin Feige stepped up to the plate alongside Downey Jr., saying that everything was building towards this and that the “Civil War” storyline will drive sequels and new franchises for the next seven years (!!!), so hey, it looks like Tony Stark is potentially the villain of Captain America 3. Look out, Batman v Superman, you aren’t the only film to pit hero against hero in 2016!

    This is also a really interesting bit of information:

    Downey, who earned $50 million for “The Avengers” alone, will collect around $40 million plus backend participation for “Captain America 3,” said sources, and will get an additional payout if “Captain America 3″ outperforms “Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s” $714 million worldwide haul. Since the actor did not appear in the first two “Captain America” films, the thinking is that if the third installment surpasses the last movie, its success could be attributed to Downey.

    It’s also worth noting that Evans is clearly a bigger star now, evidenced by the fact that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” grossed nearly twice as much as “The First Avenger’s” $371 million in 2011.

    Much has been said about how Marvel can do “anything,” especially in the wake of Guardians, so it’ll be really interesting to see how well the film does. I would imagine quite spectacularly, though what aspect of the film you would attribute that to will be very hard to quantify: great script, great directing, great actors, etc.

    Now, a note: the Variety report isn’t entirely clear whether Captain America 3 will be the film that starts the “Civil War” storyline throughout all of their films or whether it will be a direct adaptation of “Civil War”. The article describes all the elements of “Civil War” as major plot points for the third Captain America film, though it also seems to imply that “Civil War” could be a follow-up film (like the otherwise unannounced Avengers 3, which currently has no release date or IMDB page) that stems from this one. The only thing that we can conclude is that the Superhero Registration Act will play a part in Captain America 3, and a substantial one at that if Downey Jr. wanted Iron Man to have a major role in the film — so whether or not this is “Civil War” or just kicks it off, there certainly is a lot to potentially explore with and coming out of this movie.

    Additionally, so far most of Marvel’s films have been otherwise contained in their stories. They feed into one another, yes, and they all deal with respective fallout, but it would certainly be different of Marvel to set up the ball for a story as big as “Civil War” and then not just hitting it out there in the same film, leaving follow-up films to merely deal with the  aftermath. I would imagine there will be some form of clarification soon.

    Continued below

    There’s also no word as to whether Frank Grillo will reprise his role as Brock Rumlow as of yet (Variety says it is “expected”), but Sebastian Stan does have a pretty big 9-picture deal, and “Civil War” was a major follow-up to the Winter Soldier storyline. There’s certainly things that can be done with all that, and Chris Evans won’t remain young a beautiful forever. Trilogies are a nice place to cap off, so to say.

    Captain America 3, potentially sub-titled Civil War, is headed towards theaters for a May 6th, 2016 release date. With all of this information out there now I can only imagine what kind of fan theories are now swirling in all your heads about the end of this film already, especially given the end of Winter Soldier, so feel free to speculate with us in the comments below!

    (And, of note, earlier today Marvel (re-)announced “Civil War” as a comic, which is certainly convenient timing all things considered.)

    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."


    • Mark Tweedale


    • Brandon Burpee

      I’m there!

    • Richenbaum

      I don’t see how they could pull off the actual storyline with SHIELD being reduced to a dozen people and there being barely any established heroes in the MCU yet. I think this will really just be an escalated Cap vs. Iron Man story. Probably with some villain behind it all this time. Someone like say…Dell Rusk??!?

      • SHIELD has a 22 episode season to come back to some sort of prominence, and there’s Age of Ultron. You never know! Don’t count ’em out!

        • Richenbaum

          I like the Agents and all, but I don’t see them becoming a huge global police force again that quickly. and Coulson going after Cap? Noooo

    • Awkward

      I really didn’t like the comic event at all. So many characters were written OOC and demonized to make it work. I like my heroes being… you know… heroes. Flawed heroes, sure, that’s better than perfect ones. But still. I can’t see any of the characters as presented thus far in the MCU being in favor of the SHRA.

      That said, the MCU is under no obligation to follow the comic event with any sort of faithfulness. So it could be done completely differently, and in a way that interests me. I don’t know how, exactly, but I suppose it could be done. The security vs civil liberties discussion can be interesting… but I’m not sure how to present it fairly and still be faithful to the characterization.

      I can definitely see this as being what Marvel wants to borrow Spiderman for, though…

      • Richenbaum

        What? You didn’t like Richards, Stark, and Pym acting like evil Nazi scientists? C’mon it had McNiven on art…

        but seriously, yeah, Civil War was horrible. To this day I don’t think I’ve ever read anything with such awful and frequent mischaracterization. I will never understand the love for it.

        • Guest

          It was REALLY entertaining.

          • For some reason this didn’t come out as me, but I loved Civil War. Sure it has flaws and is ridiculous, but come on. It was so damn fun, and it was a huge thrill when it was coming out in a way events rarely are any more.

            • Patrick Gizinski

              I remember reading the conclusion to Civil War before going to one of my college courses and when my professor asked why I was late. I gave her the honest truth. She didn’t understand.

            • The first (only! I mean only!) time I ever…downloaded a comic was Civil War #4, and it was because my shop was shorted all copies of it. I couldn’t imagine waiting any longer to read it, so I had to take the plunge. I was 22 and reading a comic was the closest thing to Christmas morning when I was 6 that I could get.

            • Patrick Gizinski

              Where have all the good times gone!!!!! We don’t read em like we used to!

        • Patrick Gizinski

          I re-read it recently. It wasn’t so out of character when you factor in a lot of the tie in and build up. Even Tony and Reed themselves said they didn’t necessarily like the SHRA but they did it because of the fact they saw the possible negative outcome that would come if they opposed it.

          But that was the problem with Civil War. It relied SO heavily on tie ins and other books.

          • Richenbaum

            No, come on. Building a crazy, sentient Thor clone? Mind controlling all the super-villains to fight for them with nanites? Dumping all the heroes in Negative Zone-GITMO with no trials? There’s no rationalizing those actions.

            • I … think all of those were pretty well rationalized in the comics, all things considered. I mean, I hate to be the guy supporting totalitarianism, but in the context of the series a lot of this makes sense for the characters that go all in for it (especially when you remember folks like Richards and Stark formed a group called the Illuminati to secretly police/protect the world).

              For one, Thor was dead and they wanted to have someone around with his power; crazy was accidental. The super-villain thing, IIRC, wasn’t so much a mind control deal as it was a co-opt of the Thunderbolts name into a work release program. As for the Negative Zone GITMO, I mean, we did that in real life — the leaders of the “free world”, supposed ‘good guys’, did this in actuality, so of course superheroes can find a way to do the same as a not-so-subtle extended metaphor in an already politically charged series.

            • Patrick Gizinski

              Damn…you got it out before I finished typing, but yeah we’re on the same page.

            • Patrick Gizinski

              Thunderbolts weren’t really mind controlled, more just had restrictions. And we’ve enlisted criminals and diabolical people within our government before (Nazi scientist working for NASA?), hell, the United States gave weapons to people like Osama Bin Laden to help fight what were our enemies at the time.

              When you consider that people like Tony and Reed formed the Illuminati, proclaimed themselves the protectors of Earth behind everyone’s back. Launched the Hulk into space. Attacked the Skrull armada without people knowing and then eventually ended up wiping Cap’s mind. And if you’re saying that a scientist when given the opportunity to build a weapon to help fight for the betterment of what he thinks is right, wouldn’t do so? Then you haven’t been paying attention to history. Characterization wasn’t spot on, but I’d say it wasn’t far off from being realistic.

              The prison thing I can understand what your’e saying. I agree they’d break out of a normal prison, but they could have easily came up with something like inhibitor chips or collars (which they’ve used on villains) to put them in another prison, built under the sea like the one that contained Punisher.

              Believe me I was far and away from supporting Tony but I could see where they got his decision from.

            • You and me, Patrick. You and me against the world.

            • Richenbaum

              See, the thing is though, no one is talking about how “their actions weren’t realistic when compared to the political decisions of real life governments in the past”. You’re arguing against a point I never made.

              but if you really think that having nanites put in your brain against your will that will electrocute you if you don’t do what the controller wants isn’t a form of mind control and that making a remote controlled clone of your dead best friend is on par with building a righteous weapon in the name of freedom…and don’t see anything seriously wrong with actions like that? Well…I guess I don’t really have anything else nice to say.

            • It’s not about those actions NOT being “seriously wrong.” They’re VERY wrong! The superheroes WERE the bad guys. But, the comics offer justification for why the heroes would go along with otherwise OOC actions — that’s the point both Patrick and I are making. But in context of the story and everything that lead up to it, particularly with Iron Man becoming Director of SHIELD, it makes a lot of sense why the characters would walk down a dark path and do weird and otherwise awful things.

            • Richenbaum

              I get it, I just don’t agree with it. Like Patrick just said up there, they could have solved the prison issue just fine in a much better way. They could have dealt with everything they did in much better ways in general couldn’t they? Are we to believe that Richards, Stark, and Pym couldn’t come up with anything less insane and sick than what they did when random dude on the internet can solve it better in 30 seconds? and there was no government employee standing behind them with guns to their heads forcing them to do things that way. They came up with those ideas all on their own.

            • Heh. Well, one, no they didn’t — I feel like I say this a lot, but again, not to be that guy but it’s a comic book; someone wrote the ideas in their heads because they’re not real. But that brings me to my second point, which is that if what you are suggesting was what happened, then there’s no story to begin with! No drama, no tension, no inter-personal conflict worth reading about. I wouldn’t read your story, no offense, because there’s no story to read; but I did read “Civil War” because these moments push the characters in ways that were intriguing and dynamic and bombastic and a bit insane but otherwise gripping and entertaining.

              And, I mean, maybe it would’ve been better if there was no “Civil War”. If the story never happened, if Marvel had did something else entirely as an event. But that’s a different conversation.

            • Richenbaum

              b…b…but I worked so hard on that story…

            • Patrick Gizinski

              I will also say that, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. A lot of times in history – people will do bad things, things they normally wouldn’t do in times of great distress because they believe the ends will justify the means. Sure that’s real life compared to fiction, but fiction. But what is fiction if not reflections of real life situations.

            • Richenbaum

              but seriously…I have no problem with the core concept, I just didn’t like the execution at all, personally. When Hickman, for example, takes these same characters and puts them in morally questionable situations, he really sells it and makes it apparent that these guys are having trouble making these decisions and rationalizing them. They’re doing it for the greater good, but they’re feeling awful about it and questioning themselves and each other. On the other hand, Millar wrote the pro-reg people in Civil War as just flat out villains. They went full on mad scientist and didn’t seem to care one damn bit about how horrible the things they were doing were (maybe in some of the tie-ins they did, but not in the main book.). They might as well have just been robots chanting JOIN US, WE ARE RIGHT. I just think it was lazy writing, and that’s typical modern-day Millar for you, spectacle before characters. It just didn’t work for me. I can only agree…to disagree. *shrug* I’ll get over it.

            • “Spectacle before characters” sums it up great, man. I don’t disagree at all. “Style over substance” is something I’ve accused Millar of for a while now.

              Thaaaaaat said, I would say that one of the reasons that Hickman’s morally ambiguous characters works is because Millar wrote them as batshit insane. We have seen what it is like for heroes to just go full evil, and we have seen them wrestle with the consequences of that in follow-up books for years. The characters that Hickman writes have been through to those dark corners before, so Hickman can portray them as characters who understand there is a line there and what happens to them when they cross them.

              I guess what I’m saying is… You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both. And then? You have the facts of life. The facts… of *life.*

            • Patrick Gizinski

              I do agree, Hickman writes the controversy and hard decisions SO much better. And Millar is definitely a spectacle before characterization.

              In a little bit of defense to Millar. Hickman has had how many issues to flesh out all these things though. Millar had to do it in 7.

            • Drew Bradley

              ” the Illuminati stuff hadn’t happened yet back then. ”

              It had, in a one shot. It also set up Planet Hulk.

            • Richenbaum

              “95% of the Illuminati stuff hadn’t happened yet back then, except that one one-shot where they sat around talking about the superhuman registration act”

              feel better?

            • Richenbaum

              Sorry if I got a little dick-ish there too. I try to contain myself, but feel free to tell me to relax in the future if I start getting over-excited again. Good talk everyone.

            • Patrick Gizinski

              No worries at all! This whole conversation actually made me feel like it was 2006 again. I remember having these same talks and debates when the comic was coming out. It’s good that stories can get someone this passionate, liking or disliking it.

    • Patrick Gizinski

      I’ll like this more if it was a loose adaption contained withing Cap 3. I don’t want another super cross movie build up.

      I’ve read it will apparently be the beginning but then outstretch into other properties bringing in Ant Man and Dr. Strange alike.

      The questions I have is: Infinity Gauntlet/Thanos? Is that the threat that brings them together?

      And given the events that have transpired and how characters have been written I can’t see anyone outside of Rhodey and maybe Hawkeye being okay with Registration. I’m guessing the SHRA is more for enlisting with the government more than secret identities since no one in the MCU really has a secret identity.

      • My understanding, which may be flawed, is that Cap 3 would be a self-contained Civil War and everything falling out of it would feed off the conflict between Cap and Iron Man. My ideal scenario is Cap 3 ending with Cap going to jail in a fight for freedom, which would bring to a close a lot of the thematic elements of the Cap movies so far, and then in Avengers 3 Thanos would strike for the big Infinity Gauntlet crossover, resulting in Cap and Iron Man being forced to work together again and then Cap dying at the end so Bucky could take over. This would help the Avengers get a nice trilogy, close out Phase 3 in a rather potent and emotional way, and allow for Phase 4 to find Marvel starting over with new heroes in new franchises or younger ones like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange getting bigger parts.

        But that’s just my two cents on what to do. There are lots of possible and interesting ways they could do it.

        • Kwesi Brako

          …. Why do you want Cap to die, Matt?? WHY?!? I hope your morbid heart gets broken by Feige and that Evans continues in the role! #IWantCap9

          • Because I’m a monster!

            • Kwesi Brako

              Dude… do I have to send an angry old berserker guy back to the past to give you hope again?? Cos I frackin will!!!! (sorry been watching a lot of Battlestar Galactica and DoFP lately)

            • HA! I’m not *that* big a monster — so say we all.

              But, honestly: I think Cap’s death could have a lot of positive emotional impact on the films. Not for nothing, and I enjoy them a lot, but they’re kind of stagnant in a sense; they’re not completely homogenized and each one has been fun to watch and rewatch, but you do kind of accept that at the end of the day the good guys win. So what if they didn’t? What if the good guys lost, and it was their own fault? Imagine the dramatic potential that actors like RDJ could bring to that kind of story. It’d be so palpable you’d watch the movie in 4D.

            • Kwesi Brako

              I mean… your argument is not without merit and I am somewhat annoyed that I don’t currently have a comeback to it. But here’s my thing, if a major character dies in the next few films…. I need for that character to stay dead! Else the death loses its impact, much like character death’s have in comics (speaking of which where the frack is Damian Wayne??). And honestly speaking, I love Chris Evans as Cap far too much for that to be him.

            • That’s exactly why it HAS to be him: you love him too much 🙂

            • Patrick Gizinski

              I’m curious though. Wouldn’t Iron Man be the more emotional death? Yeah WE love Chris Evans Cap. But isn’t the audience more in love with Iron Man? Isn’t he the “star” of the Marvel movies? It could also throw a curve ball to all those comic fans that think they know what’s coming.

            • Depends on the context of the film. If we’re doing Civil War, then Cap’s death is largely symbolic. He stands up for freedom of all kinds and is shot down by an oppressive government and a totalitarian. People may like RDJ and Iron Man, but we will get more out of the death of the guy called “Captain America”

            • Kwesi Brako

              Update: You are *that* big a monster, Meylikhov!
              You just wanna see Cap die regardless… you’re relentless!

            • VJ_Ostrowski

              Plus, if it’s the result of something Tony Stark supported, that makes for juicy heel-turny goodness for Marvel’s billion dollar man. Cap’s death would break our hearts, but Stark’s involvement maybe even more so.

            • Kwesi Brako

              In terms of age, and lets face it money, it makes more sense for it to be Tony Stark tbh. His mileage is getting way up there now…

            • Kwesi Brako

              RDJ is getting on a bit, although personally I don’t see why his age is a factor when you consider that the Iron Man armor does the heavy lifting and doesn’t actually require him to do anything excessive. What about RDJ dying in Avengers 3, and getting cloned by Banner and Fitz; enter Dominic Cooper as young clone Anthony Stark!

            • Patrick Gizinski

              My head hurt after reading that last sentence.

        • Patrick Gizinski

          Honestly, out of everything I see possibly happening in my head. This is would be the best outcome. Avengers 3 needs to be some sort of loose conclusion to the first series of movies they’ve built up.

          How long can Civil War and this potential storyline go on for? The whole Avengers crew is getting pretty expensive to cast.

    • Patrick Gizinski

      Marvel should save the money they were going to pay Downey, and put it to use towards buying back the FF properties if that movie bombs.

      Then I can finally get my damn Annihilation movie.

      • Richenbaum

        WHEN that movie bombs 😉

        • Patrick Gizinski

          Ya know, I was going to put “When” but I’ve eaten my words before. Am I hoping it bombs? Yes. Why? See my original post about Annihilation movie.

    • John Mosher

      Civil War?
      I avoided all the comics because that concept is almost as lame as DC continually showing local, state and federal governments cutting major cities loose whenever a terrorist shows up.
      Guess I’ll be saving a lot of money not going to Marvel movies anymore. Which is sad because that was the only thing left that I thought they were doing well.

    • Drew Bradley

      I expect a good movie from this. I’ll be interested to see if/how it ties into the Thanos story they’ve been building.