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.)