Caution: Possible Spoilers Ahead for Marvel’s CIVIL WAR!

Last week, amidst DC’s major Justice League announcements, Marvel announced that Captain America 3 would follow their 2006-07 Civil War comic plotline. The huge announcement echoed throughout fandom for some reasons. Most noteworthy, the return of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Iron Man will square off against Chris Evans’ Captain America. But, with a comic deeply rooted in the totality of the Marvel Universe, does the Cinematic Universe have what it takes to pull it off?

Marvel’s Civil War Comic Storyline

For those of us who aren’t aware, Civil War is a major Marvel Comics event that affected nearly every superhero on Earth. Long after the story finished, the consequences mattered. The plot centers around Iron Man and Captain America. They find themselves on opposite sides of the fence when the government mandates superhuman registration. The Superhuman Registration Act attempts to control superheroes as agents of the government, rather than free agents. While Iron Man sees the benefits of this, Captain America, the voice of the people, fights for individual freedom and identity.

This divide ultimately culminates in a huge free-for-all in Times Square, pitting hero and allies against hero and allies. To say it is epic understates the consequences dearly. However, a large part of the epic nature of the story lies in the sheer number of heroes involved. Who will Marvel have available by the time Captain America 3 comes out?


Marvel’s Superheroes (and Villains) in 2016

It is important to remember that there are three different groups present in the Civil War storyline: The Pro-Registration and Anti-Registration teams, of course, are two of these. The third is a group of villains that have been released under the careful watch of S.H.I.E.L.D. to help bring in some of the heroes they previously faced. This group is known as the Thunderbolts, and their presence is just as important as the two major parties, as it shows the depths to which Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. are willing to sink to get their way. So, who do we have for each group?

Avengers Movies

The main bulk of heroes and villains will come from the Avengers movie series. Which of these are going to appear, though, and who can we expect not to see?


On the heroes side of things, the Avengers movies have introduced quite a number of characters. Of course, there’s Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Captain America. Adding in S.H.I.E.L.D. agents gives us Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill. Avengers 2, which will arrive a year before Captain America 3, will introduce Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, as well as Vision. War Machine is also supposed to appear in Avengers 2. We also have Falcon from Captain America 2 and Ant-Man from his upcoming movie.


You might argue that we also have Starlord, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy, but Civil War is a much more Earth-centered event and not one that the Guardians would necessarily invest in. The same goes for Sif, Heimdall, and the rest of the Asgardians.

Read on to find out about the evil characters we might see!


The Avengers movie series has also given us quite a few bad guys, though many of them were killed off in the movies. Permanent deaths never happen in comics. So why should we assume the movies will contain a set of different rules?

Iron Man gave us Ironmonger, Whiplash, and Aldritch Killian. However, only Whiplash seems to be in any shape to appear on a Thunderbolts squad. The police arrested Justin Hammer, another Iron Man villain, but his presence on a Thunderbolts team wouldn’t make sense. Mandarin, who “Hail to the King” confirmed is a real character, would also not appear on the Thunderbolts team.


Ultron, fresh off of Avengers 2, will probably not make an appearance in Captain America 3. We can also count out Loki, Thanos, Nebula, Ronan, and Malekith, whose interests, again, lie off of Earth, at least, for the time being.

The rest of our possible villains come from Ant-Man, Incredible Hulk, and Captain America. It is possible that we’ll see Thunderbolt Ross take control of the team in some respect. We know from “The Consultant” one-shot that Ross has access to Blonsky, the Abomination. We also know S.H.I.E.L.D. once recruited the Abomination instead of Hulk. This sounds like a perfect set-up for at least two members of the Thunderbolts team. Also, we haven’t seen any signs of The Leader since Incredible Hulk teased him. It’s not likely that his first appearance will be in Captain America 3, but I would like to see him make a return soon.

Marvel's CIVIL WAR

Thanks for the Bad Guys

Yellowjacket actually plays a pretty large role in things in the comics (Hank Pym is Yellowjacket in the Civil War comics, but Yellowjacket is a separate character in the movies- unless they do something similar to Fight Club and have Yellowjacket be another persona of Ant-Man), helping to develop the prison for those who do not comply with the registration. I imagine that this wouldn’t be too hard to make happen in the movies, as well, and since he’s being introduced to us in Ant-Man, we could very well see it happen.

Captain America has given us quite a few bad guys, including Arnim Zola, Red Skull, Crossbones, Batroc the Leaper, Wolfgang Von Strucker, and Winter Soldier. Of these, we can almost immediately count out Strucker, Zola, and Winter Soldier. Since S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t have access to any of these characters (Winter Soldier and Strucker are still free), Batroq, Crossbones, and Red Skull are the only three that are unaccounted for. Crossbones will almost certainly be playing a major role in everything, though in the comics, he’s not a Thunderbolt.  Either way, he plays a HUGE part at the end of Civil War. I could see a minor character like Batroq returning for a movie. It would be kind of fun to see that happen. Red Skull’s return seems long overdue, but I doubt it happens in a Civil War story.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel's CIVIL WAR II: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

As far as the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes, we can almost certainly expect a crossover, but I doubt we’ll see the agents as split as the heroes on this decision. It will be an interesting way to shake things up if the producers do decide that’s an avenue to pursue, though. AoS probably won’t have too much impact on the movie, but there are a few characters who could bridge the gap. Most notable is Deathlok, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing him in Captain America 3, to be honest.

Netflix Defenders Series

Let’s not forget that Marvel and Netflix are releasing four new series in the next few years, also, leading up to a Defenders miniseries. Is it possible we’ll see any of these characters make it to the movies? Possibly.

We’re going to have Luke Cage, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones in these series, and these are all heroes that use a secret identity (unlike most of the Avengers characters we’ve seen). I think that it would make a lot of sense, therefore, to use these characters to show up and backup Cap in his third movie.

As far as villains go, we don’t know much about these shows yet, but we do know that Kingpin and The Owl will be making appearances. Is it possible that either of them will be in the Thunderbolts? In Kingpin’s case, probably not but in the case of the Owl, it is possible. We simply don’t have enough information to go on at this point.

Marvel's CIVIL WAR comics. The Defenders.

Agent Carter

As of right now, there is too little information about Agent Carter to be able to deduce any characters that might be able to bridge the gap between the show and the movies.

Speculatory Characters

Confirmed characters aside, there are several other rumored characters would be usable in a Civil War movie.

The first of these is Spider-Man, who formerly reveals his secret identity, siding with the Registration. However, he eventually switches sides when he realizes the error of his ways. It’s a huge moment for Spider-Man, and for Tony Stark, who’d been fostering a friendship with Parker. Now, we already know that Parker exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as revealed on a S.H.I.E.L.D. satellite image), but what matters most is whether or not Sony is going to sit on the rights to the character. Lots of rumors have been flying around that the two companies are trying to reach an agreement, and if they could, that would be quite the game-changer. Suddenly, his villains become accessible as well, and we could see a Thunderbolts team that utilizes Venom and other Spidey characters.

Marvel's CIVIL WAR comics.


It turns out this speculation was correct, and Spider-Man will be joining the MCU!  The timing of the negotiations and announcement pretty much guarantee he’ll be in Captain America: Civil War!

There have also been a number of rumors surrounding the possibility of She-Hulk appearing in Avengers 2, which would also add another Anti-Registration hero to the mix. Similar stories have been in the air about Mockingbird and Ms. Marvel.

Now that we know which characters are available, who can we expect to see?


To help break down the above text, here’s a comprehensive list of heroes and villains that might show up in a Civil War movie:

Pro-Registration: Nine Heroes

Iron Man- the only character who is going to be pro-registration.  He is the main supporter of the registration in the comics and been announced as the main opposing force (it’s hard to call him a villain) in Captain America 3.

Black Widow

As an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., she will probably be pro-registration, as she was in the comic storyline.


As an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., he will likely be pro-registration, although he didn’t play a colossal part in the comic storyline.

War Machine

As a member of the armed forces, it’s hard to imagine he would be anything but pro-registration if he makes an appearance at all.


In the comics, a Thor clone is pro-registration. The movies may shy away from Thor making an appearance at all, but if he does, it would be groundbreaking. More on this later.

Maria Hill

She’s the one in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. when the registration occurs, so the fact that she’s in the movies has been kind of setting the Civil War up for a while now.


As an AI programmed by Tony Stark in the upcoming Avengers 2 movie, I imagine he’d stick with Tony on this one.


If he’s in this movie, then he’s going to at least start on the pro-registration side.


She-Hulk was pro-registration in the comics. If they introduce her, she’ll probably be pro-registration in the movie, too.

Ms. Marvel

Another unconfirmed character.  If she exists, she could follow the pro-registration path, as she did in the comics.

Marvel's CIVIL WAR II comics.

Anti-Registration: Eight Heroes

Captain America

The only character who is going to be anti-registration.  He is the leading anti-registration supporter, behind whom the other heroes rally.  Since Civil War is supposed to kick off in Captain America 3. We can expect to see Cap make an appearance.  Or be in the whole movie.


He could go either way, but I’d like to believe that he’d follow Cap. Plus, though he is a member of the armed forces, he’s the only person we’ve seen have a separate civilian life. However, in the comics, he’s pro-registration, so it’s possible that’ll hold true in the movie.


He was anti-registration in the comics (As Erin Grady), so I assume he’d follow that in the movie.  Also, if Yellowjacket (who is not Hank Pym or Ant-Man) is helping out the pro-registration side of things, then he’s got a little more incentive to oppose Tony and his allies.


He was anti-registration in the comics, and it seems like he and his sister, Scarlet Witch, have been hiding their powers already.

Scarlet Witch

See above.


As a street-level character in a Netflix show, his role in the movie might end up being a cameo, if anything at all, but I think it would be a great opportunity to unite the mediums.

Luke Cage

One of the big players on the anti-registration team in the comics, it would be great to see him playing this role on the big screen.

Iron Fist

If Daredevil and Luke Cage are there, Iron Fist probably will be, too.

Thunderbolts: Seven Villains

Marvel's CIVIL WAR in comics. Bullseye.

Thunderbolt Ross

As the General who retains control of Blonsky, it makes sense for him to control the team. It reminds me of Suicide Squad’s Amanda Waller.


If Ross is in, it would only be because they need Abomination.


At the end of Civil War, this character assassinates Captain America, leading to a search to replace the hero.  He will almost definitely be doing this, as he was introduced in Captain America 2.  However, Chris Evans stars in another movie. His contract extends after Captain America 2, so we probably won’t see that assassination until Avengers 3.


If only because it would be fun to see the character come back in a bigger capacity, I’m adding him to the list. He was also a Thunderbolt in the comics.


Can you imagine a scene in which Iron Man asks Whiplash for help? Since Whiplash was a Thunderbolt in the comics, this is a scene we could actually see in Captain America 3.


In the comics, this role is filled Hank Pym, who helps Reed Richards build a super prison, so it’s hard to say if the movie version of this character is more likely to appear as a pro-registration supporter or as a Thunderbolt.  Either way, he’ll probably make an appearance.

The Owl

This is a complete shot in the dark, and probably won’t be true.


If we get Spider-Man, I’d hope we’d get Venom, too.

What Not to Expect

There’s a lot of heroes and villains that we definitely won’t see. Most of the characters from the original storyline haven’t been introduced to the film franchise yet, or, actually, into any part of the MCU. Notable among these are: Mr. Fantastic, The Human Torch, Speedball/Penance (which is a shame, because that character arc is very interesting), Cloak and Dagger, and Goliath. Each of these plays a major part in the comic story, but will probably be absent from the movie.  We can also expect not to see Hulk, as rumors say that he’ll likely be launched into space at the end of Avengers 2, leading into the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Marvel's CIVIL WAR comics.

Looking Forward: What this means for Hulk, Captain America, and Iron Man

The Civil War movie announcement was right on the heels of Marvel announcing that its comics would be revisiting the storyline. This will make the movie the 4th version of the story. The original series, the video game, the rebooted series, and the movie precede it. Some have wondered why the story revisited in the comics so soon after its initial run. I think the most obvious reason for this is to give the creative minds at Marvel a chance to play with their available roster before scripting the movie.

Without the Fantastic Four, a lot of the events surrounding Civil War are going to need rewriting. Without a huge universe of heroes that hide their civilian faces, the privacy of the heroes isn’t as much of an issue. Other changes that may occur include the initial cause of the Registration Act: an explosion of a villain accidentally set off by Speedball vs the activation of Ultron, which nearly destroys humanity (presumably).

What Else?

The other thing that I’m particularly curious about is whether Civil War squeezes itself into one movie, or if Captain America 3 will lead into Avengers 3.  Considering the rumors that say Avengers 3 will be part of a 2-part film, as well as the fact that Chris Evans has another movie on his contract after Captain America 3, I’m hoping we get to see Civil War really explored in Avengers 3.  Up to this point, it had been rumored that Avengers 3 would link itself to Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which would show us the Infinity Gauntlet battles with Thanos, but I think we have a lot more characters to introduce before that happens.  My guess is Thanos, and the Infinity Gauntlet won’t be wrapped up until Avengers 4, if not a little later, considering the possibility of more of Marvel’s better-known storylines.

Hulk, You Say?

Also announced to be revisited in the comics is the Planet Hulk storyline. Again, considering that Reed Richards was one of the people who helped launch Hulk off of Earth, this makes sense to be revisited IF they want to use the storyline in a movie sans Reed Richards. This has been the rumor, saying that Hulk launches at the end of Avengers 2, and play some part in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Since Hulk wasn’t part of the Civil War in the original comic story, the timing would work wonderfully.

Hulk in Marvel's CIVIL WAR comics.

Does this mean, then, that we can expect Guardians of the Galaxy 2 to follow the Planet Hulk arc? It is certainly possible. This would also set up for the epic World War Hulk story to be adapted for the screen as well. The extra time between Captain America 3 and a potential World War Hulk movie would also give more time to introduce Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and others. Whether or not Iron Man will still be around is anyone’s guess. Due to Robert Downey Jr’s involvement and nearly constant rumors that he won’t be returning, anyone’s guess is good.  Fans of the Marvel comics know that Iron Man becomes head of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a while there. Therefore, it’ll be interesting to see what that means for the MCU.

Also recently announced for Marvel’s comic series are a new House of M story, another Infinity Gauntlet visit, and an Armor Wars story- all reimaginings of previously successful stories. With at least Infinity Gauntlet being a story that will strongly influence the movie universe, it’s hard not to wonder what will happen with House of M and Armor Wars. However, before we worry about the X-Men, there’s another Avenger whose story has a lot of potential from the Civil War development.

The Possibilities for Thor

Thor’s role in the Civil War is an absorbing one. It’s why his involvement in the movie is one of my biggest questions right now. Chris Hemsworth hasn’t confirmed his role for Captain America 3. The Civil War storyline also feels too big of a plot to do in only one movie. Is it possible that Civil War spills into Avengers 3? Maybe. I hope so, if only for Thor’s involvement.

In the original comic storyline, Thor is a clone engineered by S.H.I.E.L.D. to help fight the anti-registration heroes. He ends up killing Goliath.

Apply a similar plot to the movie, and let’s speculate on what could happen.

If Thor kills an innocent hero who merely stands up for what is right, he loses the moral virtue allowing him to carry the hammer. Perhaps he’s no longer worthy.

Perhaps There’s a Female Somewhere That is.

Marvel has a great system in place if they try things from the comics before adapting them to movies. I don’t think any hero plotline would drive consumer interest more than replacing Chris Hemsworth with a female Thor. The character is already incredibly popular, and people have been asking for a female Avengers solo movie for years. Perhaps this is the opportunity Marvel needs to make a solo female film a reality.

Female Thor in Marvel's CIVIL WAR II?

Final Thoughts

While this article provides plenty of history about the movies, comics, and tv shows, at this point, most of this is speculation. However, you can be sure that we here at ComicsVerse will keep you up-to-date on any developments.

What do you think? Will Marvel’s Civil War work on the film? Is it possible to squeeze into one movie? Who do you expect to appear?

Let us know in the comments!

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