For instance, when Tony Stark sat down with Black Widow and Nick Fury in a diner in Iron Man 2, we had no idea how deep and fleshed out his connection to S.H.I.E.L.D. would ultimately become; we knew The Avengers was coming, but not the form it would take. When Bucky Barnes was essentially cast aside in Captain America: The First Avenger we didn't know Marvel was going to move forward with the Winter Soldier storyline. When New York City was attacked in The Avengers we didn't yet know that it would lead to Stark's creation of Ultron in an attempt to safeguard humanity against cosmic threats. These are all storylines that existed in Marvel, but which weren't obvious directions for the MCU until films and plots were actually announced.
This May's Captain America: Civil War looks to be the biggest Marvel film since Age Of Ultron, if not The Avengers. But what kind of seeds will it be planting for the busy years ahead in the MCU? Part of the fun is that we really just don't know, but here are five ideas for what the Civil War action could mean for the future.
1. Man Down
One of the biggest rumors surrounding Civil War is that a major character will probably be killed off. Indeed, it seems a little far-fetched for the studio to produce a movie like this without any casualties, and anything less than the elimination of a character we genuinely care about might seem like a cop-out. The hottest prospect is Don Cheadle's War Machine, because, as Moviepilot pointed out in an extensive analysis of the possibility, it looks like we actually see him dead in one of the trailers.
But do you really think Marvel would show its hand like that? If someone's going to die it's probably not going to be the character they intentionally led everyone to speculate about. Either way, though, a major death would be the biggest headline from Civil War and would set up all kinds of new possibilities for the future. For instance, if it is War Machine, could we soon see Spider-Man step into the Iron Spider suit as Iron Man's new primary sidekick? If it's Captain America... well, more on that below.
2. A New S.H.I.E.L.D. Director
S.H.I.E.L.D. has basically crumbled away in recent MCU films, and in Civil War we'll see the very idea of organisational control of superhero activity called into question. The interesting thing is the idea that Iron Man and the pro-Superhuman Registration Act team actually wins the Civil War, despite this being a Captain America movie. That would theoretically mean a new structure of regulation for superheroes and could lead to the rebirth of S.H.I.E.L.D. An interesting article by Den Of Geek even points out that there's some precedent from the comics for Tony Stark becoming the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., which would certainly be a possibility for future films if he wins the war in this one.
3. A New Cap
Regarding character deaths, it could be Captain America. Chris Evans is still signed on through Infinity War 2, but take that with a grain of salt—it could easily be for flashbacks and the like if he is to be eliminated in Civil War. Such an ending would be in line with some comic storylines, and would set up one pretty logical progression for future films: the introduction of a new Captain America, likely either Anthony Mackie's Falcon or Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier.
One thing to keep an eye on in the final weeks leading up to the film, with regard to this possibility: Marvel's apps. In particular, Kabam's popular game has frequently dropped in new characters and missions as clues or accompaniments to cinematic developments. The game already has multiple versions of a Captain America character, and the introduction of a Bucky Barnes Cap would be telling.
Excitement about Spider-Man's appearance in the MCU for the first time in Civil War has been so intense that people have completely overlooked how this happened. Basically, Marvel Studios and Sony reached a deal to cooperate on the cinematic license to the character. And that's a very important precedent, particularly for a treasure trove of 20th Century Fox-owned X-Men characters Marvel would love to get its hands on.
In particular, Hugh Jackman has indicated in the past that he'd love to see studios cooperate to inject his Wolverine character into the MCU. While this still seems like a long shot, there's one curious indication that it may be on Marvel's mind. A Marvel Roulette game among the Betfair casino tables notably features Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man and Wolverine on its cover. It could very well be that an arcade roulette game meant to capture the interest of players who enjoy Marvel comics, but as mentioned Marvel has become known for hinting at film developments through its games, albeit primarily in the mobile category. It's unlikely, but could Spider-Man's first swing in the MCU plant the seed for a Wolverine introduction?
5. Netflix Crossovers
Suffice it to say that after the popularity of series like Jessica Jones and Daredevil, one of the coolest options for an unannounced appearance or secret ending in Civil War would be for one of these shows' main characters to be involved. Don't rule out that possibility for the film. And if it happens, don't rule out future crossovers between the cinematic MCU and the Netflix branch in the near future.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.