The original Civil War story
With 2016's Captain America 3 having the title 'Civil War' a lot of speculation has been over exactly how close the film would be to Mark Millar's comic run it would be.
The comic series introduced the Superhero Registration Act and a divide in the superhero community. Each character in the Marvel Universe had to pick a side; were there loyalties with Captain America or Iron Man?
Tony Stark wanted to encourage the public's support in their heroes by having all super-powered combatants register with the Government. Steve Rogers stood for the freedom to do 'good' without having to sacrifice your identity. Every man and woman had to decide, creating friction in marriages (Reed and Sue Richards) and having publicised 'unmaskings' (Spiderman unveiling).
The problems doing this in the MCU
A great premise for the Marvel Comic-verse, expertly written by Mark Millar and beautifully drawn by Steve McNiven. BUT.......has the Marvel Cinematic Universe really matured enough to undertake such a story? In my opinion....no. And there are far too many missing components in the MCU to be able to follow with any accuracy what the comic series did. Here are just a few.....
- The New Warriors don't even exist. We've only just Assembled [The Avengers](movie:9040)! The New Warriors were responsible for the iconic tragedy at the very beginning- igniting the Registration Act and the whole story arc. Now, granted, a different event could take place to initiate the War so I'll move on to point two.
- There just aren't enough heroes yet. I could probably list about ten in the MCU....and '5-a-side' is a small football match with the guys from down the pub....not a 'war'.
- There aren't any vigilante heroes who even wear a mask! Save for the newly-welcomed back Spiderman. And maybe [Daredevil](movie:47230) if they decide to pull him into the films that soon. But still, for the sake of potentially two masked heroes, the Avengers are willing to fall apart and break out into full blown war? No.
- The sides would be totally unbalanced. Here's the scenario.....a World War II living legend dressed in a flag asks you to ally yourself with him. So does the guy sipping martinis who was solely responsible for letting Ultron loose on the world. Yeah. Exactly. In the comics, Tony's main allies were Reed Richards, Hank Pym and Carol Danvers. Reed doesn't exist in the MCU, Hank does (or will do by that point) but he's not going to be on the front line. And I can't imagine Carol being introduced that soon (though I hope I'm wrong).
- It is still a Captain America film. It is not an Avengers film. Steve needs to be the central character to this film and a Civil War copy would just involve too many 'moving parts' with too many characters needing their little story told too. This needs to be kept personal; between Tony and Steve, with Hawkeye, the Winter Soldier, Black Widow and any other supporting cast being exactly that - in support.
So what then?
Looking at the evidence we have seen so far....(the trailers, the clips, the tweets and the direction we know the MCU is going in)....I believe the Hulk will be central to the whole story. The debate over what to do with the Hulk will be what sparks the War. I think we're looking at a mashup of the original Civil War comic line and the beginnings of World War Hulk!
In [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) trailers we've seen, the Hulk Buster takes on the Hulk (possessed/brain washed by the Scarlet Witch). So far, Bruce Banner has had a handle on it. But the Hulk is a temperamental beast at the best of times....and if Bruce loses control of the Hulk, if only for a short time, can he ever fully recover? Will the Witch's mind control leave ongoing problems for Banner? The battle with the Hulk Buster could very well be towards the end of the film, or at least, as far as the Hulk is concerned. We even see in some scenes a visibly shaken Mark Ruffalo stumbling his way through snowy woods. And cowering on the floor of the Quinjet. This doesn't look like the sort of trauma Bruce is easily going to recover from. Has he started to lose his control of the Big Green because of the Scarlet Witch's meddling? The control Bruce has over the Hulk has been through a lot of experience, meditation and time. And it's still fragile. Can Bruce recover from such an invasion of his mind?
The Hulk can be sidelined for the remainder of Age of Ultron while they take down the titular villain. The Hulk issue can then be picked up again in Captain America 3; where the heroes have to decide how best to deal with the situation. And so, we end up with our World War Hulk origins. With Tony feeling guilty for his Ultron Program blunder, he proposes an exaggerated method of dealing with the Hulk.....firing him into space. Obviously, the Captain is against the idea and they end up fighting.
Now, this could also be a very one-sided argument. Not many would side themselves with Tony and his over-the-top solution....unless the solution isn't so far-fetched. Hulk is, after all, the strongest there is. His power is limitless and the angrier he gets, the stronger he becomes. If such power couldn't be harnessed any longer, the Avengers would need to properly manage the situation....and the solution required might have to be drastic.
Also, what if the "death death death" that Joss Whedon has threatened in AofU is actually caused by the Rage Monster himself? Where would allegiances fall if the Hulk was responsible for the death (or at least serious injury) of a fellow Avenger? Or innocent civilians? The fallout from Age of Ultron may encourage some to want rid of the Hulk for personal reasons.
And this problem would explain why T'Challa is brought into the fray. After all, how would you contain the Hulk for the remainder of Age of Ultron while he recovers? A vibranium cell. That's where. And so Civil War would require many scenes to be taken place in Wakanda with the involvement of the Black Panther. T'Challa is always wary about getting involved in the politics of the 'outside world'. His only priority is the safety and security of Wakanda and his people; if he leaves everyone else alone, they'll leave him and Wakanda alone. So I always thought it would be strange for the Black Panther to be so involved in next year's Civil War. Tony and Steve's disagreement would not even interest the King of Wakanda unless there was something that forcibly dragged him into the conflict. Having the source of their spat kept at his home would be a plausible reason.
So, Captain America 3. They argue. They fight. And inevitably, the Hulk is shot into space. This leads nicely into....
Guardians of the Galaxy 2. This has been speculated before...but this is starting to make sense now. James Gunn has even tweeted that his sequel will involve his 'favourite character' from the Marvel Universe. Could that be the Hulk?
And with the Hulk in space, will he return to Earth for Infinity War? I'm not so sure. Yes, he will be missed, but it's not like Earth will be short of heroes without him. After all, we'll have the additions of Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Ant Man, Black Panther and all our Netflix friends by then. I reckon he'll miss that one out. As sad as it will be to not see 'Hulk smash puny Titan' I think Marvel will be playing the 'long game'. After all, how do you follow up from Thanos?! Simple, bring in the World Breaker.
A Planet Hulk film could be included in Marvel's Phase 4; leading into a future Avengers: World War Hulk film. That would be something epic.
I think this would be a great arc for Mark Ruffalo too. We'd see Bruce and the Hulk evolve throughout this whole process, something we haven't had a chance to see yet like we have done with the Holy Trinity of Cap, Thor and Iron Man in each of their solo films. The character would grow, a Planet Hulk film would be visually fantastic and even seeing the words 'Avengers: World War Hulk' is enough to get any Marvel fan excited!