We don’t know much about Marvel’s upcoming Captain America: Civil War beyond the fact that it’s going to be full to overflowing with superheroes, and that a piece of legislation causes a rift between these costumed folks. Now, however, we may know the specific impetus for this political move.
Warning, there are potential SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War beyond this point, and definite spoilers if you haven’t seen Ant-Man or Avengers: Age of Ultron yet. And this is also a rumor, so take it with a grain of salt.
In the Civil War comics, an incident with the New Warriors trying to capture some supervillains results in the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians. This leads to the government passing legislation requiring superheroes to register and reveal their identities. According to Heroic Hollywood, in Civil War the movie, there will be a similar incident, though it involves some of the more primary players.
According to HH’s sources, there is an international incident involving Captain America (Chris Evans) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) that results in collateral damage. The two try to apprehend Crossbones (Frank Grillo)—we’ve seen Cap tussling with him in some set photos that have come out—but he’s wearing a suicide vest full of al kinds of explosives and nastiness. There are civilians around, so Cap order Scarlet Witch to hover Crossbones in the air, and though she does, she’s unable to contain the subsequent blast, which causes tons of casualties and mass destruction. This is going to be a grim moment.
That sounds like one hell of an inciting incident, and, from how it sounds, this is also the last straw when it comes to superheroes. Over the last few Marvel movies we’ve seen growing public backlash against the Avengers and their ilk. It’s overt in Age of Ultron, but even more recently in Ant-Man, the undercurrent is there. A newspaper headline asks, “Who’s to blame for Sokovia?” and Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym quips that the Avengers are too busy dropping cities out of the sky, which is, of course, something that happens in Ultron.
This is all building up to the passage of the so-called Sokovia Accords. Sokovia is the fictional Eastern European country where an entire city is levitated and then dropped and totally destroyed. The Accords are even teased in the second post-credits scene in Ant-Man, when we see Captain America and The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) finally track down Bucky Barnes. It also hints at the coming split between the superheroes, as they indicate that they have to handle this situation off the grid. Cap leads the ant-registration faction that fights crime underground, while Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) fronts the pro-registration camp that teams up with the government.
While in the comics, it’s the American government that passes the Superhero Registration Act, you get the distinct impression that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this may very well be a more international affair. We’ll find out for sure if this is how things go down when Captain America: Civil War hits theaters next year on May 6, 2016.