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Warning: MAJOR spoilers for Captain America: Civil War below, so stop reading now if you haven't seen the film yet!
It goes without saying that Captain America: Civil War has become a total phenomenon over the last week. The film’s conflict brought Earth’s mightiest heroes to devastating blows with one another, and provided a spectacle quite unlike anything we’ve seen from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.
However, Civil War serves another purpose outside of simply providing an amazing story for audiences. The events of the latest Marvel adventure have set up a series of events for our scattered heroes that will carry all the way through Phase 3. Each and every hero had a particular arc in Captain America: Civil War, and the film’s ending has him or her all going off in their own respective directions. We’ve gone through the film, and figured out where every one of The Avengers stands following the events of Civil War; now let’s get the ball rolling with the titular hero himself…
Captain AmericaSteve Rogers' note to Tony Stark pretty much laid out the future of the character. He finally feels willing to admit to himself that he’s never fit in anywhere, and that he puts his faith in the inherent goodness of people, rather than organizations or structures. Having given up his shield, as well as the stars and stripes, Rogers busted Team Cap out of The Raft prison so that they can continue doing the good work that he believes in, and then proceeded to get Bucky to Wakanda so Black Panther’s people can get to work on fixing him. The red, white and blue Avenger will undoubtedly continue to help people, but his symbolic renunciation of the shield points towards him becoming Nomad or simply The Captain – two decisions with precedent in the comics.
Iron ManThe newly defeated Tony Stark continues to reel from the revelation that The Winter Soldier killed Howard and Maria Stark, as well as the fact that Steve Rogers kept this earth-shattering information from him. He seems intent on reforming The Avengers and maintaining a hero presence under the Sokovia Accords, but the look on his face at the end of the film seems to indicate that he’s not interested in pursuing Cap or the renegade heroes Rogers freed from The Raft prison. At the present moment, we think Stark's more concerned with rebuilding his life with Pepper Potts, and atoning for his perceived sins by looking after a young hero like Spider-Man.
The Winter SoldierFollowing the events of Civil War, Bucky has come to the realization that he cannot be trusted out in the world while he still feels the effects of the HYDRA brainwashing that turned him into The Winter Soldier. The last time we, as an audience, seem him is the mid-credits sequence where the newly one-armed Bucky goes back to sleep in a cryogenic chamber so Wakandan scientists can try to figure out how to fix his fried brain. Whatever it is going to take to get Bucky out of that tube, we have a feeling it’s going to have to be big – infinitely more dire than the Civil War he just fought in.
Black WidowBlack Widow turned on Team Iron Man during the final moments of the airport battle in Berlin, so Thunderbolt Ross came after her per T’Challa’s request. However, the final moments of Captain America: Civil War don’t exactly showcase where she went after telling off Tony Stark at The Avengers compound. Natasha Romanoff played both sides of the Civil War conflict, so if she’s currently on the lam we have a distinct feeling that – like her former love interest The Hulk – she has decided to go solo for a while. It’s unclear where exactly she will go from here, but Marvel better realize that this is a perfect opportunity for a Black Widow movie.
FalconSam Wilson has stayed by Steve Rogers’ side ever since Captain America showed up on his doorstep asking for help during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The two work well together, and the re-freezing of Bucky means that Cap still needs someone at his right hand to continue working in the field. Sam has a proud smile on his face when Rogers show up to break him out of confinement, so whatever Captain America has planned, it seems entirely plausible that Falcon will gladly sign up.
Spider-ManPeter Parker got a taste of what it’s like to act like a hero in the big leagues during Civil War, so something tells us that he will want more. The post-credits scene of Civil War shows him still breaking in the Spider-Man suit that Tony Stark gave him, as well as some of the awesome and iconic gadgets now at his disposal – Spider Signal, anyone? His "audition" for Tony Stark turned out remarkably well at the Berlin airport, so we expect these two Marvel heroes to start working together quite a bit in New York to turn the amazing Spider-Man into the ultimate Spider-Man – as long as he gets his homework done first.
Ant-ManScott Lang never had a genuine dog in this fight aside from his inherent distrust of Tony Stark and an aversion to totalitarianism. He’s no stranger to prison, but we have a feeling that he’s pretty grateful to Steve Rogers for busting him out of The Raft at the end of Captain America: Civil War. We know that Ant-Man and The Wasp is on the way, so Scott Lang’s first order of business will likely involve him jetting back to San Francisco to continue his work as Ant-Man with Hank Pym and new love interest Hope Van Dyne in order to become the hero that his daughter Cassie believes him to be.
Black PantherThe tragic events of Captain America: Civil War have thrust the duties of being Wakanda's king upon T’Challa’s shoulders. Although he spent the majority of the movie in a mad dash for revenge against Bucky Barnes, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has learned the detriments of letting vengeance corrupt one’s soul, and has offered an olive branch to Captain America and The Winter Soldier. As the new king of Wakanda, Black Panther seems intent on bringing his advanced, reclusive country to the center of the world stage to do some good, so we fully expect his upcoming solo movie to highlight his skills as both a warrior and a diplomat.
The last time we as an audience get to see Vision during the events of Captain America: Civil War, he’s pensively playing chess across the room from Tony Stark and James Rhodes as the latter learns to walk again. This seems to indicate that War Machine doesn’t necessarily blame Vision for what happened, and that the synthetic android wants to keep working under the Sokovia Accords while endeavoring to learn more about the Infinity Stone embedded in his forehead. His reconciliation with Scarlet Witch after the airport battle seems to point towards a continued romantic flame between the two misunderstood Avengers – though, that flame has likely died down a bit because of what’s happened (but it’s still there, undoubtedly).
War MachineThe Avenger who seems to have lost the most through the course of Civil War, James Rhodes continues his Tony Stark-sponsored attempts to walk again, while still maintaining that he believes that Team Iron Man had the moral high ground in the conflict. His future as an active combatant for The Avengers seems shaky at best, but it seems likely that his persistent faith in the heroic organization will lead him to at least take up some sort of advisor role for Earth’s mightiest heroes. He would make a great addition to the awesome banter between Tony Stark and Peter Parker, so we keep our fingers crossed that War Machine’s physical therapy makes some serious strides by the time Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters in 2017.
HawkeyeClint Barton came out of retirement specifically because he felt duty-bound to Captain America and Wanda Maximoff during Civil War. With his newfound freedom – courtesy of Steve Rogers – it seems likely that he’s going to head straight home to apologize to his wife and kids. That being said, he very clearly bitter about his imprisonment, and maintains a sharp degree of resentment towards Tony Stark and those who support the Sokovia Accords. It’s unclear if Hawkeye will return to duty at any point as the world’s best archer, but if he does, it probably won’t be a government sanctioned return to service.
Scarlet WitchWanda Maximoff was among the many heroes freed by Steve Rogers in the final moments of Captain America: Civil War. Although it’s unclear exactly what she intends to do with her newfound freedom, the events of the film clearly inform how she has grown as an individual. The conflict between Team Iron Man and Team Cap seems to have empowered her and made her realize that she no longer has to fear what she’s capable of, or what others may think of her. She shares a tender moment with Vision at the end of the airport battle, but she still finds herself imprisoned anyway, so the jury’s still out regarding whether or not they continue to be a thing.
ThorThe son of Odin made no appearance during the conflict of Captain America: Civil War, which is probably for the best because his sheer power would’ve definitely created an imbalance between Team Cap and Team Iron Man. It seems that the main reason for his absence stems from his departure at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, as he returned to his home in Asgard to try and prevent the devastation he predicted while taking a bath with Erik Selvig – poor phrasing, but you get the idea. Thor also made mention of wanting to find out more about these troublesome Infinity Stones, so he may cross paths with Thanos in the near future. The next time we see the God of Thunder, it will likely be defending his home realm from the major events that are foreshadowed to occur in Thor: Ragnarok.
The HulkWhile Bruce Banner – or his alter ego The Hulk – doesn’t make an appearance during the events of Civil War, he’s alluded to several times. The misunderstood hero took a step back from super heroics at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron in order to continue his search for inner peace. Black Widow makes a remark during the film that Banner would likely not even agree with the Sokovia Accords in the first place, so we have a feeling that he’s off trying to enjoy his solitude. His peace might not last long however, as rumors continue to point towards Hulk possibly showing up in Asgard during the events of Thor: Ragnarok.
They have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Star-Lord and his team of misfits are simply out among the stars, getting into trouble.
The Guardians of the Galaxy