Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: Civil War is still about a year away, but this week we got a very special early look at the film. As part of the live-action presentation at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, Marvel Studios showcased the first ever footage from the film – teasing the titular hero’s struggle to find his brainwashed best friend (Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes), and a monumental conflict with a former ally (Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark). The sequences shown were absolutely mindblowing, so I decided to make it the focal point of this week’s Hero Blend.

Joining me as co-host this week is Cinema Blend’s own Sean O’Connell, who wasn’t present with me at the D23 Expo, but provides an outsider perspective about the footage and has questions about what I saw. Enjoy the episode above, and in case you missed it, you can read my entire description of the reel below!
The footage began with a shot of Captain America (Chris Evans) in full gear, his famous shield placed on his back, and staring out what appears to be a hotel window. Using a communicator, he reaches out to Falcon (Anthony Mackie), who is also suited up, but standing on a rooftop. The flying hero then activates "Redwing" – a special drone that launches from his pack – and the device flies down to street level where it can investigate a particular car. Using specialized scanners on the robot, Falcon confirms that the car is what they’re looking for, and we see a quick shot of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) chilling out at a nearby café to make sure everything goes okay. Falcon then dives from the roof where he’s perched… but that’s when things start to go really, really wrong.

A van full of dudes show up, and bad dudes start pouring out, but the most significant presence is Crossbones (Frank Grillo) – who is dressed in full armor, complete with skull mask and an exo-skeleton that provides him with some serious power. His entrance is only made more grand by the fact that he throws a magnetic bomb that attaches itself to Cap's shield - forcing the hero to throw it in the sky to avoid hurting anyone. Falcon and Black Widow face off against the henchmen, both showing off some extreme fighting skills, but it’s Cap who is pitted against his former adversary. The Super Soldier gets totally rocked by a couple of punches thrown by Crossbones, and is only barely able to stop himself from getting stabbed by one of the villain’s retractable knives. Eventually gaining the upper hand, Cap is able to get the bad guy’s helmet off… but that’s when the ridiculously scarred Brock Rumlow begins teasing the hero, saying, "He remembered you. Your pal, your buddy, your Bucky…"

With that sequence concluded, the footage began to focus more on what we can expect to be the central plot of Captain America: Civil War. While we see shots of the Avengers facility, Cap trying to prevent a helicopter from flying off a rooftop, and the titular hero running through an exploding building, General Thadeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (William Hurt) provides a bit of narration, clearly speaking to people about the importance of differentiating heroes versus vigilantes. He notes that people are afraid – and it seems like he’s in a position where he’s more than happy to take advantage of that fear. Following that, we see a shot that looks exactly like the mid-credits scene from Ant-Man, with Cap and Falcon down in a dank basement with a trapped Bucky. Cap asks his old friend if he remembers who he is, and the former Winter Soldier confirms by saying that Steve Rogers’ mom’s name is Sarah and that he used to wear newspapers in his shoes.

From there, the clip also set up the idea of heroes fighting against heroes, with Captain America and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) specifically going head to head. While we didn’t get to see the characters exactly go toe-to-toe, Tony Stark threatens to punch the star-spangled Avenger in his "perfect teeth," and Cap yells at his friend about the idea of being covered by "protection" (which may be a reference to the movie’s Superhero Registration Act). The clip also gave us a brief shot of Cap and his followers charging into battle against Iron Man and his people – with Black Widow and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) specifically winding up fighting. Widow asks her longtime S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague if they’re still friends, which gets the response, "Depends on how hard you hit me."

Perhaps the best moment in the footage, however, came in the very last clip. Serving as a perfect follow-up to the post-credits scene in Ant-Man, the moments featured Captain America, Falcon and Scarlet Witch approaching a white van, and opening its door to find Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) sleeping inside. The shrinking superhero bolts awake, and immediately finds himself in a state of shock because he is actually standing in front of the Captain America. He rushes out of the van and takes Cap’s hand, and begins shaking it furiously – until he openly admits that he has been shaking his hand for way too long. Scott turns around to see Scarlet Witch, saying, "I know you too. You’re great," but then finds his attention drawn right back to the world’s favorite super soldier, tripping over his words: "I know you know a lot of super people, so thanks for thanking of me… Thinking of me."

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