It's easy to mistake Captain America: Civil War for an Avengers movie. Jeremy Renner even jokingly called it Avengers 2.5, given the immense superhero roster. But screenwriter Stephen McFeely confirmed, "We’re not going to split all of the roles and lines and screen time into 15 parts." He continued, "It is a Captain America movie, and lined up on the opposite side of him, first and foremost, is Tony Stark."
Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role of Iron Man for the third Captain America film. Tony’s been griping with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) since the first Avengers, when Loki’s scepter unearthed some buried tension, but Age of Ultron exacerbated their sparring ideologies. "Isn't that the mission? Isn't that the 'why we fight'? So we get to go home?" Tony asks. Steve responds, "Every time someone tries to win a war before it starts, innocent people die. Every time."
In Civil War, the debate becomes much larger. After another international incident involving the Avengers, the governments of the world pass the Sokovia Accords, which seek to enforce harsher restrictions on superhumans, as well as a system of accountability. We’ve already seen who takes up with Cap, but Iron Man, siding with the government, has his own big guns.
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the newly created Vision (Paul Bettany), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and the superhero of Wakanda, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), all join Team Iron Man in stopping Captain America when he goes on the run. On the Atlanta set of Civil War this past summer, both sides faced off in front of a massive green screen that will later be replaced by their arena, a German airport. As friend fights friend, which side, if either, will emerge victorious?
Ahead of the film’s release on May 6, get the behind-the-scenes intel on Team Iron Man.
Iron ManTony Stark is not the same man we met in the first Iron Man. He was kidnapped by terrorists, he plunged a missile through a wormhole to space, he suffered PTSD from the battle in New York, and he unleashed Ultron unto the world thanks to his own hubris. For Downey, the main question posed by Civil War is, "What is the credibility factor?" Tony, having operated under his own authority for years, could use some Sokovia Accords right about now.
I think what’s interesting is not so much that he’s looking for more control but that he’s saying that, as a group of individuals, we all require a little bit more supervision than we might imagine. And that, for me, was just a really straight line, because I don’t like words coming out of a character’s mouth that I adore because not only is he a little bit duplicitous, but he’s kind of practical in the way he thinks, and he thinks in terms of everyone’s humanity and how quickly we can go against what we think we meant when we said it or what we believe…
For screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, this is what the film all boils down to. "We want people walking out of this movie going Tony’s right and half the other people going Steve’s right. That would be a dream, if we got 49/51 split, because the question is a legitimate one," Markus said. Is Tony right in believing these superheroes, who have trashed entire cities and countries in battling enemies, need some oversight, or is Cap? "Steve at one point says in the movie, 'What if these people send us somewhere we don’t think we should go, and what if there’s a place we need to go and they won’t send us?'"
The war over this question (and The Winter Soldier) will take Tony to a dark place. Co-director Joe Russo teased, "I think you're going to see a side of Tony Stark you haven't seen in any of the films, and he's just crushing it. He's fantastic in the very, very complex and dark arc he has in this film." Because, as Downey says, "It’s never fun when [Tony's] in a good place, is it?"