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The beauty of comic book movies is that they can be mixed and matched with other film genres. The Dark Knight played out like a gritty crime drama, Ant-Man was a bona fide heist film, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a pitch-perfect political thriller. But what about the zombie genre? Will we ever see superheroes face off against hordes of stumbling, brainless monsters? As it turns out, Captain America: Civil War almost went in that direction early on in its development. Anthony Russo explained, with all seriousness:
There was a period where we did discuss a third act that revolved around the Madbomb from Cap mythology. It didn't have anything to do with Civil War, and if we couldn't get Downey -- in the very, very early conversations before we nailed him -- somebody pitched the idea of a third-act that revolved around the Madbomb, which makes people crazy. It almost like zombifies them -- but not literally. ... The charm of the Madbomb is that you turn hordes of people into berserkers. That was the physical challenge that Cap and company would have had to face.
While doing press for the Captain America: Civil War home release, Anthony Russo revealed to EW that Civil War almost opted to dive into the zombie genre in dramatic fashion. Before the film managed to lock down Robert Downey Jr. to return as Iron Man, The Russos had considered delving into the Madbomb storyline from the comics. This particular narrative would've focused on a device that causes paranoia and rage in average people -- thus creating hordes of zombie-like berserkers that Cap and his teammates would have to face off against during the film's climax. Good or bad, that definitely would have been new territory for Marvel.
Thematically it actually could have been incredibly poignant, as Baron Zemo (played in the movie by Daniel Brühl) set off the device, Cap would have to battle his way through hordes of average American citizens. This fight would examine Cap's psyche, and tackle his ability to handle turning his own powers and abilities on the American public to get the job done. Heavy, hard-hitting stuff.
Needless to say, this would've been a stark departure from what we saw in the final version of Captain America: Civil War. In the end we have to say that we think it was probably worth it to lock down Robert Downey Jr. and go all in for the Civil War story arc. The film The Russos ultimately made had a far more personal conflict than Madbomb could have afforded, and that helped set Civil War apart from the other blockbusters that hit theaters this year -- particularly Suicide Squad, which similarly used the "average people turned into zombies" trope with the Eyes of the Adversary.
Of course, avoiding the Madbomb storyline also leaves the door open for Marvel to try its hand at the zombie genre somewhere down the line. As many astute comic book fans already know, Marvel's no stranger to the walking dead in its comic book universe. The Marvel Zombies crossover event hit shelves in 2005 and has long been touted as one of the more bizarre and fascinating Marvel Comics events in recent memory. The studio should seriously consider giving it a go once Infinity War has come and gone, because now we really, really want to see a zombie-superhero epic.
CinemaBlend will bring you all of the latest and greatest news related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as more information becomes available to us. Make sure to check out Captain America: Civil War on Digital HD when it becomes available on September 2, and Blu-Ray/DVD when it hits shelves on September 13.