We aren’t putting a spoiler warning on this because, well, if you’ve not seen Captain America: Civil War by now…
Ok, that sort of was a spoiler warning, wasn’t it?
It’s no secret at this stage that, in the comics, Captain America AKA Steve Rogers, died at the end of Civil War – see image above – and, while we were sure the Russo brothers would put a spin on it, we were also sure someone would die in the movie.
And yes, we know Peggy died (she was a million years old) and T’Chaka (we never knew him before this so there was no real emotion) and Crossbones (look, Marvel aren’t very kind to their bad guys in the movies – PLUS Frank Grillo seems to think he’s still alive anyway (here)), but we were sure someone big would die… Tony Stark? Steve Rogers? Scarlett Witch? Black Widow… someone vital.
And when we saw Rhodey hit the ground like a dart in the trailers we thought maybe it was him… though I doubted they’re reveal something so big in a trailer.
And so, pre-release, we all speculated and guessed… the stakes were high; someone HAD to die.
And alas, in the end, no-one did.
Well now Marvel have put the movie forward of Oscar consideration (hey, why not, Peter Jackson got away with it in glorious fashion) and, after a special ‘FOr Your Consideration’ screening at the weekend, the Russo brothers and Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige shed some light on the movie’s lack of death.
Anthony Russo: We never talked about killing Cap in this one, right? no.
Joe Russo: We did for a beat. We talk about everything.
Anthony Russo: I think the thing to remember is, we do talk about every possible scenario over and over and over again for months and months and months. We talked about it. But it never made its way into a realistic outline.
Feige: Well, the ending was always more about fracturing the team completely before getting into Infinity War.
Joe Russo: We talked about lots of potential characters dying at the end of the movie. And we thought that it would undercut what is really the rich tension of the movie, which is this is Kramer vs Kramer. It’s about a divorce. If somebody dies, it would create empathy, which would change and allow for repair, and we didn’t want to do that.
Feige: In the amazing comic book story, which certainly the conceit of this movie is based on and some of the specifics — during their big battle, which has a hundred times as many characters, a character dies. And we talked about that for a while. And, ultimately, we thought what happened to Rhodey would be enough of a downer.
Anthony Russo: The tragedy is the family falls apart. Not that the family falls apart and then somebody dies.
Ok, we get that the family unit falling apart is devastating but still, we feel like it was a little bit of a cop out…
Ok, so, in related news, we all know that for a while there was questions over Robert Downey Jnr’s return to the MCU for Civil War (here) and the Russos have confirmed that, had negotiations between him and Disney/Marvel broken down, Captain America 3 would have been a very different movie… with zombies.
“It was not a given that we were even going to do Civil War when we were talking about the next movie after Winter Soldier. So there was a period of time when we explored possibilities for Cap stories that did not include it,” Joe Russo said.
“We spent a few weeks doing that, although Civil War came up fairly early in the process and once that happened it took over our brains and we ran hard at it.”
“There was a period where we did discuss a third act that revolved around the Madbomb from Cap mythology,” Anthony Russo said. “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,” em, what?
The Madbomb in the comics was a device, created by a secret evil society called The Elite, that used sonic waves to turn people mad. Basically anyone in the blast radius would lose their minds and become violent and out of control: “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,” said Anthony.
In the movie – had it happened – Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) would have detonated a Madbomb: “The notion of the Madbomb would have been Cap having to fight civilians and how he would he handle that,” Joe Russo says.
“We were always trying to put him into these interesting moral conundrums because of his nature. That would have made a compelling third act because if civilians are the antagonists, how could he stop them without killing them?”
“Somebody you know has turned into a zombie and now you have to fight them,” Anthony says. “And there would have been the emotional component of that.”
However, in the end, as we all know, Downey Jnr came on board and Civil War happened and, while we love it, we sort of want to see Captain America: Mad Bomb now. Maybe we’ll see it down the line… after all, there’s more stories to tell.