Captain America: Civil War is arguably…scratch that—is the most anticipated superhero film ever made. It’s chock full of heroes—even more than Age of Ultron—but this time they’re fighting each other. Is there a comic book trope more overused than the hero-fights-hero plot? For all we know, this will play out with the heroes reconciling due to a misunderstanding (groan), joining forces (boring), and fighting an as yet unnamed villain (damn you, Baron Zemo!). Or, maybe this ends with blood, tears and a hugely emotional turn that will set up the entire Phase 3 slate of movies.
That’s right, here’s five reasons why Captain America will die at the end of the Captain America 3.
If you’ve never read Marvel’s Civil War event series, and want to go into Captain America 3 completely unspoiled, now would be a good time to turn around. Spoilers ahead!
1. Captain America dies in the original comic book story.
Let’s start with the obvious. The Civil War event originally ended with Cap surrendering to Iron Man to avoid further property damage and bloodshed. He was even ready to finish Tony Stark for good, but emergency service personnel held him back before he could, which was just enough time to realize things escalated way too far. When being brought to a courthouse for his trial, however, he was shot and killed, thus ending the war permanently. With Cap dead the event ended because who lead his side of the war?
2. Bucky Barnes can take on the mantle of Captain America (and the actor is cheaper too!)
Forget that it’s monetarily cheaper to pay actor Sebastian Stan (aka the Winter Soldier) to play the role of Captain America by just wearing the costume, but this actually happened in the comics following Civil War. It has also been reported he has a nine picture deal with Marvel, so they’ll need to use him some way right? While we’re on the subject, Anthony Mackie (aka Falcon) could easily fill those shoes too.
3. After Cap 3, Chris Evans only has one more movie on his contract.
Chris Evans has reported that he signed a six movie deal not counting Thor: Dark World. On top of that, just last night on Entertainment Tonight Evans said, “It’s almost terrifying to think about these being done,” in regards to the Cap 3 film wrapping production. That sounds pretty definitive to me.
That leaves him with one more appearance after Captain America: Civil War. So this means he’s coming back, but he has to disappear for two years until Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 premieres May 2018. Which film would you think Marvel would want him in? Chances are one, if not both Avengers movies. Would you really want to use your last film with Chris Evans on any of the new character films coming between those films? What better explanation for him not to appear than his death.
Of course, there’s always a new or restructured contract, but Evans has said he wants to focus on directing, so who knows.
4. The only thing that’ll wake up Tony Stark from his fear of the world ending is killing a friend.
At this point, it’s pretty clear why Tony Stark is going to support the Superhero Registration Act which causes the rift in the first place. He’s deathly afraid of losing control and will want to lock down other heroes before they blow up a school. We’ve already seen him freak out over aliens invading Earth through a portal and react by creating Ultron. Twice. Luckily the Vision was a good move, but for a guy to be willing to try to make a robot after failing miserably you need to have motivation. The man had a vision, as we know, and it was a vision of all of his friends murdered beside him. If the most powerful heroes in the world can’t stop a threat, who will?
This story arc can’t play out forever, however, and Marvel will need Iron Man back in the saddle as a hero we can root for, but how can we root for a character who ends up being the cause of Captain America’s death? People love a good retribution story and by all accounts they’re building one. It just requires a very big mistake (and a very big movie) to make that happen.
5. Marvel doesn’t need him until Infinity War—and maybe not even until Part 2.
If you look at the slate of films coming after Captain America: Civil War releases May 2016, you’ll notice there really is no need for Cap to show up or even Iron Man for that matter. Dr. Strange is the next film and it comes out in November of the same year. This is an origin film that does not require any major characters to share the screen time. Plus, Dr. Strange has powers and fights in a whole other realm that would never need a soldier like Cap.
The following year starts with Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in May 2017, which we know is way too many light years away for Cap to be involved. Later that year is July’s Thor: Ragnarok, which will most likely play out in Asgard exclusively. This is a film gearing up to be all about Loki, the mythology, and will focus mostly on Thor himself. One could point out the fact that Ragnarok is a character in the Civil War comic, also known as Clor‐the clone version of Thor created by Tony Stark, but that doesn’t require Cap’s presence to have it work. I wouldn’t put it past Marvel to kill off Thor in this film too, which would make both their returns even more epic in Infinity War Part 2.
Then there’s Black Panther in November 2017, which one might argue is a plausible place for Cap to show up in. His shield is of course made of Vibranium and BP’s homeland of Wakanda is the only place you can find this stuff. But again, this is an origin story and has no need for big characters like Cap.
Finally, there is Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 which must require Captain America. Right? Maybe not. Sure the Avengers aren’t anything without Cap, but there are two films coming with the title and the first will most likely tease his return in the second. I say this because so many characters are going to be introduced (including later that year with Captain Marvel, which again is an origin film that doesn’t need him) that they can carry that first film. Think about how excited fans will be when Captain America rises from the ashes—another movie trope comic books consistently use—and how powerful a heroic moment it’ll be to bring him back for the final Avengers movie. It makes so much sense.
If previous Marvel storylines set precedence for the movie universe, then the summer comic book event known as Siege is even more proof Cap will die and return. That series brought the big three (Thor, Iron Man and Cap) back together again and reminded us these characters are best when they’re on the same side. So far we’ve seen semblances of the Avengers working as a team and if you cap off the third and final Avengers movie with these heroes ignoring their differences you’ll have an epic end to a three part story. When cap shouts “Avengers Assemble” it will be even more epic with Captain America dying and coming back to fight another day.
And maybe he comes back just so he can die again!