Captain America: Civil War, the epic curtain-raiser to Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, marches onto our screens next year. In anticipation of the next Marvel spectacular we round up all the info we know so far...
1) It's the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series will continue with Doctor Strange (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) and the new Spider-Man film with Tom Holland as Spidey.
2) Acclaimed Captain America: The Winter Soldier filmmakers Anthony and Joe Russo are back behind the camera.
3) In the series' timeline, Civil War takes place a couple of years after the events of The Winter Soldier and unfolds in the aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
4) It's loosely based on Mark Millar's seven-part crossover comic series Civil War, although Marvel President Kevin Feige has said the story's continuity will be tailored to fit with that of the previous films.
5) The plot hinges on a proposed regulatory crackdown on the activity of the Avengers, in an attempt to make the superheroes more accountable. This drives a wedge between them. At one extreme, Captain America is opposed to the Superhero Registration Act. At the other, Iron Man is in favour. Now everyone else has to answer the question: whose side are you on?
6) Two major new characters are introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both of whom get their own solo films over the next few years. Tom Holland (pictured below) makes his debut in the Spidey costume as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. And Chadwick Boseman takes the role of Black Panther/T'challa, who was Marvel's very first black superhero.
7) This Avengers-style ensemble movie also sees the return of many other favourite characters, including Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Vision (Paul Bettany), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), James 'Rhodey' Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Brock Rumlow/Crossbones (Frank Grillo), Sharon Carter/Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) and Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross (William Hurt).
8) One character who won't be in the film is S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, who appeared in both previous Captain America films and had a prominent role in The Winter Soldier. Samuel L. Jackson has expressed surprise at this news. But fear not: he'll be back. Jackson has a contract to appear in two more Marvel movies.
9) There's a clue about a plot strand in the post-credits sequence of Ant-Man. Brainwashed assassin Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier is trapped in a dark basement with his metal arm secured in a vice, while his former best friend Captain America discusses with Falcon what to do about the situation. What this all means and how it ties in to Civil War is a matter of intense speculation.
10) Intriguingly, The Hobbit and Sherlock star Martin Freeman has been cast in an unspecified role. Speaking at the Giffoni Film Festival in Italy recently, he dropped a few tantalising hints about his character. "We can say that he works for the American government, he works in conjunction with the superheroes and certain agencies that help to tame the superhero powers," Freeman revealed. "So you're not quite sure which side he's on. It looks a little bit like he's playing one game but actually he's playing another."
11) Civil War may be primarily concerned with internecine warfare, but it still needs a proper bad guy. Best known for his terrific portrayal of dedicated F1 racer Niki Lauda in Rush, Daniel Bruhl is cast as supervillain Baron Helmut Zemo. Zemo sports a purple mask in the comics, but there's been no confirmation of the character's look on screen.
12) We'll get to see it first! Captain America: Civil War is currently scheduled for UK release on 29th April 2016. That's one week before the US release on 6th May 2016.
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