Spoilers ahead, true believers.
The plot of Captain America: Civil War, which kicks off Phase 3 of Marvel's Cinematic Universe, is expected to follow the storyline of the Marvel Comic. At least thematically. But with constant reports indicating that virtually every superhero in the Marvel Universe is showing up for this flick, the big question is where the dividing line will be drawn between all the Avengers.
In the movie, a second major international incident (after Age of Ultron's big mess that went down in Sokovia) involving the Avengers – albeit Captain America's team of New Avengers – ends with a large number of civilian casualties. Governments of the world quickly start calling for an oversight system – a.k.a. an official Avengers governing body – to be formed, which has major implications for the team.
A new status quo is established, splitting the Avengers into two teams. Cap leads a team opposed to the new law, believing that its restrictions violate their basic human rights. Iron Man leads the other team, convinced that the new law is necessary if the Avengers are to survive.
Heroic Hollywood just published an insider report that lists which superheroes comprise both teams, and it's fascinating. Below is a look at both rosters, along with some quick thoughts and observations. But first, two words of warning: one — until Marvel provides more official details, this should all be considered rumor. And two — if true, this could occupy major spoiler territory.
You've been warned.
According to HH's report, those who side with Captain America are:
• Falcon: Well, duh. Of course he is. Sam and Steve are besties.
Meanwhile, over on team Iron Man, you've got:
• Spider-Man: This is the biggie, the one Marvel moved heaven and earth (and Sony) to make happen. Spidey's role in the comic was huge (spoiler: he switched from Tony's side to Cap's halfway through), though Tom Holland's screen time is said to be very small.
Black Panther makes his Marvel debut in Civil War (before starring in his solo film in 2018), portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, but apparently Marvel's Kevin Feige has stated on the record that T'Challa will remain neutral in the conflict. It wouldn't be all that surprising if the "international conflict" that kicks this whole thing off were to take place in Wakanda, Black Panther's African nation.
There's also Cap's longtime comic book love interest, Sharon Carter (granddaughter of Peggy from Agent Carter), a.k.a. S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent 13, as played by Emily VanCamp. The actress is confirmed to be in the movie, so if she's forced into the conflict between Iron Man and Cap, it's not hard to imagine who she'd side with.
Thor isn't expected to show up for this one since he's busy with that whole Ragnarok thing going down in Asgard, which we'll see on the big screen a year later, in summer 2017. But rumors persist that actor Mark Ruffalo has been seen hanging out with the Civil War cast on set, leading some to believe that Hulk might put in a surprise third-act appearance. If so, you can count on the big green guy to side with Iron Man, given Bruce's friendship with Tony Stark and his feelings for Black Widow.
There's also the matter of General Thunderbolt Ross, a.k.a. actor William Hurt, who makes his first Marvel Studios appearance since 2008's The Incredible Hulk. Comic book aficionados know that he eventually becomes the Red Hulk, a gamma-radiation-powered monster similar to the Hulk but with very different motives. If Bruce Banner's Hulk shows up in the movie, imagine the gleeful shock on fanboy faces if the team he doesn't side with were to pull Ross out of its back pocket and set the Red Hulk loose on Banner.
We can dream, right?
Captain America: Civil War, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, arrives in theaters on May 6, 2016.