Robert Downey Jr. Joins CAPTAIN AMERICA 3; “Civil War” Storyline Pits Iron Man vs. Captain America

     October 13, 2014

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Last week, Robert Downey Jr. went on the record to clarify that Iron Man 4 was not in the cards for him.  Instead, Downey promised, “I’m still going to be involved with Marvel and there’s going to be plenty of other fun stuff.”  Downey also hinted at a secret plan he expected Marvel to announce soon.  That plan was revealed tonight.

Downey is close to signing a deal to co-star in Captain America 3.  The sequel will use the “Civil War” storyline, where the Superhero Registration Act mandates that anyone with superhuman abilities register with the U.S. government and agree to act as law enforcement.  Captain America opposes the legislation, but Iron Man supports it, setting up Downey to play the villain.  More after the jump.

Here’s a synopsis of the Civil War written by Mark Millar:

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Civil War follows the implementation and consequences of the Superhuman Registration Act, a legislative bill which required the mandatory registration of any person based in the United States with super powers…

The prospect of registration divided the superhuman community down the middle, with Tony Stark, the superhero Iron Man who had previously tried to halt the act, becoming the pro-registration figurehead, and Captain America leading the anti-registration group. Iron Man, with Mr. Fantastic and Henry Pym, argued that the changing political landscape meant that resisting the law was pointless, and that it is reasonable for heroes to have proper training and oversight, whereas Captain America, alongside Luke Cage and Falcon argued that heroes required secrecy in order to protect aspects of their “normal” life, such as spouses and children, and to allow them to act in whatever means necessary against threats which the ordinary emergency services couldn’t cope with. [Wikipedia]

Sounds like a great premise, and you can understand why Downey jumps at a chance to show us this side of his shaded hero.  But it almost didn’t happen.  According to Variety, Marvel initially wanted Downey for a small role that needed just three weeks of shooting.  Downey latched on to the idea and vied for a bigger part that would come with a bigger salary.  Marvel Entertainment chief Ike Perlmutter reportedly balked at the request and ordered the screenwriters to write Iron Man out of the storyline.

robert-downey-jr-iron-man-3Kevin Feige stayed the course and continued to negotiate with Downey’s reps since the “Civil War” storyline helps “drive the plots of sequels and new franchises for the next seven years.”  The fallout from the Superhero Registration Act will factor into a Avengers 4, featuring Ant-Man and Doctor Strange among others.

Downey is now on the verge of signing a $40 million deal, per Variety, with backend participation and a bonus if Captain America 3 outperforms Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  That’s a hefty price, but it’s great to keep Downey in the universe without rehashing the same character beats.

In related news, Marvel teased a Summer 2015 “Civil War” revival for in the comics with the below image.  That’s Iron Man and Captain America fighting over Spider-Man.  It would be a legal miracle to work Andrew Garfield into the mix, but now feels like a great time to revisit that rumor that Spider-Man could be worked into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Phase Two ends with Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015.  Ant-Man kicks off Phase Three on July 17, 2015.  Captain America 3 follows on May 6, 2016.  Anthony and Joe Russo return to direct Captain America 3 with a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

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