By now you’ve probably watched the Captain America: Civil War trailer enough times to recite the whole thing from memory. Our own Dave Trumbore poured over the footage and picked it apart to reveal every little detail you might have missed. Apparently, there were even more secrets than we thought, but we needed commentary from Joe and Anthony Russo to fill in the blanks.
The directing duo offered up their analysis of the trailer to Empire and revealed some choice tidbits in the process. They threw out a lot of information, which you can read in full here, but these are the biggest reveals you’ll want to know about.
The Accords: While in the Civil War comic, it was the Superhero Registration Act that split the Avengers in two. For the film, it’s the “Sokovia Accords: Framework for the Registration and Deployment of Enhanced Individuals.” Joe said:
“The Accords are the world jointly trying to govern the Avengers moving forward. It has to do with the effects of Ultron and Sokovia [the small city that Ultron tried to drop on the Earth from a great height at the end of Age of Ultron], and New York City [roundly trashed at the end of The Avengers], and Washington D.C. [nearly devastated by falling helicarriers at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier]. Examining the third acts of all the Marvel movies, we’re saying, if you could point to the collateral damage in all those incidents, could you use that against the Avengers to control them?”
General Ross: William Hurt’s return as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross is no coincidence. Joe said of the Incredible Hulk character:
“We thought it would be interesting to take a character who had a fanatical anti-superhero point of view. Now he’s become much savvier and more political and has put himself in a position of power, not unlike a Colin Powell. He’s cornering the Avengers politically now, he’s out-maneuvering them.”
The Splash Panel: Joe explained that a splash panel in comic books is a large panel that takes up both pages. It’s used for a dramatic image, and in terms of superhero comics, that can mean a big fight with a lot of different characters. The film’s version of a splash page is one we glimpsed in the trailer: Team Captain America — comprised of Cap, Falcon, The Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and (presumably off-screen) Ant-Man — charging at Team Iron Man.
Though this film is mostly about Cap’s journey to reunite with Bucky and how this personal relationship affects his outlook on The Accords and Tony Stark, the Russos wanted to bring a similar dynamic to the rest of the Avengers. Anthony said:
“The way we went about it, it was about tracing what was going on with these characters, and we would examine each character on a very personal level – how would they respond to the idea of registration? What stakes would they have in this issue? Why is it good or bad for them? That’s how we went about it.”
Black Panther: This is our first official look at Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther costume. According to the Russos, “it’s a combination of a practical costume and VFX. It’s a vibranium weave, a mesh, almost like a chainmail. Luminescence is something we have to do in post.” As for the character’s motivations and which side he takes, Joe skirted the issue a bit, but confirmed that he has his own motivations and is brought into conflict with Team Cap for a “very different reason” than the others.
One of the Film’s Most Powerful Shots: You might have skimmed past it, but Joe said the scene involving Steve Rogers hanging on to a helicopter to prevent it from taking off is an incredibly emotional moment.
“He’s hanging onto that helicopter for an extremely passionate reason. In stories you’ll read where a mother will lift a car off a child. There’s something very important happening in that scene and for us it really represented his struggle as a character, one man pitted against a helicopter that’s trying to take off. Can he stop it? And what are the limits of his strength? For us, it’s one of the most powerful shots in the movie and it’s Chris Evans, who works very hard to physically exemplify this character. On set, we had him straining against a crane holding this helicopter, and you have this fantastic shot of his muscles bulging and you can feel the pain and the energy and the determination as he tries to stop this thing.”
Baron Zemo: While actor Daniel Bruhl and Elizabeth Olsen didn’t hesitate to confirm Baron Zemo in Civil War, the Russos did. In referencing the trailer’s scene at the Leipzig-Halle airport in Germany, which includes a nod to the character, Joe said:
“Zemo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not Zemo from the comics, and what’s interesting and surprising is that we don’t always honor the mythology from the books. One, because it’s predictable and two, it’s not servicing the story in the way we want. So, if Zemo were in this movie, I think people should expect that it’s going to be something fresh and exciting”
Comic to Movie: Though you’ve hopefully figured this out by now, Captain America: Civil War is not a direct adaptation of the comic book source material. Joe described how they used the essence of the story, but that the majority of the comic doesn’t apply to what’s been laid out in the MCU. What is, however, is the notion of registration.
“The challenge was, we’re doing the story of Civil War. Which everybody knows is nominally about superhero registration. And in a lot of ways that can be a political issue, and we didn’t want the conflict of the movie to solely exist on that level. We wanted to figure out very personal reasons why everyone’s relationship to this idea of registration is going to become complicated. That’s what the relationship between Steve and Bucky allowed us to do, to get very personal in terms of why people would lean one way or the other.”
By the time the film hits theaters on May 6, 2016, the directors foresee audiences walking out of the theater debating the outlooks of Team Cap and Team Iron Man.