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Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War is in the works and it sounds like it’s a glorified Avengers 3. Seriously. Everyone‘s in this thing. Which, to be fair, is appropriate for the subject matter. It’s a big turning point for the whole universe. It needs to be a big, sweeping movie. It’s important.
That’s why I think they need to kill Captain America.
I understand the need for them not to. It’s a profitable character for sure, one that easily fits on backpacks and toys. But the need still stands. For some this may seem obvious, but I understand that some less versed in the comics may wonder why they’d do this. Let me explain.
In the comics, during the Civil War arc, most of the universe’s heroes were divided into two factions behind Iron Man and Captain America respectively. The cracks in the MCU began in Avengers 2. The team is ready to be divided.
With tensions on the rise, expect to see the teams form in Civil War. Well, also because the teams are already cast. Anyway, in a normal kind of business decision, they’d fight for a bit and then be reunited in battling a common enemy, thus learning to be a team again.
That’s horrible, for a couple reasons I’ll get into, but mostly because the Avengers need to be broken for Phase Three. It will factor into the Infinity War movies and it’ll explain why the heroes just “don’t call the Avengers” for each of their respective movies. It’ll just work better.
There will be nothing better to break the heroes apart than if their moral center, the glue holding them together, is taken out of the picture. It could be a point to rally the other heroes together to beat Baron Zemo, but they’ll stay apart afterward. From there…
Phase Three has a theme of things falling apart. Thor is going through his Ragnarök, Civil War is dismantling the heroes, and I’m sure Guardians of the Galaxy 2 won’t make as much as the first one. If we consider the current Avengers trilogy as a single gigantic story, this would be the second act low point. We need things to get bad before they get better.
As I said earlier, Cap dying marks the beginning of the low point. A dark event that none of the characters can come back from. It’ll set the stage for a divided community of super people as well as cast doubt on their worth. The Avengers are in-fighting and dying left and right. Why even have them around? You can see where the redemption arcs can come in.
At the very least, it gives us a place to come back from. The inevitable triumph at the end of Infinity War won’t be as satisfying if everything was great for the heroes all the time. Could you imagine the end of Daredevil if everything had been mostly okay for everyone the entire series? This goes hand-in-hand with something else.
I’m not worried about any characters, which is a little troubling. There’s no real weight to the universe. They’re fun movies, ones that I enjoy watching, but there’s still a piece I feel is missing. I think that piece is tangible stakes.
I think the studio attempted to address that by (SPOILER) killing off Quicksilver in Avengers 2, but that’s a half measure at best. He was introduced in that movie with bare-minimum character development, and while his death had some weight, it wasn’t exactly earth shattering. It didn’t change things. It didn’t add stakes. Cap’s death could do that.
In a universe where very few people die, where they wuss out of killing Fury to create stakes, audiences are sorely in need of a reason to care. Cap’s death could be something that tells them that things have gotten real.
Cap is a profitable character, sure, but killing him could also help the product. Like destroying SHIELD, ending Steve Rogers would shake up the universe and push it in a new direction. It could serve to show us maybe the greatest message of the MCU. Heroes die, yes, but that’s what makes them so special, their ability to face ultimate consequences and do good anyway.