Comics/Graphic Novels

How Civil War Will Divide the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Chris M. Arnone

Senior Contributor

The son of a librarian, Chris M. Arnone's love of books was as inevitable as gravity. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. His novel, The Hermes Protocol, was published by Castle Bridge Media in 2023 and the next book in that series is due out in winter 2024. His work can also be found in Adelaide Literary Magazine and FEED Lit Mag. You can find him writing more books, poetry, and acting in Kansas City. You can also follow him on social media (Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, website).

Warning: This post contains potential spoilers for pretty much every released Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and television show. And some comics. And maybe an upcoming movie.

Civil War comes.

Civil War

For the Marvel aficionados, those words together are divisive. Some loved the story while many loathed it. For the uninitiated, Marvel’s Civil War comic began with a tragedy that led to the Superhero Registration Act: a piece of US legislation requiring all superheroes to register their real names and powers with the federal government. The act split heroes down the middle. Front and center of this divide were Captain America and Iron Man.

Team Iron Man

Iron Man Robert Downey Jr

Tony Stark, as has been evident in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is willing to do pretty much anything to secure peace. Experiment with artificial intelligence? Sure! Build contingency plans against a raging, green monster? Oh yeah. Sacrifice civil liberties for the greater good? Yep.

S.H.I.E.L.D. 1:10,000

Nick Fury Samuel L Jackson

No surprises here. S.H.I.E.L.D. already has an “Index” for enhanced individuals, so I’d put money on the MCU’s version of the Superhero Registration Act to expand upon this index. Fury, in particular, has shown time and again how Machiavellian he is in the pursuit of protecting the world.

War Machine: 1:100

War Machine Don Cheadle

James Rhodes isn’t just Tony Stark’s best friend, he’s a military man through-and-through. He’s shown trust in the chain of command and the people giving him orders. So when he gets the marching orders to enforce the new Act, he likely will.

Vision: 1:20

Vision Paul Bettany

The Vision is new, but has also shown that saving lives and protecting the world “at all costs” are his prime directives. There’s a lot of room for character growth with MCU’s Vision, though. We could see a great character arc if Vision begins on Team Iron Man and starts to see what people lose when they give up their civil liberties.

Ant-Man: 1:10

Ant Man Paul Rudd

Admittedly, we don’t know much about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Ant-Man. He’s Scott Lang. Supposedly, they’re making him into a “master thief.” While we don’t know MCU Lang’s politics, that personality seems a better fit with Tony Stark than Steve Rogers.

Spider-Man: 2:3


We don’t know the Peter Parker that the MCU will present us yet. His part in the comics was huge, however. Having worked hard for years to maintain his secret identity, Parker eventually unveiled himself as Spider-Man in a televised press conference. In doing so, he officially sided with Stark. Still, he’s a character that can swing both ways; pun intended.

Team Captain America

Captain America Chris Evans

Steve Rogers believes in truth, justice, and the American way. Specifically, he holds the founding ideals of the United States in the highest regard. Freedom is chief among those ideals, and so Captain America refused to register. He believed that civil liberties are worth fighting for.

Falcon: 1:1,000

Falcon Anthony Mackie

From their meeting in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson has found a kindred spirit in Steve Rogers. They are both men of honor and morals, believing those should take precedence over orders. It seems unlikely Falcon will abandon Captain America during Civil War.

Daredevil: 1:500

Daredevil on roof

While the official casting announcement for Civil War made no mention of Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, it’s difficult to imagine that Civil War will not affect Daredevil when it returns for a new season. There’s no doubt that Matt Murdock will be all for protecting our privacy and civil liberties when picking sides.

Skye (and the Inhumans): 1:50

Skye Chloe Bennet

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has done a great job flowing into and out of MCU films, so Civil War will be not different. If heroes are taking sides in the movie, they probably will in the show as well. Agent Skye will be chief among those breaking from the more traditional S.H.I.E.L.D. agents trying protect herself.

Hawkeye 1:10

Hawkeye Jeremy Renner

Before we met Clint Barton’s family in Age of Ultron, I think I would have flipped Hawkeye to side with S.H.I.E.L.D., but now I’m not so sure. Certainly, he’ll appreciate privacy and the protection it affords. Being someone without powers, however, he’s witnessed the dangers posed by enhanced humans running unchecked. He may see the advantages to keeping tabs on them.

Scarlet Witch: 1:5

Scarlet Witch Elizabeth Olsen

On the one hand, Wanda started off despising Stark and believing he was the cause of everything horrible in her life. On the other hand, she will deeply understand the need to protect one’s family, possibly at all costs. I think she’ll stick with Captain America’s new Avengers team despite some initial concerns. She has a hard time trusting and I think the Superhero Registration Act will ask for more trust that she’s willing to give.

Phil Coulson: 1:3

Phil Coulson Clark Gregg

Coulson is a hard one to pin down. On the one hand, he’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent through-and-through. On the other hand, he’s shown fierce loyalty to his team and Skye in specific. So when Skye decides to head off and argue with S.H.I.E.L.D., there’s a good chance he’ll side with her instead.

Winter Soldier: 1:2

Winter Soldier Sebastian Stan

We all know Sebastian Stan is going to be in Civil War. Tracking down Winter Soldier has been Falcon’s primary focus while off-screen. Personally, I think he won’t pick a side at all for most of the film. When the chips are really down, though, I think he’ll back up his old war buddy.

Black Panther: 2:3

Black Panther Movie Costume

Black Panther is one of the toughest calls on this list. Even in the comics, he publicly stayed neutral while privately backing Captain America’s play. While he’s a superhero with great morals, he’s also a world leader with a whole country of innocent people to worry about. What wouldn’t T’Challa do to protect all those people?

Black Widow: 2:3

Black Widow Scarlett Johansson

Yeah, she starts on Captain America’s team, but I think Natasha is the most likely person to switch sides or even try to remain neutral for as long as possible. She helped bring both Tony and Steve onboard with The Avengers. She’s saved them both multiple times. She’s also loyal to Fury, Hawkeye, and pretty much all of the Avengers. Black Widow is the wildcard.



Hulk (Team Woe Is Me)

Hulk Bruce Banner Mark Ruffalo

The best actor in The Avengers line-up looks to be sitting this one out. He flew off into the proverbial sunset near the end of Age of Ultron, fully intending to stay off of everyone’s radar for good. Honestly, I’m not sure when they’ll manage to bring Hulk back into the fold, but I don’t think it will be in Civil War.

Thor (Team What Part of Infinity Stones Did You Not Understand?)

Thor Chris Hemsworth

He went into a mystical pool. He came out telling tales of Infinity Stones and Ragnarok. Yeah, he’s not going to give two one-eyed ravens about the puny humans and their little political squabble. Matter of fact, if he hears about it, he’ll probably just start hitting everyone with Mjolnir just to knock some sense into them.


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