Okay, so Marvel have announced that CA3 is going to be "Civil War"
. Given I wrote out an 800-word plus screed about why I don't think the Civil War plotline would work in the MCU yesterday, my first thought here was "Curse you, Marvel Studios!".
So, here's the core reason why I didn't think it would work: the Civil War storyline in the comics was built on over thirty years of context wherein Tony Stark and Steve Rogers have a strong friendship. That was part of what helped make the Civil War storyline into the tragedy it was. We don't have that context in the MCU. Instead, the only context we have so far is Steve and Tony arguing fairly persistently all the way through "Avengers"
, and being shown as being pretty solidly coming from completely different perspectives all the way along. Yes, they manage to work together to fix the helicarrier and to fight the Chitauri, but we don't know how much of that is Steve and how much Tony - there are still hints of very deep ideological differences which aren't really explored in their discussion of Coulson's death. There are NO hints toward any further contact in any of the other films - no phone calls in Iron Man 3
or Captain America 2
(the nearest we get to the hint of a link is Tony Stark being targeted by the Insight helicarriers in CA2, but he would have been targeted by HYDRA because of his intelligence and his "loose cannon" attitude anyway, no matter whether or not he had a relationship with the Captain). We don't know what's going to be happening in Age of Ultron
yet, but I suspect they're going to be arguing there, too - we certainly don't see any signs of them working together in the one trailer which has been released.
So the Civil War plotline as it was being used in the comics isn't going to be feasible, because there just isn't the emotional context for it.
This means the Civil War plotline has to be rethought, which I know is going to get a lot of the fanbois up in arms. Hey, Kevin Feige has actually said it isn't going to be like the Civil War plotline in the comics (for which I am devoutly thankful). Fortunately, they're handing it to the Russos, who have shown they can handle tricky material (Captain America 2
in the wrong hands could have been terrible - instead it worked brilliantly).
I suspect it's going to be building on the events of Captain America 2
, and on official unease about and distrust of Steve Rogers as Captain America. After all, if you look at the storyline of CA2 from the outside, there's a LOT to be uneasy about. The man was declared a fugitive by a trusted bureaucrat and the head at the time of the agency he was working for; he vanished off the radar for two days, re-appears to assault another agent of the same agency, killing him (this is how they're going to push away Sitwell's murder by the Winter Soldier) and vanishes again. The next day, he's responsible for a terrorist attack on a major government agency, massive property destruction and the effective destruction of the entire US intelligence community - and he's vanished off the map once more and is apparently being PROTECTED by other so-called superheroes! The HYDRA sympathisers (not the outright members; there was evidence in the wrap-up of CA2 they were being purged) in the government will be wanting his head.
(Let's make it clear here: at least part of the point of CA2 was that the aims of HYDRA, and of the Nazis, were always
congruent with the aims of the upper echelons of any society - eternal glorification and privileging of their own, and suppression of dissent within the lower orders. This is why
HYDRA was able to snuggle itself inside SHIELD - because the aims of SHIELD were essentially to preserve the status quo, and to suppress dissent within the lower orders. HYDRA wasn't a parasite inside SHIELD - it was a symbiote.)
Anything which happens in Age of Ultron
will merely confirm the doubts of the doubters about the sanity and motivations of Steve Rogers.
So I suspect the Civil War will be run very much along the lines of "is this so-called Captain America a terrorist threat to America?" or "Has Cap gone crazy?" If the whole thing is run along those lines, I suspect the end of the Civil War plotline may wind up largely paralleling the "Nomad"
storyline of the 1970s - Steve Rogers resigns the role of Captain America, and goes off to look for America and see whether he can find himself fitting in anywhere.
 In this version, the Winter Soldier's appearance and attack is written off as "the Winter Soldier was Barnes, his best friend! Obviously they set it up to throw off suspicion!" conspiracy stuff.