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After watching Captain America: Civil War, we now have a very good idea exactly where this thing is going to be going over the next few years as the MCU ramps up for the Infinity War in 2018 and 2019. Each hero who appeared in Civil War received a satisfying arc, and at the end of the movie each of them had a definite trajectory of where their next appearances will come from. So let’s talk about where these heroes will be going from here!
I’m going to break this down into three articles based on the teams that we see established by the end of the movie. First I talked about the “Secret Avengers.” Next was the “Mighty Avengers,” followed by what could happen with Captain America’s shield. This week we will continue this series by discussing the heroes that don’t fit into either category. Next week I have another article lined up to talk about Baron Zemo and his presumptive role in the MCU going forward.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
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Black Widow’s position at the end of the movie is easily the most tenuous. She was on Iron Man’s side of the registration issue and signed the Accords. However, during the airport battle she “betrayed” Iron Man by allowing Captain America and Bucky to escape. In doing so, she had to use her Widow’s Bites on Black Panther who was (understandably) upset and told Ross what she had done. Ross is (understandably) upset with her and wants her arrested, so she goes on the run. However, we do not know where she is running.
It is entirely possible that she will find her way to Steve and join his Secret Avengers. However, she had good reasons for signing the Accords—reasons which haven’t gone away, even if she allowed Cap and Bucky to escape from Leipzig. Consequently, I don’t really see her joining the Secret Avengers at this point. Besides, even if she were so inclined, there’s no guarantee that she’d be able to find them or that they would even accept her (espionage and betrayal are kind of her specialty, after all).
During the “Civil War” arc in the comics, there were a number of heroes that got burned by both sides and decided to just sit the whole thing out. Hawkeye, for example, tried being Captain America for a night, he was sent to bring in his later protégé, Kate Bishop (who was using the Hawkeye name). She told him (not realizing who he was) that she was taking the Hawkeye name to honor Clint, and that Captain America himself offered her the “Hawkeye” name and bow. Finally she tells him that copying a dead hero’s name and suit is “wrong.” Thus chastened, Hawkeye then walked away from Iron Man and went off to do his own thing and figure out who he was in relation to the Registration question before winding up with the Secret Avengers.
Personally, I think that Black Widow could end up doing something similar: she isn’t in the pro-Accords camp anymore; tazing Black Panther and letting Cap and Bucky escape burned that bridge. At the same time, she signed the Accords because she believed it was the right thing to do, and it blew up in her face; she’s not going to go back to Steve and his team at this moment, if they would even accept her. What’s left for her to do? Exactly the same thing she said she would do after Captain America: The Winter Soldier: go off and try to figure out who she is now. This could lead to any number of adventures, but unfortunately I don’t see any way for them to be told in the currently-announced movies. If they green-light a low-budget Black Widow movie this summer and schedule it for November 2018 (or something), they could tell the story of what she does (perhaps even working for S.H.I.E.L.D.) and how it gets her to the point of being involved in Avengers: Infinity War Part 2. However, that’s about the only way I see it working.
The best option for her would probably be either as a supporting character in another movie or leading her own Netflix series. If she appears in someone else’s movie, the only ones I could see her in are Black Panther and Ant-Man and the Wasp, and even that would be a stretch. Captain Marvel could be an interesting possibility as a way to explore her story following the Accords and bring her back into the fold in time for Avengers: Infinity War Part 2, but we don’t know enough about that movie to say where she could fit into it. I think Netflix would be the best option, since it could really dig into her character and her conflicted feelings over everything that she has done.
Most likely, however, she will just show up again in Infinity War and give a short explanation of where she’s been: “I’ve been doing my own thing, trying to figure out who I am anymore. When I heard this guy was here, I figured all that was moot unless we beat him.” And leaving it at that would just be too bad. Maybe she’ll get a tie-in comic?
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T’Challa had a very interesting arc in Civil War. He aligned himself with Tony Stark’s team for convenience because it offered him the best chance at catching and killing the Winter Soldier. During the discussion of the Accords it was clear that he was in favor of bringing the Avengers under U.N. oversight. However, does that necessarily translate to him wanting to be under U.N. oversight? After all, he is “both warrior and king,” and he cannot allow himself to be controlled by outsiders if he is to keep his kingdom safe (and retain his position—the historically-isolationist Wakandans probably wouldn’t stand for a leader who is beholden to outside influences).
The movie concludes with T’Challa offering Wakanda’s resources to Steve and Bucky, who take advantage of the opportunity to place Bucky back into suspended animation until his Hydra programming can be removed. When Steve comments that it could be dangerous for him to keep Bucky in Wakanda, T’Challa only responds, “let them come.” This mid-credit scene makes it clear to me that T’Challa and Steve are going to continue to work together informally even while Steve is on the run. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I expect Wakanda to unofficially support the Secret Avengers. However, I do not think that a high-profile hero like the Black Panther can officially fight alongside the Secret Avengers. Instead, I expect him to be a (reserve) member of the Mighty Avengers who only joins them when it is in Wakanda’s best interests.
We will likely get to see some or all of this in action in Black Panther, which is almost certainly his next appearance.
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As stated above, Civil War ends with Bucky in cryostatis in a Wakandan laboratory. Likely this means that the Wakandans are going to be using their resources (both scientific and mystical) to reverse his programming. Though this may not come up in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther movie, I really hope that it does.
Actually, I think it would be pretty cool if Bucky made his next appearance in that movie. Imagine this: Ulysses Klaue invades Wakanda with a group of vibranium-enhanced mercenaries looking to secure more vibranium. Wakanda’s defenses are holding but weakening, and Black Panther pulls out his secret weapon: the Winter Soldier. He revives Bucky and explains that even though they haven’t yet reversed his programming, he needs Bucky’s help to stop Klaue. Black Panther leads his army into battle and sets up an ambush where Bucky appears unexpectedly (with a vibranium arm) and turns the tide of the battle. One of the mercenaries happens to be a former Hydra soldier involved in the Winter Soldier program and attempts to reactivate his programming, but Bucky just punches the guy in the throat and crushes his windpipe so he can’t finish it.
If the Winter Soldier does not appear in Black Panther, the next time I think he could really appear is in one or the other of the Infinity War movies—probably alongside Black Panther and sporting a vibranium arm.
I think these characters’ stories following Civil War might be the most interesting, as they do not fit into a single box. Of the three, I am most curious what exactly is going to happen to the Winter Soldier now that he is back in cryo and in Wakanda with Black Panther.
Which of these characters are you most interested in seeing moving forward? Would you like to see a Black Widow Netflix series or movie? Let me know in the comments!