Here’s How ‘Empire Strikes Back’ Helped ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Keep Its Original Ending

By May 3, 2016
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Warning: This post will contain minor spoilers for Captain America: Civil War

Borrowing loosely from the Civil War comic book event, Captain America: Civil War was never going to be a simple film to pull off, and having seen it already, I think I can say with a fair amount of certainty that it’s Marvel’s most ambitious and complex film to date. Where the characters could have been turned into simple archetypes, they’re given depth and dimension. Nothing in Civil War is easy, and that’s what makes it just so triumphant at what it sets out to do.

That includes affecting the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some big ways. By the time the film is over, and I think I can say this without spoiling anything, the entire MCU looks different than it did at the start of the film, and it very much leaves the kind of impact that an all-out Avengers vs Avengers war would actually have on this universe, from a thematic and character standpoint alone.

While recently speaking with Birth.Movies.Death. as well, Anthony Russo revealed that he and the rest of the creative team would use The Empire Strikes Back as a way to keep the film as ballsy and complex as they had originally intended:

“In our pitch to get this movie through the system we would reference Empire constantly. In our heads that was how you could frame it – as a necessary down beat in the saga. You need those down beats. I think it was deep in the DNA.”

Joe Russo added:

“This movie had a controversial ending in development. It was a difficult ending to get pushed through. Just in terms of Marvel there were people who fell on one side of the line, who wanted a more traditional structure for the ending of the film, and there were people – like Kevin Feige – who pushed for a more radical, deconstructive third act. So Empire did become a little bit of a flag waving movie for us. It’s the down beat in an incredibly successful movie series, one where you could point and say, ‘You’ve got to have a down beat.’ People can tell you they love chocolate ice cream, but if you give them chocolate ice cream five days a week by Friday they’re sick of chocolate.”

Apparently, the ending of Civil War will have major, lingering effects in Avengers: Infinity War as well:

“There’s a lingering part of this that will impact Infinity War. Civil War isn’t finished, and it may take a very long time for these characters to repair. If they are ever repaired. Should they ever forgive each other? That’s the question moving forward.”

The Russo Brothers had previously called the ending of Civil War “complicated,” and while it’s certainly that, it doesn’t feel like it’s striving to be the Marvel equivalent of Empire Strikes Back either. Everything in the movie feels organic and authentic, which is arguably the biggest hurdle that the tentpole film was facing from the beginning. I don’t know how it manages to do it all if I’m being honest, but the way that Civil War ends, and the many fractures that it leaves in its wake, should be felt by the rest of the cinematic universe, in the many movies to come.

Captain America: Civil War is set to hit theatres on May 6th.

Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable