When you’ve got a civil dispute that includes men in iron suits, elite assassins and one pissed off prince in flexible Vibranium, you’d kind of expect to see some lethal action resulting in a death or two. And before Captain America: Civil War even hit the big screen, those rumours were running rampant. After all, this was a film that was loosely based on a comic book series where Steve Rogers bit the big one and found himself gunned down in cold blood as he was on his way to court.
But in Captain America: Civil War, everyone walked away pretty much intact. Well except for Rhodey and most of Cap’s team who found themselves incarcerated but still! That ain’t too bad! But the film almost went very dark very quickly during the early pre-production phase, as directors Anthony and Joe Russo considered offing a hero or two in the third Captain America film. Including the star-spangled Avenger himself.
Anthony: We never talked about killing Cap in this one, right? No.
Joe: We did for a beat. We talk about everything.
Anthony: I think the thing to remember is, we do talk about every possible scenario over and over and over again for months and months and months. We talked about it. But it never made its way into a realistic outline.
Kevin Feige: Well, the ending was always more about fracturing the team completely before getting into Infinity War.
Joe: We talked about lots of potential characters dying at the end of the movie. And we thought that it would undercut what is really the rich tension of the movie, which is this is Kramer vs Kramer. It’s about a divorce. If somebody dies, it would create empathy, which would change and allow for repair, and we didn’t want to do that.
Kevin Feige: In the amazing comic book story, which certainly the conceit of this movie is based on and some of the specifics — during their big battle, which has a hundred times as many characters, a character dies. And we talked about that for a while. And, ultimately, we thought what happened to Rhodey would be enough of a downer.
Anthony: The tragedy is the family falls apart. Not that the family falls apart and then somebody dies.
And there you have it. It’s the death of the Avengers as a team that the Russos were after, as they dealt that concept of Earth’s mightiest mortals a fatal blow. Also, you don’t just go ahead and kill someone bankable like Chris Evans just like that. C’mon. The Avengers will of course get better, just in time for them to deal with Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.