Captain America: Civil War is giving us the toughest conflict in the Avengers franchise thus far, because it's Avenger vs. Avenger this time. Iron Man has a big beef with Captain America, and they have a handful of old and new faces on each team. But how do Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Falcon pick Cap over Tony — and how does Bucky pull a 180 from what we saw in Captain America: The Winter Soldier to want to fight the good fight? The trailer showed off some of the new alliances but still left us with those questions, so when I visited the Atlanta set with a group of reporters last Summer, the cast obligingly answered what they could. Here are the most important things to know about who's fighting for what in the Civil War, from the members of Team Cap.
Where does the movie pick up?
Chris Evans, who plays lead character Captain America, told us that the movie picks up the thread of Bucky at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Cap is "still on the search for Bucky. That's the thing about these movies: You go do The Avengers, you gotta put your own plot on hiatus for a second, and then we try to pick up where we left off. A big piece of that is searching for Bucky. But at the same time, we left off The Avengers [Age of Ultron] with a new team of Avengers. So they're still trying to break in the new members. And I think it's no secret that what happens is there's a world around them that expects a little bit more responsibility for their actions. The Avengers have been operating independent of any government restriction, so I think there's plenty of people that makes nervous."
Sebastian Stan, who plays Bucky Barnes, Cap's old friend who'd had a mild case of the psychos after he was also unfrozen and turned into the Winter Soldier, laid out the journey we'll see Bucky go through: "I think it would be similar to what [Cap] went through. Where we find the character is really where he's at the post-credits scene at the end of Winter Soldier. So that's where he picks up in this film. It very much is a big struggle, figuring out what his life has been about and what he's really been up to. That's what I think the similarity between them is. They're men out of time, struggling to embrace this new life, and how do they do it."
Jeremy Renner, who plays Hawkeye, echoed Evans's thought, affirming, "Marvel's really smart about continuing the storylines of all the different movies . . . it's pretty seamless. So where we left off in Ultron is definitely picked up in Cap 3 here, pretty smoothly I think."
Why are they fighting?
Naturally, not every Avenger who's been an Avenger is in this sequel, but contracts aside, the actors did a pretty good job of explaining how their characters end up in this Civil War. Elizabeth Olsen, who made her first appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron, had a compelling case for Scarlet Witch: "We leave Scarlet Witch without a home, without a family, and she ends up creating a surrogate family within the Avengers and making a decision to be a part of the team. I think a lot of that has to do with what Jeremy's character [Hawkeye] — like his attitude towards her and the speech he gives her at the end of the film. So we pick up with her having started a new life, but still trying to figure out what her abilities are, and if using them causes greater good or greater damage." It's simpler for Hawkeye, Renner asserted: "Barton is a pretty brass tacks kind of guy. Kinda get-the-job-done so I can go home. So I don't think it's very difficult for him to decide."
But what are they fighting about?
Watching the trailers, it's still pretty vague what everyone is so fired up about. On the set visit, the actors couldn't tell us then, either, but we still got some background on the issue that rips apart the Avengers. Anthony Mackie, who showed up as an ally of Cap's in the second Captain America movie, told us that "the conflict is moreso between them [Iron Man and Captain America]. I don't think anyone else chooses sides. I think we're all on Steve and Tony's side. The conflict is more with them and we step back and watch it unfold."
So, who's BFF and who's making love connections?
The Avengers are never particularly big on romance, but relationships in general will be key — hello, it's all about "Team Cap" and "Team Iron Man." Civil War will be big on the development of relationships of certain pairs. The most important one may be between Cap and his former best friend, Bucky. Bucky starts to remember who he was at the end of the second Captain America movie, and by the look of the trailer, he is good again — or will be. Evans confirmed that Cap and Bucky's relationship "is central. Any other person who has gone through what Cap is going through, I think there'd be a lot more . . . they'd probably bleed on people a bit more. Cap's such a selfless guy, he kinda stuffs all that down, which is a shame because there's a lot of good meat on the bone to chew on. In this one we get to explore that struggle a bit more. Again, I can't say too much, but this is a huge relationship. This is a huge piece of his history, it's a huge piece of his struggle, not just to have someone that he can connect to on a friendship level, but just the guilt that he must have. 'I let you go. I'm sorry.' Just the survivor's guilt element. So there's plenty to play with."
And what about a love interest for Cap? No dice here, but Evans talked about how much he personally enjoys working with Scarlett Johansson, who plays Black Widow. "I've grown to really like my scenes with Scarlett. [There's] something about that relationship, because I don't think it drifts into a romantic place. I think it's a place where we each just need somebody. She's kinda been a loner for a long time and probably avoided friendships for professional purposes. And I had no friends because I was frozen. But I think in Cap 2 there was this opposites attract thing where we kinda found camaraderie, and now it's like a really nice brother and sister bond. There's some nice scenes in this one."
That's not to say no one has crushes — Mackie joked about Falcon, saying, "In this movie I get to interact with everybody as opposed to just interacting with Cap. I get to continue my undying love affair with Black Widow, which is good."
There will also be more seeds sown about a relationship that does turn romantic in the comics — that between Scarlet Witch and Vision. Olsen told us, "I think there's something unique in the fact that her powers come from the same thing that powers him, and that is how we've made them have that specifically in common, as opposed to it being something else that the comics kind of created, which has been pure romance. But they do have something uniquely special because of that."
But not everyone thinks Vision is the greatest character ever — Mackie had a lot of fun talking about his love for putting down Vision — and his creator: "Vision is by far the easiest person to make fun of. He's always a good target. Vision is definitely my one guy because he's easy to make fun of. And Tony Stark. I don't know why everybody thinks Tony's cool, and Tony thinks he's really cool, but Falcon just thinks he's a nerd."