Captain America: Civil War was one of the most anticipated comic book movies in the year 2016 as it brought some of the biggest stars playing our favorite superheroes under one roof. Due to massive loss of life and property at Wakanda when Ultron threatened to blow up the entire Kingdom and Avengers had to come together to thwart his evil designs, the military establishment led by General Ross pointed out the need for oversight over Avengers’ activities at home and abroad.
As a result, UN Panel drafted Sokovia Accords which framed international rules governing the deployment of enhanced individuals and superheroes. They have to register with the government body to allow them to have checks and balances. But this created fissures among the Avengers as the team divided into two groups – Team Iron Man (who were in favor) and Team Cap (who were against). The movie was a huge success at the box office although Marvel fans had their reservations.
Captain America: Civil war is the end we deserved to the Captain America trilogy. As disappointing as the movie was for Marvel comic fans all around the globe (mainly because the entire civil war arc from the comics was reduced to a bunch of action heroes fighting in an airport, sadly the Marvel Cinematic universe is also plagued with the curse of adaptations).
The source material always outshines the derivation. The comic will always be better than the movie although it did a lot to further the overall narrative of the Marvel cinematic universe. The movie saw, for the first time, world governments working together to limit the movements of these self-proclaimed heroes. The United Nation’s version of vigilante persecution was brought to life in Captain America Civil War.
The entire premise started with crossbones breaking into a facility and Team Cap trying to stop him. What transpires next is a series of events orchestrated by Zemo (played by Baron Zemo) to create a divide between the two alphas in the group of Avengers. Baron Zemo is shown to be a Wakandan intelligence officer who lost everyone in his family during Wakandan seige and he holds Avengers responsible for his personal loss.
He brainwashed Bucky aka Winter Soldier and used him to carry out the attack in UN building where representatives of 100+ countries were assembled including Black Panther’s father King T’Chaka who died in a massive explosion. He managed to sow seeds of distrust within Avengers and turned them against each other, something which no other villain had been able to achieve.
The characters that end at odds with each other due to the conflict surrounding Sokovia accords and Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier. Captain America chooses to support his childhood friend in a hope to cure him of his brainwashing and permanently get his friend back.
But the end movie revelation is too much for Tony Stark to handle. What the movie does not address, however, is who hired Crossbones to go after the Avengers and steal the biological agent from the Institutes for Infectious diseases in Lagos, Nigeria.
Rumlow crossbones had been a thorn in Captain’s side since Captain America the winter soldier. He specialized in hunting down the Captain and after the “Death of Nick Fury” he was one of the primary agents who deferred to HYDRA and played a major role in taking down and dismantling SHIELD. The theory here is that crossbones was in fact hired by A.I.M. to agitate and take out the Avengers.
What is A.I.M., you ask?
A.I.M. is the organization that the Iron Man villain Aldrich Killian founded and headed and the same organization that perpetrated the events of Iron Man 3 under the guise of Mandarin and the Ten Rings.
As fan theories go, this is perhaps one that has an established symmetry to it and a particularly viable premise. The theory suggests that the organization founded by Aldrich Killian and Maya Hensen dubbed A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) had sinister plots leading beyond what it’s manifesto suggested. In the comics, Advanced aides Mechanics was a subsidiary of HYDRA created as a sub-organization task force. The theory takes this into account and suggests that the remnants of HYDRA are still running the AIM subsidiary and are still trying to go after Avengers.
The organization was lost in obscurity when Aldrich’s plan to be the leader of an arms race he creates to benefit his Extremis soldier product was exposed by Tony Stark during the events of iron man 3. The man is subsequently killed by Gwyneth Paltrow in the Marvel cinematic universe.
But the idea that AIMs name is still being used by remaining HYDRA operatives is viable. These men would also be in a position to manipulate Ramlow Crossbones and play him as a sacrificial piece to draw out the Avengers. It seems that this theory proves how there were not one but two separate villainous entities working behind the scenes in Captain America Civil War.
Furthermore, it is theorized fans that A.I.M. Is active in the Marvel Cinematic universe to present day. The fans suggest that Advanced Idea Mechanics has taken over the control of all HYDRA assets and is now operating independently of the main organization. The purpose, to win the war started by HYDRA and the Red Skull.
The reason for such a move being that HYDRA is no longer secret for a clandestine organization. The theory also teases the existence of an actual mandarin in the Marvel cinematic universe, suggesting that Advanced Idea Mechanics is a guise under which the Ten rings and the real mandarin are operating just to throw off any investigators.
Whatever be the case, it seems readily apparent that the reason civil war happened was not only because of a Captain America antagonist (Rumlow aka Crossbones) but also a member of the Iron Man’s rogue gallery (A.I.M. / Mandarin) suggesting that Civil War intended to focus on Iron Man.
There is also a fan theory that Crossbones might still be alive. When he blew himself up, Scarlett Witch intervened and created a force field around the explosion to save people and Cap but people still died which in many ways triggered Civil War. It is possible that he may have escaped with deep injuries as he was a tough dude. One way he could come back is through flashbacks where we see young Rumlow and how he was brainwashed by A.I.M. Another way is the return of Red Skull into the MCU of whom he was the right-hand man.
Frank Grillo has flip-flopped when it comes to saying in concrete terms whether Crossbones is alive or not. Here is what he said about the possibility of Crossbones being alive:
“There’s nowhere for it to go, unless you’re Captain America or Iron Man. They were talking about it, but I was like, ‘You know what? I’d just rather not do it.’ I’m so appreciative and grateful to have been a part of something that big. But, it’s time to move on. Don’t stay at the party too long, or you get knocked through the ropes.”
“I have three boys who are fanatical about Marvel, and I was surprised not too long ago because there is some news that nobody knows yet, to do with my character, that’s going to be really interesting and I’m excited about that.”
Here is the official synopsis of Captain America: Civil War released by Marvel Studios:
“Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side”.