Joss Whedon, the man behind The Avengers (2012) and its sequel, contributed significantly to Captain America: Civil War. The Anthony and Joe Russo-helmed film provided answers to a number of unanswered questions about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as the nature of the rivalry between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, further details regarding Hydra’s past, and philosophical differences between the world’s superheroes.
But there was still one unanswered question, though: where were Hulk and Thor when their closest friends were fighting back home?
Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe has seen its share of billion-dollar blockbusters, it is interesting to note that Whedon purposefully left out Thor and Hulk, two of the biggest Marvel heroes, from Captain America: Civil War (2016). For what reason; he thought, do they not appear to be part of the instrumental battle in the $1.153 billion-grossing film?
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Why Did Joss Whedon Skip The Hulk And Thor From Captain America: Civil War?
The remarkable success of Captain America: Civil War was largely due to its ability to draw attention to the central struggle involving Chris Evans‘ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr.‘s Iron Man. Joss Whedon allowed for a more focused story that highlighted the tension that already existed between these two adored superheroes by purposefully leaving Thor and Hulk out of the picture.
The recently released book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios provided more behind-the-scenes information. Assisting Joe and Anthony Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (the Captain America screenwriters) had to decide which heroes would side with Iron Man and Captain America. They also had to choose which characters to include in the film without becoming mired in a long list of backstories. However, as quoted in the book:
“The two strongest Avengers, Thor and Hulk, didn’t seem to fit into this intramural battle, so Joss Whedon made sure they wouldn’t even be on earth when Age of Ultron ended.”
Mark Ruffalo, who portrayed Bruce Banner/Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, revealed that his character was initially included in the script for Captain America: Civil War. But it was cut out after the conclusion of the Age of Ultron. He once informed BadTaste.it that:
“The reason is too great to be revealed in this movie (Civil War). I was in the script but then they removed my character. They don’t want to reveal where is he and why. I don’t even know if Hulk will be back soon.”
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Chris Hemsworth Thought He Was Fired From Captain America: Civil War?
Chris Hemsworth believed that his Thor was “being written out” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since he was not present during the Avengers battle in Captain America: Civil War.
In 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, Thor would instead make a comeback for a cosmic adventure with Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who was already off-world after The Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron (2015). Hemsworth recalled the following in The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (via Comic Book).
“I remember being on the Age of Ultron press tour, and everyone was talking about Civil War. I was like, ‘What’s Civil War?’ I asked, ‘Are you doing a side-project or something?’ They’re like, ‘Oh no, Captain America, y’know? The next one is Civil War.’ I’m like, ‘Wait… Iron Man’s in that?’ And it’s like, ‘Yeah, but there’s not just Iron Man. There’s Vision (Paul Bettany). There’s Spider-Man (Tom Holland)…’”
Hemsworth claimed that there was an awkward instance when
“I thought, ‘This is it. I’m being written out.’”
However, Joss Whedon’s choice to keep Thor and Hulk out of Captain America: Civil War movie gave the other characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Scarlet Witch more important screen time.
Captain America: Civil War was the highest-grossing film of 2016, with a box office total of over $1.1 billion worldwide. Captain America: Brave New World, the fourth movie, is scheduled for release in May 2024.
Captain America: Civil War is streaming on Disney Plus.
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