Early Version of ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Had Ant-Man in the Spider-Man Role

Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely say an early version of Civil War had Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) recruiting Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) instead of a young Spider-Man (Tom Holland), whose rights were not initially available.

Markus and McFeely visited the Scum & Villainy Cantina in Hollywood, California, in an open Q&A session with Fatman on Batman hosts Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin, where they opened up about how Spider-Man altered course after several drafts on Civil War.

“[Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige] came into the room and we were way down the road — drafts, I think — and he said, ‘You might have to change one thing.’ And then he went [makes Spider-Man ‘thwip’ hand] like that,” Markus said. “And we went, ‘f—k you!’ [Laughs].”

The writing duo then confirmed they had to re-draft the movie because of their newfound ability to integrate Spider-Man, who was on loan from Sony Pictures, and whose rights were not immediately available for use in the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“This is the best pain in the ass I’ve ever had,” Markus said.

“So there was a moment where Feige is like, ‘We got Spider-Man,’ you’re like, ‘Yay,’” Smith asked, “and he walked away and you’re like, ‘God d—it?’”

“Yes!” Markus said.

“A little bit,” McFeely said. “That’s one where we had a lot of contingency plans on that, right, because you gotta get Downey, and Black Panther, are we gonna do that now? Is that a good time, what do we have for him? All that. So we had a lot of early options of where the pieces could go.”

Asked about the version of Civil War that didn’t include Spider-Man, McFeely said, “[Tony Stark] would recruit somebody else. He probably recruits Ant-Man, I think would be that idea.”

“Well, we had a section where you could recruit somebody, right?” McFeely said. Added Markus, “[Tony] actually went to San Francisco,” where the Avenger would have recruited ex-con and single father Scott Lang to Team Iron Man.

“It would not have been as cool,” Markus said.

“I believe [Scott] was watching his daughter play soccer,” McFeely added. “It wasn’t very good.”

Asked who originated the idea of having veteran superhero Iron Man play mentor to a novice Peter Parker, a relationship that continued to play out in both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War, “We did,” McFeely confirmed.

“Although — when Tom gets into a room with Robert Downey Jr, it is the relationship, right? It’s a young actor with a seasoned actor, doesn’t want to f—k up, you know,” McFeely said. “There’s so many — there’s about three or four lines in that bedroom scene that are just Downey, like, ‘Move the leg, I gotta sit here,’ and that’s just an actor talking to [another actor].”

“He was literally telling Tom Holland to move his leg,” Markus added. “That was not Tony Stark. He was like, ‘This is the part where you move your leg.’”

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“So Robert took that really well,” McFeely said.

Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man returns in Ant-Man and the Wasp, out July 6. Iron Man and Spider-Man return in Avengers 4, out May 3, 2019.