Who can replace Spider-Man in Civil War?

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As rumours of Spider-Man joining Marvel’s cinematic universe continue to surface and then be shot down (the latest – denied by Sony – is that he may feature in Avengers: Infinity War), fans are keen to get the latest scoop. However, Captain America: Civil War has to be made soon and the question fans really need to be asking is: If the pivotal character of Spider-Man isn’t in it then who’s going to take his place? What they need is someone easily swayed, morally good, scientifically-minded and with loved ones who may be in danger due to their secret identity being revealed.

Some of Marvel’s biggest characters being licenced to other film studios limits the options, but Marvel could still choose any one of hundreds of characters. The ones we’ve already seen are already established and would be easier, but they could go with a previously-unseen character and turn them into a future franchise star. Here’s a list of likely suspects…

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1) Ant-Man:

He’s got his own film already and with any luck this could pay dividends in the grand scheme of things. If the rumours are true of a Howard Stark/Henry Pym connection coming up, the new Ant-Man Scott Lang may fall under the sway of Tony Stark based on that alone. Lang’s an electronics expert who would appreciate Tony Stark’s abilities, and has a lot to lose by going public since he’s got a daughter and a criminal record. Plus in the comics he actually worked for Stark before. Could this make Ant-Man the perfect replacement for Spider-Man? It’s looking likely.

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2) Black Panther:

There’s a solo Black Panther film in the works but he’s set to debut onscreen in Civil War anyway. Why not put him to good use? He’s a genius, which would make him an ally for Tony Stark, and revealing his secret identity would make all of his home country a target and up the stakes, although he doesn’t believe that Wakanda needs to fear any invading force. This could make him confident enough to go public like Spidey did, and with awful consequences. But would this be the right way to introduce his character?

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3) Winter Soldier:

For Cap’s former friend and sidekick Bucky, times could get tougher. We don’t know if he was taught anything about technology by Hydra but he seemed to have no problem adapting into our modern world, so he may be more techno-savvy than we think. If Tony Stark promises him a fresh start and some upgrades (or downgrades), the confused Winter Soldier could be pursuaded to sign on. It would be a smart move from Stark too: while revealing Bucky’s secret identity may not put too many loved ones at risk, it would be a calculated pschological blow to Captain America. And we do need to find out his fate…

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4) Patriot:

We haven’t seen Eli Bradley yet, but his backstory would certainly play into the Captain America mythos. The Young Avenger, inspired by Cap, Bucky and his grandfather, joined Cap’s team in the comic books and played a pretty big part. Like Spider-Man he’s young and impressionable, with a strong moral core. Tony Stark may offer to make him a better hero, and while he has family that he’d like to keep protected he may be encouraged to reveal his identity. He would be a new character for the audience but he’s instantly likeable and viewers could sympathise with him. He could play a big part in Marvel’s future if they use him right.

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5) Daredevil:

With Netflix almost ready to launch their Marvel TV shows, it may be a source for some big-screen cameo appearances. Daredevil’s previous outing in movies was disappointing, but this could put him back on the map. In the comic books his secret identity was cruelly revealed, so why not do it here? He has loved ones that he cares about, but it may be that instead of denying the charges he could choose to go public on his own terms. The problem is that he isn’t scientifically-minded enough, and will the fans emotionally invest in him like they did with Spidey?

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6) Power Man:

Another Netflix addition, and one probably better-suited to the task, would be Luke Cage: Power Man. He was firmly on Cap’s side in the comic books, but he’s going to be a new character to the viewers and his interesting and somewhat tragic history makes him sympathetic. Going public with his identity is a big step forward given his criminal record, but it would be just the thing that Stark would exploit to press home his point about how heroes need to gain public trust and follow the rules. The matters of how Stark could gain Cage’s trust, plus Cage’s his lack of scientific know-how are awkward, but it wouldn’t hurt to see a new addition to the MCU in a slugfest with Iron Man.

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7) Speedball:

Will the Civil War film feature the New Warriors’ tragic exploits in Stamford, Connecticut? If so then it would be a good way to introduce this ill-fated character and a smart way to get the audience on his side. Robbie Baldwin has some scientific knowledge in his background, and Stark could easily exploit his guilt over Stamford to get his support and make him go public. Not only that, but Stark may design the armour which could evolve him into Penance. It may not be the shiny Spider-Man armour from the comic books, but it could be something.

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8) Amadeus Cho:

This super-genius was already hinted at being on the hit-list in Captain America: Winter Soldier and maybe it’s time they showed him properly. As a fill-in for Spider-Man he may not initially appear the most glamourous character, but he’s one with a great sense of fun and could easily be wowed by Stark’s hi-tech gadgets. Not only that but he knows firsthand the dangers of going public with his identity and this could cause him to waver. Could he be the unlikely breakout new star for the future? Possibly so.

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9) Spider-Woman:

This could be a surprise appearance and almost a direct dig at Spider-Man not being in the film. While this may seem like an odd choice, it could introduce her to viewers and would generate massive fan interest in the media and in chatrooms. Further, it could set her up as a central character in the big picture. There have been several Spider-Women in the comic books, but her inclusion in such a pivotal role would boost speculation about just who she is and what her future could be in later films: a hero or an alien Skrull infiltrator. Plus it may appease the fans who keep clamouring for more female characters.

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