This summer, the geniuses behind superhero-led features Iron Man and Thor delivered killer entertainment with Captain America: Civil War. We're not sure that would've been the case if they'd gone with a storyline that involved zombies—and they almost did just that.
The film's plot pitted Steve Rogers and Tony Stark against each other with conflicting agendas as to how they and their enhanced pals should operate—and whether government rule should come into play. Marvel's film adaptation of Civil War was explosive and tasteful in all the right ways, as usual making it difficult for rival DC to hold a candle to their work, as far as critics were concerned.
While Chris Evans was onboard for this follow-up to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Civil War relied heavily on Robert Downey Jr.'s involvement. Without a contract in place to keep Tony Stark around, the Russo Brothers began to ponder what options they had in case the billionaire genius decided on an early retirement.
Cue The Walking Dead theme song - that option involved was filled with zombies.
“There was a period where we did discuss a third act that revolved around the Madbomb from Cap mythology,” Anthony Russo said. “It didn’t have anything to do with Civil War, and if we couldn’t get Downey – in the very, very early conversations before we nailed him – somebody pitched the idea of a third-act that revolved around the Madbomb, which makes people crazy. It almost like zombifies them – but not literally.”
The 1976 Jack Kirby comic found the world in anguish after a bomb turned the surrounding population into mindless, uncontrollable, animals, courtesy of pulsating sound waves. While the story's culprits were known as the Elite, set on morphing the world into an oligarchy, the Russos explained that if they'd gone through with this mythos, Baron Zemo (Civil War's Daniel Bruhl) would have still been the film's central villain.
“The notion of the Madbomb would have been Cap having to fight civilians and how he would he handle that,” Joe Russo said. “We were always trying to put him into these interesting moral conundrums because of his nature. That would have made a compelling third act because if civilians are the antagonists, how could he stop them without killing them?”
While the Madbomb story never actually made it to the big screen, thanks to Downey reaching a deal with Marvel that will allow him to also be featured in the next two Avengers films, we can't help but wonder when Marvel will revisit the zombie option to adapt it for the world to see.