spider-man footage

How much of a challenge was it structuring that airport set piece on the page?

McFeely: It was a challenge. That’s a really fluid scene. So we wrote the first draft and Giant Man is in it [laughs], and Rhodey gets shot down by Vision. It’s like a lot of the big tentpole moments happened, and then we turn it over and a lot of other people were going to weigh in—stunts, visual effects, location. There were so many things. It’s got to be the most complicated action set piece, certainly in comic book movies. It’s really daunting.

Then it keeps going through version after version. Visual effects would come in and say, “Hey, here are some interesting things we could do.” We’d go, “Great.” Or stunts will do a section and say, “Hey, what if this fight goes in this way?” And we’ll say, “Great.”

Our job as it gets further along the line is to make sure that it all stays on character, it’s well-structured, and that it grows so that it goes from, “We’re trying not to hurt each other,” to “You just pissed me off!” to “We’re not all getting out of here.” So now our strategy changes. And then, of course, we’re rewriting lines all the time.

Markus: And also, it was very important for that scene to have an objective beyond it, perceived to be wanting to get somewhere else to do another thing. It’s not just, “We came together to beat each other down and the only way this ends if somebody is dead or unconscious.” It’s a giant fight, but it’s an obstacle to the plot in a way so that the machinery that we constructed for the plot didn’t grind to a halt because this fight happens. We needed it to be the end of act two and not the end of the movie.

When in the writing process did you learn Spider-Man would play a part in the story?

McFeely: He was always possible, not necessarily always realistic. From the very beginning, we knew it would be great if we could get him. And Kevin Feige gave us reason to believe that there were some ongoing negotiations and maybe it’s possible. So we did versions where he was in it and then he came back in and went, “Not going that well,” as any normal negotiations would. And then we moved pieces around and strengthened Black Panther as a character. We knew we were definitely going to use him, because we definitely wanted that splash panel to have as many earned participants as we could get.

Eventually, when the deal was done, it was bittersweet because we had a really tight thing going. Kevin said, “We got him.” And we said, “Great. That’s a lot more work for us. OK. Let’s figure it out.” [Laughs.]

[Laughs.] Were you both only collaborating with Marvel on the character?

Markus: We only had to deal with Marvel. Marvel dealt with Sony.

McFeely: Well, I think they sent the two scenes…

Markus: Yeah, they sent the scenes and then they came to set when we were shooting those scenes. It felt very freeing. They knew, 12 movies in, we weren’t going to screw them up. Marvel wasn’t going to trash them. So it was a…they were made comfortable and then they were enthusiastic.

When it comes to the future of the MCU, knowing where these characters are maybe going or how their arcs might end in Infinity War, did that influence Civil War at all?

McFeely: We had done the vast majority of the work. We didn’t know we were going to be writing Infinity War. So we only got the job when we started shooting. We didn’t really break that movie until after Civil War but had ideas along the way. So I think other than… Jack, you are in charge of spoilers, right?

[Laughs.] Yes. I’ll put a warning.

McFeely: Other than breaking the Avengers and shattering them and leaving them vulnerable for when Thanos comes to town, that was all we wanted to do.

Markus: Once we got involved with Infinity War, we didn’t really want much connection other than sort of softening up the players so that they were in a bad place when things went down. We’re writing two Infinity War movies that are dealing with a central issue, to then drag that into Civil War seemed like we would be accused of just endless franchise building as opposed to telling a story.

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