Now that Ant-Man has closed the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Phase 2” slate of movies, we await the hero-vs-hero calamity that will be 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.
Except…doesn’t it seem too soon for that? Aren’t there only still about 10 or so superpowered heroes bopping around the MCU? That’s not a civil war, that’s a volleyball game.
It turns out that the MCU’s Phase 2 was more expansive than it seems. There are now nearly one hundred characters, most of them with powers or superior abilities, that could take an active role in Marvel’s Civil War! Take a look at the below graphic to see what the network of Marvel characters looks like right now. (Spoilers ahead for Ant-Man and Age of Ultron, as well as rumored characters and links in forthcoming Marvel Phase 3 movies.)
For visual clarity, the infographic does not include long-dead characters (like Iron Monger), minor non-powered characters (like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s FitzSimmons), or characters from the 20th century era of the MCU (like Howard Stark or the Howling Commandos). Even with these guidelines, the MCU has still become a big place.
Particularly notable is the central presence that Black Widow currently occupies within the MCU. She’s forged a variety of one-on-one relationships with almost all of the main Avengers roster, who in turn hold connections to almost all of the other characters in the MCU. This makes the dearth of Black Widow toy merchandise even more baffling.