There's been a concerted effort by the folks who made CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR to clarify to fans what's really at the heart of the film. Fan speculation, fueled by the ballooning cast of characters, and the knowledge of the scope and scale of the story, was that CIVIL WAR would be AVENGERS 2.5. In recent weeks, the film's cast and directors have made a special effort to say that this is not an Avengers movie. They want fans to know that this movie is very much about Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. And the center of the movie isn't necessarily the big superhero showdown that everyone has been focusing on, but rather Steve's relationship to Bucky Barnes.
It's been a slow burn, but if you go back to the 2011's CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, the folks at Marvel Studios have been cultivating a very special bond between Steve and his childhood best friend. Throughout that film and its follow-up, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, their relationship has been filled with brotherhood, tragedy, betrayal, confusion, and hope. Anthony Russo, in a discussion with fans on BuzzFeed's tumblr, spoke a bit about how that bond is explored in CIVIL WAR:
The relationship between Steve and Bucky is one of my brother’s and my favorite aspects of the Captain America movies. It’s so complex and tragic. They have a devotion to one another that is undermined and devastated by fate, and exploring how they endure that is fascinating for us as storytellers and fans. We feel Civil War is the best chapter yet in the story of their relationship. The character has gone from being Bucky Barnes to being the Winter Soldier, and now in this movie he is something else. We explore whether he and Steve can ever have a relationship again and, if so, what that relationship can be.
The implication of Bucky becoming "something else" in CIVIL WAR, is an interesting one. Fans might've assumed that, free of HYDRA's brain-washing, he'd revert back from The Winter Soldier to just becoming Bucky again, but Russo is hinting that it's not so cut-and-dry.
We'll find out exactly what he means when CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR comes out on May 6th.