Earth's Mightiest Heroes were brought together in "The Avengers" by the death loss of Phil Coulson, and their struggle against Ultron led to the death of Quicksilver. However, the Avengers escaped "Captain America: Civil War" without a single casualty -- although James Rhodes suffered a serious injury -- and there's good reason for that.
During a Q&A following a Hollywood screening of "Civil War," directors Joe and Anthony Russo and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige laid out the thinking behind the decision.
"We talked about lots of potential characters dying at the end of the movie," Joe Russo said, according to HitFx. "And we thought that it would undercut what is really the rich tension of the movie, which is this is 'Kramer vs Kramer.' It’s about a divorce. If somebody dies, it would create empathy, which would change and allow for repair, and we didn’t want to do that."
The film of course was not without some character deaths. As in Black Panther's comic book origin, King T'Chaka was killed in an explosion. The villain Crossbones appeared to meet his end, although actor Frank Grillo seems to think his fate is still up in the air. The funeral of Peggy Carter also served as a pivotal moment. None of these resulted from the hero-on-hero conflict that was the core of the movie, however.
This is a major departure from Marvel's "Civil War "comic, which famously led to the assassination of Captain America (Joe Russo acknowledges they briefly considered killing off Steve Rogers, if only for "a beat"). The care the Russos put into this film shows, and after many test screenings they finally arrived at a point where they were satisfied audiences would be able to root for either hero.
Captain America and Iron Man will come face to face once again in the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity War." "Captain America: Civil War" is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.