Had Robert Downey Jr. not agreed to star in Captain America: Civil War (which looked like a very real possibility at least at one stage), Marvel Studios and the Russo Brothers had an alternate plan for how the Captain America: The Winter Soldier follow-up could go down. Based on comments made by the directors to Entertainment Weekly, it doesn't sound like this was discussed for more than a few weeks, but it's still interesting to hear what might have been had things played out slightly differently.
"There was a period where we did discuss a third act that revolved around the Madbomb from Cap mythology," Anthony Russo reveals. "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 charm of the Madbomb is that you turn hordes of people into berserkers. That was the physical challenge that Cap and company would have had to face."
Madbombs were dreamed up by Jack Kirby and used by a wealthy secret society called the Elite. However, Captain America 3 would have seen Baron Zemo be the one responsible for unleashing this hoard against the patriotic superhero. "The notion of the Madbomb would have been Cap having to fight civilians and how he would he handle that," Joe teases. "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?"
However, even more exciting is the fact that some of Cap's allies would have also fallen victim to the Madbomb, leading to Steve Rogers taking on his closest friends in battle. "Somebody you know has turned into a zombie and now you have to fight them," Anthony adds. "And there would have been the emotional component of that." Do you wish Captain America 3 had adapted this instead?