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Captain America 3's Storyline Almost Revolved Around The Madbomb

Few concepts in Marvel Comics are as utterly terrifying as the madbomb. Introduced in 1975 in "Captain America" #193, the madbomb is a device that, when detonated, causes everyone in range of the weapon to launch into a rage fit and attack each other. The psychological weapon is especially horrific because of its ability to take over people's free will and cause them to act against their own nature and moral compass. In the first appearance of the madbomb, Captain America and Falcon were shown three different versions, the two smaller madbombs dubbed the "Peanut" and "Dumpling," and a much larger version called "Big Daddy" which is large enough to affect the entire United States if set off.

Fans have been hoping to see the madbomb make an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a little while now, although some have pointed out that the first "Kingsman" movie uses a very similar device. In a discussion about the madbomb in the r/marvelstudios subreddit, for instance, u/cbekel3618 wrote, "I do hope we see the Madbomb at some point. I don't think it needs to be a viral agent. Just modernize the version of the comics for the modern-day. I mean, Kingsmen did the same plot in their movie using an app [if I remember correctly]."

Believe it or not, though, there may be an alternate universe where the madbomb already appeared in the MCU. In a recent interview, Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore explained that the third Captain America movie, which eventually became "Captain America: Civil War," was originally supposed to revolve around the madbomb instead.

Kevin Feige told writers to ditch the madbomb in favor of Civil War

In an interview with the podcast "The Town with Matthew Belloni," Marvel producer Nate Moore talked about how when the writers originally started working on a third Captain America movie, it revolved around the madbomb. 

"So we were developing Captain America 3 and we were [doing] really good," Moore explained. "'Winter Soldier' worked, people were back in, they're interested, and we were talking about a movie, and we knew we had to resolve, obviously, the Winter Soldier storyline. We wanted Cap and Bucky to ultimately reunite. ... And we were building the movie around a MacGuffin, around the madbomb, which, the madbomb goes off and causes normal people to start fighting each other." 

He added, "It's honestly a little similar to what I think they did in Kingsman," making it clear that everyone at Marvel probably saw the fatal flaw in this plot being it edging a little too close to "Kingsman." Anyhow, Moore went on to explain that it was MCU head Kevin Feige who made the writers switch gears and pivot from the madbomb to Civil War, saying that the madbomb wasn't a big enough threat to carry the movie. Feige is quoted as simply telling the writers room, per Moore, "Stop with the Madbomb, you guys are doing Civil War." 

This isn't the first time the abandoned madbomb plot has come up. In a 2016 interview with EW, Joe Russo explained that his favorite part about the abandoned madbomb story was the moral conundrum it put Captain America (Chris Evans) into as he would be forced to fight civilians. But just because the madbomb was cut from the third "Captain America" film, that doesn't mean that the concept can't return to the MCU.

Will the madbomb ever appear in the MCU?

Almost anything is possible in the MCU going forward. As The Direct points out, with all the time that the writers put in to developing the madbomb storyline for "Captain America 3," it's possible that they might not want to see that work go to waste — and might, in fact, want to use it again. Perhaps it will be the perfect weapon for the upcoming fourth Captain America film, "Captain America: New World Order" in which Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) will finally rise to prominence as the new Captain America.

We already know that "Captain America: New World Order" will be unexpectedly bringing back Hulk villain the Leader (Tim Blake Nelson) into the fray, presumably as the cental antagonist. The Leader was introduced in 1964 in "Tales to Astonish" #62 as a villain who is powered by gamma radiation, much like the Hulk, but the radiation affects his mind instead of his body, making him a megalomaniacal genius. It wouldn't be that surprising to see a villain like that using the madbomb in his plot to take over the world, especially if he designs a variant that can effectively demolish entire countries. 

For now, it remains to be seen if the madbomb will make an appearance in "New World Order," but after all the twists and turns that the MCU has gone through, fans should not be surprised by anything that happens at this point.