Why is Marvel trying to keep such a minor character a secret?


Now that “Ant-Man” is in theaters, Phase II of Marvel”s Cinematic Universe has officially come to a close. Which means it”s time to look to the future and Phase III. It all begins with the star-studded “Captain America: Civil War.”

Most of the actors in question are either reprising their roles from previous Marvel outings or have been officially announced. The one major exception? Martin Freeman. The “Sherlock” actor is definitely on board, but in what capacity remains shrouded in Marvel mystery.

However, during a recent interview with Italian website BadTaste, Freeman was asked about his “Civil War” character. Surprisingly, Freeman gave everyone a few hints:

He works for the American government. He works in conjunction with the superheroes and certain agencies that help to…tame…the superheroes power. You”re not quite sure which side he”s on. It looks a little bit like he”s playing one game when actually he”s playing another.

While Martin could be playing a brand-new character created for the film, that”s not Marvel”s M.O. And there is one person in the footnotes of Marvel history that fits this description AND had a role in the original comic version of “Civil War.”

Meet Henry Peter Gyrich, CIA (or NSA) agent and occasional government liaison to the Avengers:

Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment

Other than his Earth-1610 counterpart (above) looking uncannily like Freeman, there is plenty of evidence to back up the suspicion that Mr. Gyrich is about to make his MCU debut.

First and foremost, Gyrich is part of the Commission of Superhuman Activities (CSA), a government entity dedicated to keeping the Avengers accountable for their actions. Kevin Feige has said the MCU version of the Superhuman Registration Act will not deal with the outing of superheroes – as secret identities aren”t really a thing in the movies – but instead focus on government oversight. Government oversight is what Henry Gyrich does best.

From his first encounter with the Avengers in issue #168, he has consistently been in a position of authority over them, one way or another. As the NSA liaison, Gyrich revoked the Avengers clearances in response to security violations, refusing to give them back until the team could prove themselves not to be a threat. Concerned by the bloated Avengers roster, he even culled the group down to seven, with special government permission needed by pinch-hitters before they could tag in to help save the day.

Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment

Gyrich was also part of the tribunal that prosecuted the Avengers for treason, was seated on the CSA when the council stripped Captain America of his title and uniform, and once attempted to completely eradicate all superhumans while under the control Baron Strucker”s nanites.

Of course, it”s not all bad news. The latest incarnation of Gyrich is actually an ally to the Avengers. As the U.S. government liaison to Wakanda – and Black Panther – Gyrich has assisted the team several times. Most notably Gyrich was involved in helping Falcon taking down the Red Skull. He currently sits on the CSA, along with Hank Pym.

All of this history is ripe for repackaging in “Civil War.” From Black Panther to Hank Pym to the Commission of Superhuman Activities, it all ties together in a neat little package. But why keep Freeman”s role a secret if he”s merely playing Henry Gyrich?

This wouldn”t be the first time Marvel kept a minor character under wraps. Speculation was rampant ahead of “Age of Ultron” as to who Kim Soo-Hyun was playing. No one would have guessed Dr. Cho, a throwaway character fished from comic book obscurity. Who know why Marvel keeps some things secret?

Probably so people like me will write articles like this.

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