Captain America: Civil War kicked off an era in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where the Avengers were broken apart and superheroes were treated like criminals – but Spider-Man: Far From Home makes it clear that era is over. The Sokovia Accords, an international treaty created in response to Scarlet Witch accidentally blowing a hole in a building during a mission in Lagos, Nigeria, called superheroes to account for casually hopping across the globe and fighting battles that destroyed property and resulted in civilian casualties.
About the Sokovia Accords
Ratified by 117 countries, the Sokovia Accords were designed to regulate superhero activity, with enhanced individuals required to disclose their secret identities and superpowers. The Avengers would be required to wait for permission from the United Nations before intervening in any international crisis. Some of the Avengers supported the Accords, while others didn’t. This led to a violent clash at an airport in Germany, which left War Machine partially paralyzed and landed several of the Avengers in a special prison called the Raft (though they were later broken out).
In the aftermath, Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow formed a splinter group, the Secret Avengers, while Scarlet Witch and Vision went into hiding together in Scotland. Ant-Man and Hawkeye were placed on house arrest, and Iron Man was left watching over a now rather empty Avengers HQ with War Machine. Rhodey’s belief in the Sokovia Accords had been eroded by the time Avengers: Infinity War came around. When Thaddeus Ross called the Secret Avengers criminals, Rhodey retorted that they were only criminals because Ross had chosen to call them that. And when they showed up at Avengers HQ, Rhodey cut off a call from Ross telling him to arrest them.
A lot has happened in the MCU since the last time the Sokovia Accords were mentioned. Five years have passed, half of the population of the universe has been wiped out, and two members of the Avengers sacrificed their lives in the effort to carry out Doctor Strange’s “endgame” plan. Now that the dust has settled, it seems as though the civil war is over as well.
The Sokovia accords are partly to blame for the snap
Thanos and his forces might not have been able to defeat the Avengers in Infinity War if Earth’s Mightiest Heroes hadn’t been so divided. Rhodey pointed out as much to Ross, saying that if it wasn’t for the Accords, Vision would have been at Avengers HQ and not hiding out in Scotland when the Black Order came for the Mind Stone. Vision’s injury in that initial battle weakened him badly, depriving the Avengers of one of their most powerful members (two, really, since Scarlet Witch stayed by Vision’s side for most of the Battle of Wakanda). Ant-Man and Hawkeye were on house arrest as a direct result of the Accords, and the rest of the Avengers were divided – resulting in Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man hitching a ride to Titan while the rest were left to hold back an army of Outriders in Wakanda.
Avengers: Endgame proved that a completely united front of superheroes was required to beat Thanos, and thanks to the events of Captain America: Civil War, that united front didn’t exist in Avengers: Infinity War. If that’s apparent to fans watching the movies, it’s almost certainly apparent to the people of Earth in the MCU, who had their loved ones ripped away from them by a cosmic supervillain just a couple of years after the Sokovia Accords made it harder for superheroes to do their job. It’s little wonder, then, that the Sokovia Accords appear to have been completely forgotten in Avengers: Endgame.
Team CAP are No Longer Fugitives In AVENGERS: ENDGAME
Following the Avengers’ initial failed attempt to retrieve the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame, there’s a time jump of five years. After this, Iron Man has effectively retired in order to live a quiet life with his family, while Black Widow and Captain America – once the world’s most wanted criminals – are no longer fugitives. Steve is attending a support group without fear of being arrested, while Natasha is coordinating Earth’s defenders from a command post in Avengers HQ. Avengers: Endgame doesn’t give away much about the wider state of the world, but it’s safe to assume that the sudden disappearance of half of the world’s leaders had a fairly devastating impact on organizations like the United Nations, and that enforcing the Sokovia Accords has dropped a long way down the list of priorities.
In fact, the Sokovia Accords aren’t mentioned at all in Avengers: Endgame, and the Avengers don’t seek any kind of permission before heading off into space to confront Thanos, going back in time to fetch the Infinity Stones, or taking part in a massive battle at Avengers HQ (though to be fair, they didn’t have any advance warning about that battle). As for the Avengers’ own civil war, Iron Man and Captain America make their peace before heading off on the mission back in time, and any lingering threads of the conflict died with Tony Stark. After dozens of superhero characters come together to put a stop to Thanos once and for all, it’s little wonder that the post-Endgame world depicted in Spider-Man: Far From Home appears to have forgotten the Sokovia Accords altogether.
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME never mentions THE SOKOVIA ACCORDS
Spider-Man: Homecoming made a point to call back to the events of Captain America: Civil War, with the Sokovia Accords being mentioned in one of Peter Parker’s classes. They didn’t have any actual impact on Peter’s own superhero activities, but since he’s a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man those activities were limited to New York City and Washington DC, and were therefore unlikely to attract the attention of the United Nations. In Spider-Man: Far From Home, however, both Spider-Man and Mysterio take part in exactly the kinds of battles that led to the Sokovia Accords in the first place: extremely public, extremely destructive, and taking place in several different global locations. But while Nick Fury and Maria Hill are overseeing operations (well, their Skrull imitators are), no one’s waiting for UN permission before fighting the Elementals.
If the Sokovia Accords were name-dropped in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War to remind fans that the fallout from Captain America: Civil War was still in effect, then their absence in Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home sends a clear message that the civil war is over. Captain America: Civil War kicked off a story arc that rippled throughout Phase Three of the MCU, but as Spider-Man: Far From Home brings that phase to a close, so too does it close a chapter on the Sokovia Accords and their place in the superhero landscape.
The SOKOVIA ACCORDS will be left behind in PHASE FOUR
We may not necessarily have heard the last mention of the Sokovia Accords, but if they’re mentioned at all in Phase Four of the MCU it will almost certainly only be in a passing line to confirm that they’ve been done away with. Unlike the comic books’ Civil War storyline, where the Superhero Registration Act had a lasting impact on the universe and how superheroes operated, the Sokovia Accords’ main narrative purpose was to divide the Avengers in preparation for Infinity War. The MCU is primarily character-driven, and while the movies do offer occasional glimpses of how superheroes fit into the wider world, it’s not the main focus of the franchise.
The point of the Sokovia Accords wasn’t to change the MCU so that future movies would involve a lot more paperwork, but simply to be an ignition point for the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. Now Iron Man is dead and Captain America has retired at a very old age, the arc that began with Captain America: Civil War is complete, and Marvel Studios is ready to start a whole new story in Phase Four.