Civil War Stoking Fears Of Actual American Civil War

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

texas civil war

It’s often said that art anticipates reality. If that’s the case, we might be in trouble. Just take A24’s upcoming film Civil War, which blurs the line between cinematic fiction and political reality. Directed by the visionary Alex Garland, the movie is set against a contentious presidential election year—sound familiar?—and explores a dystopian US fractured under the dictatorship of a three-term present. Though the film is yet to be released, its potentially prophetic narrative has ignited a fiery reaction online.

Fears That The Film Could Act As A Blueprint

Indeed, as Civil War nears its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film & TV Festival, its timing spurs profound questions—all posed among escalating fears of real-life political violence. Particularly on the political left, would-be audiences fear that the film’s depiction of a fractured American might not merely depict contemporary societal divides but may well exacerbate them. 

Civil War’s conceivable “us vs. us” sensibility, left-leaning folks worry, may serve to inspire extremist groups—offering a vindication, even blueprint, for those already harboring violent aspirations. 

Civil War’s Release During Election Year Has Caught Attention

Poignant critiques online abound, such as one on an American Civil War subreddit, nailing the essence of this unease. The post conveys the disquiet inherent to entertaining the idea of a second civil war, the film’s fictional context notwithstanding. Others worry the movie will simply excite those lacking literary media into embracing the film as a rallying cry. 

Its plot details are as of yet minimal, but we know Civil War relates to a near-future America, a stark quasi-dystopia where typical red vs. blue alliances have given way to a new, strange political climate in which Texas and California are odd bedfellows. Sure, the film’s trailers have so far resisted displaying overt partisan polemics. But our present political climate, a veritable tinderbox of division, might collide with the film’s content in unsavory ways. 

The Texas Border Conflict


Worrisomly, conspiracy-minded posters on the right have suggested the film might be a psi-op of sorts, priming the public for inevitable conflicts between the Biden administration and Southern states like Texas over, say, border security issues.

Media Hype

texas civil war

But others maintain Civil War is merely a topical, excessively hyped sci-fi film—and nothing more. This online faction, not aligned strictly with the right or left, anticipates the controversy surrounding the film will mirror that of 2019’s JokerThe latter received outsized media apprehension, yet, in the end, was merely a film, one divorced from any real-life violence.

Joker did, however, earn a tremendous profit, meaning A24 is probably not exactly displeased with all the media surrounding their upcoming film, especially considering it’s their most expensive film production to date. 

Civil War Releases April 12, 2024

Holistically, the hot takes attending to Civil War serve as a meta-narrative about the role of art in troublesome times. In our era rocked by societal turmoil, online posters ask, can a film such as this catalyze meaningful dialogue and nuanced introspection, or, sadly, does it risk inflaming an already volatile situation? 

Ultimately, we’ll have to wait to see.