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It’s Official: The Next ‘Captain America’ Is A Secret ‘Avengers’ Movie

Wow. That’s really the only appropriate response to Marvel’s official cast announcement for “Captain America: Civil War,” the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” follow-up that is absolutely, without a doubt, an “Avengers” sequel in all ways except for the name.

How do we know this? Because it stars all of your favorite Avengers, and that’s the official word straight out of Marvel’s mouth. Here’s the official lineup:

Chris Evans as Captain America

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Duh.

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man

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Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

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Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier

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Anthony Mackie as Falcon

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Paul Bettany as The Vision

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Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye

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Don Cheadle as War Machine

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Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch

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AND PAUL RUDD AS ANT-MAN!!!

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Scott Lang, welcome to the party!

In other words, it’s the main players from “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” plus the new “Avengers” squad introduced at the end of “Age of Ultron,” PLUS Rudd as Ant-Man, making his Marvel Universe debut in just a couple of months.

But wait! There’s more! There’s “Winter Soldier” holdovers Emily VanCamp and Frank Grillo as Sharon Carter and Crossbones, respectively. There’s the previously announced Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Martin Freeman who was just announced this week, Daniel Brühl in an unspecified role (that’s probably Baron Zemo), and William Hurt making his comeback as Thunderbolt Ross, after sitting out of Marvel ever since “The Incredible Hulk.”

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(Didn’t I JUST ask for Hurt to rejoin the Marvel Universe, by the way? Thank you for answering my prayers, Kevin Feige!)

The only core Avengers sitting out are Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. There’s no mention of Avengers supporting players and “Winter Soldier” veterans Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury or Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, either; maybe they’re in the mix and just haven’t been announced yet, or maybe they’re out of this one. Then again, there’s also no word on Spider-Man yet, and he’s rumored to be in the movie. In other words, plenty of time for more news to break.

For now, though, this is crazy. Madness, I tell you! And here’s some more madness — the official synopsis, according to Marvel.com’s announcement:

“’Captain America: Civil War’ picks up where ’Avengers: Age of Ultron’ left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.”

“Civil War” is out on May 6, 2016, almost exactly a year away — and it cannot possibly come sooner.

INNERSPACE CLIPS