Unpacking the California and Texas alliance in A24’s ‘Civil War’ movie trailer

A still from the new A24 Films movie “Civil War.” SFGATE politics reporter Alec Regimbal unpacks the film’s fictional military alliance between California and Texas. 

Courtesy of A24 Films

Seemingly, the only thing California and Texas have in common these days is their disdain for one another. Forget our similar origins, rooted in an unflagging pioneer spirit and a burning desire to settle the West. The country’s two largest states HATE each other.

But in the fictional world of a new film titled “Civil War,” they appear to have set aside their differences to team up in a war against a tyrannical United States government. In the movie’s first trailer, which dropped Wednesday, the nation’s three-term president refers to their coalition as “the so-called western forces of Texas and California.”

Helmed by British director Alex Garland, and backed by the indie film studio A24, the movie follows a group of journalists — including a photographer played by Kirsten Dunst — as they travel across a country at war with itself. The trailer is chock-full of dystopian combat imagery, and includes what looks to be a particularly tense scene where a soldier played by Jesse Plemons (Dunst’s real-life husband) interrogates the journalists at gunpoint, asking them, “What kind of Americans are you?”


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Let’s take a second to do a little interrogating of our own. In reality, an alliance between Texas and California in a civil war seems unlikely (if for no reason other than disagreements on income tax). But Texas and California are probably the only two states in the nation with the resources, economic strength and manpower to take on the U.S. military, which is what the film needs to make the plot feel at least somewhat plausible.

However, I do think a military alliance between the two would make for a pretty formidable opponent. The average M1 Abrams tank would be no match for a Battle Edition Tesla Cybertruck, and I’d like to see U.S. fighter jets get past the (hypothetical) “Beauty and The Beast” anti-aircraft guns at Disneyland. Our main ally’s feeble power grid seems like a liability, but I’d say a few Texas-based companies have a lot to offer. I’m imagining advanced targeting systems powered by Dell, Tito’s Vodka rations and MREs courtesy of Buc-ees.

Plus, California and Texas are home to some of the loudest minds of our generation. Mark Cuban could put his money behind something more useful than the Dallas Mavericks, and Joe Rogan could pivot his “Experience” to a Telegraph resistance channel and become a modern Ernie Pyle (replete with helpful ads for supplements that ostensibly enhance your hand-to-hand combat skills). Then there’s Elon Musk, who commands the world’s most powerful troll farm west of Russia.

The movie trailer also mentions something called “the Florida Alliance.” If I were a general in this fictional war, I’d implore Gov. Gavin Newsom to make amends with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and get him to join us. I can picture it now: We’re at our forward operating base in Sacramento, stressing out over our losses in the field, and then DeSantis, like something out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, unexpectedly bursts in — dressed in a fabulous pair of lifted steel-toe combat boots — and rips the San Francisco poop map in two as a symbolic gesture of newfound friendship. 


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