What would really happen if a civil war broke out? New dystopian movie depicts conflict in near-future USA

(L-R) Alex Garland, Nick Offerman, Cailee Spaeny, Wagner Moura, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Jojo T. Gibbs attend the Los Angeles premiere of A24's "Civil War" at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on April 02, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Online conversations around potential conflict in the United States have gone mainstream amid the release of Alex Garland's "Civil War" film, with Americans questioning the probability of political upheaval and how they can survive the dire, though unlikely, event.

Ajit Shipekar, a data analyst with Straits Research, noted to Fox News Digital that director Garland has depicted a virus-caused pandemic, uncontrollable AI and societal warfare in his films and sees these issues as a reflection of current realities rather than predictions.

The "Civil War" cast told the co-hosts of "The View" on Wednesday that their new movie is a "love letter to journalism." The A24 film details the violent conflict in a near-future America following the secession of 19 states, although it's not made clear in the plot why they're fighting and explicitly doesn't have a "red states vs. blue states" framework.

The American Civil War, beginning in 1861, remains the deadliest conflict in the country's history, with approximately 620,000 deaths (approximately 360,000 Union casualties and 260,000 Confederate casualties).

Shipekar also noted that the military communications market was valued at $34.46 billion in 2021. It is projected to reach $48.3 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8%.

Given these statistics, Shipekar predicted that, unlike the Civil War of 1861, a hypothetical civil war in the future would not see a split into two opposing zones, such as Republican and Democratic, nor would it fall to "roving bands of anarchists and the like."

"In contrast, I think that various paramilitary groups and research groups, both those that are known as well as those that are secret, will come out, take over local or regional pieces of territory, and assert themselves as Medieval lords, propped up by any advanced military hardware that they may possess," he said.

While Shipekar believes there is a much higher probability of a natural disaster occurring versus another civil war in the U.S., he does not think the scenario is entirely impossible.

"In a civil war scenario, civilians must prepare to reduce casualties and maximize survival," he said.

Shipekar said civilians should expect intentional blockage of water access and an overwhelmed healthcare system. He added Americans should equip gloves, eye and ear protection, masks and sturdy shoes, protect windows with plywood, stack sand or soil outside windows and walls to reduce blast fragmentation, train in victim stabilization and minimize mobile signals in areas with military presence to avoid targeting.

Husband and wife Colton and Carrie, who run the popular social media account "Housewife Prepper" with nearly 100 million combined views, said people should prepare to live independently without the aid of other individuals in the community. That includes food for long-term storage, water, self-defense and a secure shelter.

"Dress to blend in so you don't draw attention to yourself," Carrie said. "It's a war zone, pretty much. So, when people ask, at what point do you bug out? That's when you bug out, especially if you live in the city. You kind of realize money can't buy you things at that time and that's when learning to live in that self-sustaining way is important."

Colton said to look at population densities and find an area with low human activity. He also noted that people should have a spare gas tank. That way, if they are driving, they can bypass gas stations that may be full or under the control of a malicious group.

Carrie and Colton also said Americans should acquire an old-fashioned paper map to steer clear of major U.S. highways and have a solar crank radio as well as a battery backup power bank.

"You got to think about the seasons and the weather. So, if you're going up north, you want to make sure that you can stay warm in the wintertime. You want to have adequate water. So somewhere that's near, whether that's a lake or a river. You want to have some form of food source. If you are by a lake, maybe you learn how to fish, or there's somewhere you can hunt squirrels, small game, or even larger game, like deer and elk," Colton said.

In the new "Civil War" movie trailer, actress Kirsten Dunst's journalist character provides one of the film's most potent quotes. The movie, which is rated R in part for intensely graphic violence, follows her and other media members on the front lines of the war's conflict that's torn the country apart. 

"Every time I survived a warzone, I thought I was sending a warning home. 'Don't do this.' But here we are," she says.

St. Joseph's College of Maine Philosophy Professor Jake Thibault told Fox News Digital that he also believes the true cost of war is its ability to erode humans' best qualities, leading to discrimination and violence.  

"In considering the specter of civil strife, we are reminded that our foremost duty is to cultivate peace and understanding, even amidst the throes of conflict. The true peril lies not in the actions of our neighbors, but in the erosion of our own humanity should we succumb to the tactics of fear and division," he said.