Warning: This post contains spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Months before Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Marvel sequel was making headlines for an odd reason — namely, rumors that claimed Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce was secretly the Red Skull.
Of course, with the film now in theaters, audiences know that no such twist occurred. Redford’s Pierce had Hydra ties, yes, but that’s where his connection to the late Johann Schmidt ended.
“We did hear that rumor,” Anthony Russo, who directed the film with his brother Joe, told io9.com. “Fans are always trying to tie everything back to the mythology, and sometimes it’s good to subvert expectations. We wanted a very grounded villain for this movie: Redford as a top level bureaucrat. He’s sort of the Henry Kissinger for this generation, who’s gone bad. That felt like that fit more into the struggle that Cap was going through in the film and it was a better villain for him to oppose. A sort of ideological villain, versus a science fiction creation?”
Pierce wasn’t the only villain in The Winter Soldier, of course: By the end of the film, mercenary Brock Rumlow is still alive, but very badly burned. Is that a setup for Captain America 3, by any chance?
“We won’t confirm or deny,” Russo said, “but this could be perceived as an origin story for Crossbones.”
Captain America 3 will hit theaters on May 6, 2016.