Marvel Cinematic Universe fans left Captain America: The Winter Soldier With at least one theory completely dispelled – and spoilers ahead for those of you that haven’t caught the film in its first week of release. It turns out that the popular theory that Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce would be revealed as a host body for the Red Skull’s diabolical mind has been disproven. The Red Skull still remains at large!
But how much longer can that remain so? Odds are he hasn’t returned yet because actor Hugo Weaving has been very vocal about his lack of desire for returning to the makeup chair. “I think I’ve done my dash with that sort of film,” Weaving said back in 2012. “It was good to do it and try it out, but to be honest, it’s not the sort of film I seek out and really am excited by.” But this is the Red Skull we’re talking about – one of the biggest bads in the Marvel Universe! Even if Weaving doesn’t return, here are five ways Kevin Feige and friends could bring him back.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season Two
If the ABC drama comes back for seconds in the fall, they could delight fans by setting the ragtag group of ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives up against a real bad guy from the movies – Red Skull. With Weaving out of the picture, they could recast the villain with someone more in their budget range, and now that Hydra’s influence has been exposed, it would make sense for the show to put one of Hydra’s most known leaders in the spotlight.
The Avengers 3
Of all the non-Loki bad guys in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Red Skull is the only one that could be a truly Avengers-level threat. Avengers: Age of Ultron already seems packed with bad guys, what with Baron Strucker and the titular evil robot already listed among the film’s new characters. Marvel could be playing the long game with this one, and Red Skull could be a part of Avengers 3. But how do they get past Weaving’s departure? They recast him with someone, someone they hire to play U.S. Secretary of Defense Dell Rusk – a.k.a. the false identity the Skull wore when he infiltrated the United States government.
Captain America 3
This makes the most sense, as Red Skull’s real beef is with Captain America. After all, Skull probably blames Cap for him getting sucked into a Tesseract portal. It’s possible that the theory about Robert Redford’s character could still come to pass in a third Captain America film, especially if they adapt the Death of Captain America storyline. In the comics, the Red Skull’s mind was stuffed inside the head of Russian businessman and criminal Aleksander Lukin. That means that until the Red Skull returns in any form, fans will speculate that any mystery character played by a big name actor could be revealed as the Red Skull’s new host body.
Red Skull One-Shot
The easiest way to get around Weaving’s departure would be to produce a One-Shot short film about Red Skull’s childhood in Germany. No, the adventures of Lil’ Kid Red Skull wouldn’t make for the cheeriest of One-Shots, but it would give a character that should be more prominent in the MCU a little bit more exposure. Greg Pak and Mirko Colak’s “Red Skull Incarnate” mini-series would be the perfect source material for this short.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Listen, we don’t know where a Tesseract portal would take you should you happen to be sucked into one. Because of that, the Red Skull could return anywhere or anywhen as anyone. When you think about it that way, having the Skull reappear as a vicious conqueror of worlds in Guardians of the Galaxy – or any other cosmic film Marvel’s planning – doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Similarly, he could pop up in a “Thor” film as well, thus giving the Marvel Cinematic Universe a little bit of “Acts of Vengeance” villain-swapping flavor.