WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.
It's safe to say that everyone was left shell-shocked by the surprise appearance of the Red Skull in Infinity War. In the ensemble film, the Skull appeared on the planet Vormir as the keeper of the Soul Stone, a role he fulfilled ever since his disappearance at the end of 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger. The Skull had changed since we last saw him, floating like an ethereal wraith. But now, thanks to an old piece of concept art, we see that the villain could have looked differently in the World War II-set film.
On Twitter, Marvel Studios artist and Head of Visual Development Ryan Meinerding shared an old piece of unfinished concept art he had drawn for The First Avenger, a portrait which features the Red Skull armed with a sword.
This is an unused portrait of #RedSkull I did for #TheFirstAvenger It was going to be for the scene where he is having his portrait painted. I didn’t end up finishing it though so it was never used. #CaptainAmerica #MarvelStudios pic.twitter.com/b168JWXlmJ— Ryan Meinerding (@MeinerdingArt) June 12, 2018
"This is an unused portrait of #RedSkull I did for #TheFirstAvenger," the artist wrote. "It was going to be for the scene where he is having his portrait painted. I didn’t end up finishing it though so it was never used." Meinerding's unfinished portrait features the supervillain wearing a regal cape and resting mightily on a sword.
While it was only meant to be used for the Skull's in-movie portrait, it's intriguing to wonder what a fight between Red Skull and Captain America would have looked like had the villain been armed with a sword. Surely, the clash of the blade and shield would have made for an epic confrontation.
The Red Skull can currently be seen in Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.