It's safe to say that not a single fan saw the surprise return of the Red Skull in Avengers: Infinity War coming. During the scene where Thanos and Gamora traveled to the planet Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone, the two characters came across a cloaked figure who was guarding the golden gem, a wraith-like being with a familiar voice. When this presence was revealed to be Captain America: The First Avenger villain the Red Skull, fans everywhere gasped in shock.
The Skull informed Thanos that he had been trapped on this planet ever since his arrival on Vormir, after being transported there by the Tesseract. Then, he became the Stonekeeper, the eternal guardian of the Soul Stone, bound to guide would-be wielders to its location, but never once able to claim it for his own. While every single one of these travelers failed, Thanos succeeded after sacrificing the one thing in the Universe he actually loved: his daughter Gamora. The Soul Stone came in the possession of Thanos, who then left Vormir. But what of the Skull?
Well, while answering fan questions on Twitter to celebrate the digital home release of the film, the directors of the movie, Joe and Anthony Russo were asked if the Skull was now able to leave the planet. "Red Skull is free to leave Vormir," the brothers confirmed, "and he is also free to pursue his desire for an Infinity Stone."
In The First Avenger, it was the Red Skull's quest to take control of the Tesseract, aka the Space Stone, that led him to being imprisoned on Vormir. But now that he is free, the directors seem to hint at the fact that the villain might still be up to his old tricks. If the Skull still seeks the Infinity Stones, then it's possible the directors are teasing the character's return in Avengers 4.
Currently, the Stones are in the possession of Thanos, who took refuge on an unknown planet -- but nothing's stopping the Red Skull from invading his home and trying to reclaim the Stones.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Infinity War stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Tom Hiddleston and Josh Brolin. The film arrives Aug. 14 on DVD and Blu-ray.