The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had its fair share of villains at this point, ranging from the truly memorable like Loki, to the forgettable like Malakith and Ronan the Accuser, all the way to the ones who are probably going to be awesome but we really haven’t seen enough of them to know for sure (Thanos). In addition to their big name antagonists, though, what Marvel has done really well is sprinkle in memorable supporting antagonists throughout their films; characters who play small, but instrumental roles in their film’s plots, but aren’t tasked with being the hero’s main foe.
No name suits that description better than Frank Grillo’s Crossbones either, who appeared briefly in both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War. Despite being in the latter for only its opening sequence too, the character in many ways is responsible for everything that happens with the Sokovia Accords and the political conflicts between the Avengers in the rest of the film.
Now, as those who watched Civil War will remember, Crossbones’ role in the film ended fairly bombastically when he was blown up in his own attack on Captain America, which ended up injuring and killing multiple citizens in Laggos, including some Wakandan ambassadors, sparking the UN to draft the Accords. While recently speaking with Collider as well, Grillo confirmed once and for all that he is done playing Crossbones on the big screen after Civil War:
“If DeMonaco was still involved and they came up with a great idea, then I think I would do [another Purge movie]. Otherwise, I think I’m done. Same thing with Captain America. There’s nowhere for it to go, unless you’re Captain America or Iron Man. They were talking about it, but I was like, ‘You know what? I’d just rather not do it.’ I’m so appreciative and grateful to have been a part of something that big. I’m appreciative of The Purge. It’s become a part of the lexicon and the zeitgeist knows what it is, so that’s been fun. But, it’s time to move on. Don’t stay at the party too long, or you get knocked through the ropes.”
So it sounds like, based on Grillo’s comments here, like there were discussions inside of Marvel Studios to bring Crossbones back, in some form or another, in a future film. That’s not necessarily surprising since viewers didn’t actually see the character die in Civil War, and Grillo had previously teased that same possibility a couple of months ago, but it sounds like the actor himself may have been instrumental in the decision to keep the character dead. While that might disappoint some fans too, who were hoping to see the villain in his full form for more than just a couple of minutes, it’s probably for the best, like Grillo states.
There’s an admirable quality to Grillo’s comments here also, in his openness about not wanting to keep any of his characters onscreen for too long, in case they might overstay their welcome. Not many actors would be able to acknowledge a thing like that, and in fact, we’ve seen actors reprise iconic roles before, multiple times, that probably should have been left alone. Indeed, Crossbones wasn’t as notable or large a villain in the MCU as Thanos or Loki, but the character’s role in the entire Captain America trilogy (so far) is one of serious impact at this point, and it doesn’t seem as though Grillo, as an actor, has any interest in possibly softening that by having him return in the MCU when he shouldn’t.