Hugo Weaving Talks ‘Hobbit’ Trilogy; Doubts Red Skull’s Return in ‘Captain America’ Sequels

Published 3 years ago by , Updated January 21st, 2013 at 8:40 pm,

Hobbit Trilogy Hugo Weaving Elrond Hugo Weaving Talks Hobbit Trilogy; Doubts Red Skulls Return in Captain America Sequels

Several years before Hugo Weaving donned heavy amounts of prosthetics to portray fiendish Captain America archenemy Red Skull, there was discussion about featuring the HYDRA head (no pun intended) as an antagonist in The Avengers. In fact, the same year Zak Penn was hired to begin work on a script uniting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (before Joss Whedon took over), Weaving was appearing in the final installments of two blockbuster trilogies, The Matrix and Lord of the Rings.

The actor intends to move away from tentpole fare and stretch his acting muscles further, playing no less than six characters of different ethnicity and gender in next week’s buzzed-about release, Cloud Atlas  (from Matrix directors Andy and Lana Wachowski). Of course, Weaving is reprising his role as Lord Elrond in LOTR director Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy and has a multi-picture deal with Marvel, so his franchise days aren’t behind him just yet.

Weaving was in person at the press day for Cloud Atlas, where he discussed reuniting with Jackson for a three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. As it were, he’s on the same page as everyone else, as far as his knowledge of the inner-workings of Jackson’s project is concerned (via Collider):

“I found out The Hobbit was going to be a trilogy quite recently, when everyone else found out about it.  Originally, when I said goodbye to Pete [Jackson] in L.A., I said, “I’ll see you on The Hobbit,” and he said, “Well, I’m not doing The Hobbit.”  And then, it was, “We are doing The Hobbit, but I’m not going to direct it.”  And then, it was, “Well, I am directing it now.”  And then, it was, “Actually, we’re doing The Hobbit in two films.”  So, when I went to shoot it out there, there were two scripts and two films.  Now, I’ve just found out [about the trilogy], not that long ago, when it was announced. He said, ‘Well, we’ve got all this fabulous material and these wonderful people.’”

The actor revealed that Jackson originally planned to conclude the second Hobbit film with a “final battle sequence,” no doubt a reference to the Battle of Five Armies from Tolkien’s novel (which was briefly rumored as a subtitle for the third installment). We’ve speculated the end of the second installment, The Desolation of Smaug, will directly set up that sequence in the finale, There and Back Again; when supplemented with material from Tolkien’s appendices for Return of the King, it should allow the film to serve as a bridge, linking Jackson’s Middle-earth trilogies (in terms of both narrative and overall tone).

hugo weaving red skull Hugo Weaving Talks Hobbit Trilogy; Doubts Red Skulls Return in Captain America Sequels

Hugo Weaving as Red Skull in ‘Captain America’

While Weaving (as mentioned) has a contract with Marvel, it does not guarantee the studio will exercise their authority. Moreover, although the writers behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier have confirmed that the sequel will feature flashbacks to Cap’s experiences during WW II, the actor doubts his fiery-skinned onscreen counterpart will be part of those proceedings:

“… I don’t think Red Skull will be there.  And it’s not something I would want to do again.  I’m glad I did [the first 'Captain America'].  I did sign up for a number of pictures and I suppose, contractually, I would be obliged to, if [Marvel] forced me to, but they wouldn’t want to force someone to do it, if they didn’t want to.  I think I’ve done my dash with that sort of film.  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.  As an actor, to do all sorts of different films is great.  It stretches you in different ways.  But, I increasingly like to go back to what I used to always do, which is to get involved with projects that I really have a personal affiliation with.”

Weaving also mentioned that Red Skull, should he be brought back, is more likely to appear in The Avengers 2 than any future Captain America movies. We know that Thanos is being setup to become the central villain in that film, building on his role in Guardians of the Galaxy and events set in motion by upcoming sequels like Thor: The Dark World. It is feasible that the Mad Titan could cross paths with Johann Schmidt in Whedon’s second Avengers movie (in the comics, both use the Cosmic Cube for their own purposes).

Then again, we weren’t sure whether or not Red Skull was going to show up in The Avengers until the film’s release. Hence, it might be a while before we know for certain about his involvement (or lack thereof) with the story in Avengers 2.


Here is the current schedule for Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Iron Man 3 opens on May 3rd, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8th, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014 and The Avengers 2 on May 1st, 2015.

Meanwhile, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters on December 14th, 2012; its sequel, The Desolation of Smaug, follows on December 13th, 2013; and the final installment, There and Back Again, release on July 18th, 2014.

Source: Collider

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  1. He’s gotta at least come back in Captain America 2 or Thor 2. I suppose they could recast the part if they want to let Weaving off the hook, but it’d be hard to find a better RS than he.

    • I agree. I thought he was great as Red Skull. But I guess they would just recast. I know he said he signed on for mutiple movies but, to me, I don’t see them bringing him back if he doesn’t want to come back.

    • Wasn’t there several other Red Skulls like the Green Goblin? They could go that route and then after Guardians and Avengers 2, they reveal that Schmit is back and really ticked off.

  2. I don’t understand some actors, he’s great and all but he seems to despise that kind of roles, the roles that pay good money, and he signed a multipicture contract, anyway I’m sure Marvel will find someone to replace him because I think Red Skull is a must have villian in that universe. Saludos de Mexico

  3. It feels like they want to bring Red Skull back because it’s a typical comic book movie trope to do that. However, it just doesn’t feel like there’s a place for him. He’d end up being kind of a secondary villain anyway.

  4. i loved him as Red Skull and it was a great villain, but i kinda wanna see a new villain. I really hope they dont fall into the rut of repeating villains too much. Loki has already been used twice and we already know Thanos is gonna make 2 appearances. There are more villains than heroes to work with.

  5. if he don´t like the role and is not involved with his heart like to the -l.o.t.r/hobbit franchises. then they should replace him with another actor in future projects.

  6. Can’t blame him. Red Skull was a horribly written one note villain that didn’t bring any tension to the film, despite Weaving bringing an excellent performance to a terrible script.

    Shame Marvel Studios has left such a bad taste in his mouth, as V for Vendetta was a wonderfully written comicbook movie and had a great performance. There is a lesson to be learned here.

    • i don´t see that so ! absolutely well written characters with weavings red skull too. and, why should marvel left a bad taste in his mouth. i´d rather think that weaving has no connection and couldn´t build symphaty to the figure -red skull-.

      • Lol. Red Skull in TFA well written!? That’s one of the best jokes I ever heard. Preactically Every review criticized his one note villain and the lack of tension between the protagonist and antagonist.

        • would that be practically every NEGATIVE review you read? it seems as though you dislike all marvel films.

          • Jeffro

            Blade is my all time favorite comic book movie. IM and TIH are my favorite Marvel Studios movies. If you go back to previous Avenger’s articles before the trailer dropped I was VERY supportive, despite the fact catastrophe that was IM2, Thor being mediocre and Captain America missing every point that makes him Captain America.

            I’m really hoping this Phase 2 brings back that quality story telling it displayed in IM & TIH, instead of their recent parade of light-hearted action-comedy. Adding cosmic elements into a story does not mean they should lack depth, which the recent movies have none of. It’s disappointing because with the wealth of excellent Eisner winning source material, these movies could have and should have been a lot better.

    • And I thought I was the only one who thought Red Skull was a terribly written villain. He was just bad for the sake of being bad and very one dimensional. It almost turned the TFA into a joke. Good choice Hugo isn’t wasting his talent on such a role.

      • +1

        Weaving still gave a wonderful performance, despite the horribly written Red Skull.

  7. He was great in Cap:TFA and Weaving’s Red Skull is one of my favorite CBM villains (only behind Ledger’s Joker, Hiddleston’s Loki and Eckhart’s Two Face) so this is definitely disappointing… although, not surprising: A while back he said that he doesn’t want to do big blockbusters anymore (which is kinda confusing seeing as he’s going to be in the Hobbit movies).

    It’s a shame, but I guess if Marvel wanted to bring back RS, they could easily recast and most people wouldn’t even know the difference (all the prosthetics and whatnot) – but I’m certain they wouldn’t force Weaving to do more movies. That would only lead to an unenthusiastic performance.

  8. Big deal, he was good but totally expendable…Red Skull is integral to the Captain America world so you need to bring him back in some form. i would just recast the actor and be done with it, honestly keep it all Red Skull and get a guy that sounds like him and you wont even notice the difference.

    If he doesn’t think being involved in the Marvel universe is worthwhile for his career then cut him (honestly no offense to Weaving but I think he’s an idiot) because the wait list of actors that want to be involved must stretch around the world

    • DO NOT recast just be done with him…..screw him but I HATE when movies recast IE. the incredible hulk, I loved ed norton as banner and Im very very glad they got Ruffalo to play banner, but I cannot even watch TIH because they are 2 different HULK’s and I think that is kinda stupid!

      • Lol. I just kinda keep pretending that all that stretching/growing his face and body does to turn into the Hulk time and again somehow changed Banner’s normal appearance from looking like norton to looking like ruffalo. (along with changing his voice from all the hulk’s grunting and various other differences between the two actors). Even with two different actors i’m still all for Hulk movies/apparences though.

        • LOL not a bad way to look at it…. I dont think anybody is as big of a HULK fan as Iam, and as good as Ruffalo was I dont really like Nortons hulk anymore to be honest!! Actually I dont like Norton anymore. I do like your thinking!

  9. So he’s tired after one CBM, but not from THREE freaking Transfomers and Matrices.

    Others would kill for this role and he wasn’t even sure he wanted to do this. Why the f*** did he even sign on a multi-deal then?

    He was a solid villain in Cap but if he has no passion for the character he can just go make indie movies instead of hollywood blockbusters.

  10. I still think Thanos will be a secondary villain in The Avengers 2 and that his real threat will span the entire Phase 3 after Guardians and Avengers 2 set up his backstory.

    That way, we have more characters appearing in Phase 3 to put an end to the guy who could be the biggest threat to the entire universe because looking at the Avengers roster right the way up until that magic June 2015 date when Joss Whedon’s contract ends, I still don’t see any way for Thanos to lose to them.

    We’ll see though but I’m gonna predict Red Skull returns in Avengers 2 alongside someone else (Surtur?) as the main threats.

  11. This stinks. I love Hugo Weaving, I wished they would bring back Red Skull for one more film to at least tell what happened to him.

  12. I feel like the Red Skull is an unfinished story. He must come back at some point.

    Not wanting to do it aside, Hugo Weaving is a great professional actor and I am sure if ever he is forced to return to the roll of Red Skull he will do so with the utmost professionalism and grandeur he is known for.

    • *role >:(

  13. Awww… Boohoo for you! Crying yourself all the way to the bank.

  14. I really want to see him again as the Red Skull. He did such a great job. I hope Marvel makes him come back. I don’t believe he would half-ass it, he doesn’t seem like that kind of a person.

  15. The reason why I say that it feels like Skull is coming back is just like Cap was resurrected in the modern era completely unchanged and preserved from World War II, the Skull would be completing the circle. They definitely have unfinished business. However, I don’t know how that business fits in with the other movies. Clearly, unless he sneaks in during that mid or post credits scene, he won’t be in Captain America 2. Sounds like he won’t be Avengers 2 either. Cap 3?? I might want to see some connection made between AIM and a resurrected HYDRA. You just know they are going to at least bring back HYDRA. “Cut off one head, two take its place.” C’mon, it’s too obvious.

  16. Gesh… That was pretty ugly. i expected him to be like “oh i loved playing him and if they ask me back i will be there… For the right price of course.” instead he was like “no… And they don’t even want to tangle with my lawyer.”

    That’s very shocking. i’m surprised that he’d turn down the role especially since he played in those matrix films. returning as the red skull would keep him relevant to young fans and reguvinate him for an extra 5 years. But i guess this is what happens after you’ve made enough money in the film industry. you can afford to get choosey.

    Good job screenrant for that scoop. well done. This is why i come here. to get the goodstuff. Screw Entertainment Tonight…

    • I wouldn’t put any stock in what he is saying now. A lot of actors (and producers, and directors) talk about how they are done with a character and property……at least until the studios start talking about the type of compensation they want to see. It’s a negotiation tactic that is basically saying offer me more money.

  17. he will be back because his story is completely unfinished. it will be a huge waste of a very important character if red skull doesnt return.
    without or without hugo he should return, and it can make sence since he was teleported to some next dimention (we assume) he could come back a stronger younger him. and an even bigger threat!!

  18. What I really want to see… is Thanos teaming with Red Skull, Mandarin, and one of the Asgardian for Avengers 2. Whedon said that the 2nd Avengers will be more ‘personal’, now how personal it would be for the team without their personal arch-nemesis, right?
    Let’s just hope Marvel can nicely ‘force’ Hugo to re-do Red Skull, cause I really like him for the part

  19. Since Cap 2′s featuring the Winter Soldier, what they should do is bring Ian Bliss in a bit of an actor allusion to portray Aleksander Lukin. When the movie’s over, he’s revealed to be the Red Skull, portrayed by Hugo Weaving (sorta like the scene at the end of Thor).

  20. Has anyone ever notice that Red Skull and Loki kinda ended up in the same basic position at the end of their first films? Red Skull was sent “somewhere” by the cosmic cube and Loki was sent “somewhere” when he fell into the bifrost’s vortex.

    It wouldn’t have supprised me if at some point in the Avengers they had shown that Red Skull had been at the same place as Loki and Thanos since the start of the movie. After Loki failed Thanos would send him to do Loki’s job (only alot better) only with the focus of retreiving the infinaty gems for him.

  21. I am afraid Weaving was not that impressive that he could not be replaced by another actor. Sorry, no one probably remembers what he looked like minus the red skull mask.

  22. Well, Marvel’s got a few years to change Weaving’s mind, hopefully by actually giving him something to do with the role this time (I loved Captain America, but I thought the script turned the Red Skull into sort of a non-entity). If not, well, they got away with recasting Bruce Banner (twice, I guess); they can sure get away with recasting the Red Skull.

    And I don’t begrudge Weaving his feelings; after LOTR/Hobbit, the Matrices, Transformers, and Cap’n America, I’m sure that he’s sick of big tentpole movies and eager to do some smaller pictures that will let him stretch. That said, I do hope he changes his mind regarding the Red Skull.

  23. Why is it that many actors only make one movie with marvel, then dont do anymore? is the fact that Marvel low balls everyone? whether they’re actors or directors etc?

    Agreed that Hugo did a great job as the red skull.

  24. That’s really unfortunate to hear.I think he was brilliant as the Red Skull. Such a wonderful performance by a terrific actor. I am aware that I am commenting a year later. :/