Yesterday, we reported on new photos of the Captain America suit in action but what about arch nemesis, and Nazi terrorist, the Red Skull?

Marvel is still keeping the super-villain’s design under tight-wraps but that’s not stopping Kevin Feige from teasing us with a few details about what we can expect from the Red Skull on the silver screen.

When we first got word that Captain America would be facing off against franchise antagonist the Red Skull in the Joe Johnston film adaptation, I was a mixed bag of emotions.

Of course, the Red Skull is the perfect villain for the film but who can forget Scott Paulin’s horrendous portrayal of the character in the 1990 Captain America movie? Admittedly, that version never made it to the big screen and was ultimately released direct-to-DVD a few years later but there’s little doubt the character’s ridiculous appearance contributed to distributor’s choice to forgo a theater run. Sure that was 20 years ago but, considering the Thing’s stretchy rock-makeup in the 2005 Fantastic Four adaptation, as well as 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, you can’t say that a convincing-looking Red Skull is guaranteed.

Check out the trailer for the Captain America direct-to-DVD film, starring Matt Salinger, for a look at Scott Paulin as the Red Skull below:

The 1990 Captain America film took a traditional approach to the character with a top-heavy and cartoonish skull. However, Marvel appears to have something a bit darker planned for the Red Skull in the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger.

Recently, Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, spoke to Total Film about the Red Skull design:

“Hugo Weaving has been in the Red Skull effect, in costume for a couple of weeks now and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. We gave people a little taste in San Diego about what his character will look like but now that we’ve started to work with the actual skull it’s going to be a lot of fun and a rather frightening villain.”

The Comic-Con “taste” Feige references was pre-Red Skull, so he’s really talking about Weaving’s portrayal of the Johann Schmidt/Red Skull character – not the “rather frightening” design he describes. Certainly, having Hugo Weaving under the Skull is reassuring but he wouldn’t be the first solid actor to get undercut by terrible character design.

Cobra Commander, Deadpool, and the Thing

Like any comic book villain, there are countless interpretations of the Red Skull character scattered through the Marvel universe – but some would certainly translate better to film than others.

The recent Ultimate Comics: Avengers plot-line, which characterizes the Red Skull as the illegitimate/homicidal son of Steve Rogers, is arguably one of the most realistic and easily adaptable versions of the character, mostly because of the reason given for his iconic skull – he mutilated his own face by flaying the skin off of his entire head. The plot itself is somewhat convoluted but the character’s design, as featured on the variant cover to Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1, is certainly cool.

Really, combined with modern effect technology and Weaving’s acting chops, any of these could end up looking “rather frightening,” as Feige promised. Let’s just hope it’s the good type of frightening – as opposed to the “what were they thinking?” type.

Captain America: The First Avenger features Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull alongside Chris Evans as Captain America, Neal McDonough’s Dum Dum Dugan, Tommy Lee JonesHayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes.

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Captain America: The First Avenger hits July 22, 2011

Source: Total Film