Will Captain America Fight a ‘Frightening’ Red Skull?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated May 22nd, 2011 at 8:10 pm,

captain america movie cast villain red skull Will Captain America Fight a Frightening Red Skull?

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 Thing 570x194 Will Captain America Fight a Frightening Red Skull?

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.

Red Skull Will Captain America Fight a Frightening Red Skull?

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.

Follow us on Twitter @benkendrick and @screenrant and let us know what you think.

Captain America: The First Avenger hits July 22, 2011

Source: Total Film

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  1. the Ultimates Red Skull which is the son of Captain America is actually one of the best interpretations I have ever seen.Hes frightening.Like a cross between a convict skin head and a Satanic god almost.I hope that one makes it

  2. I think they should have Schmidt’s skin cut off his head then cauterized to keep that look without pain. And all that before the serum is injected into him so it wont grow back. Some kind of Nazi way of making a symbol of fear to the world. That would match up pretty evenly with the film I think plus it would make one very frightening but awesome bad guy. Kinda like Two-Face in Dark Knight.


  3. Ned Betty was in Cap. America? Huh, didn’t know that….

    • Neither did Ned Beatty :)

  4. What was wrong with the Thing in fantastic four? I guarantee it looks better than the cgi version that is coming’

    • I think that the Thing looked great in the two most recent FF movies.
      The FX were great and Chiklis’ performance was great but I disagree , Dr Sb ,about the potential quality of the coming cgi version .
      I think a cgi Thing will be able to be much more like the versions we’ve seen in the comics.
      For me , the Thing should be at least 7 or 8 feet tall , bulky , wide and just way bigger than an average human.
      I will admit cgi is not always a sure thing but it has taken massive leaps forward in the last several years .

      The Red Skull , I hope , will be a blend of practical make up effects AND cgi.

      • The original character is bulky but average height. Hulk was always the seven to eight foot “hulking” character. His height will probably rise if done cg. A blend of all the techniques to create one seamless experience throughout the movie is what is needed though. For some reason only Guillermo Del Torro is the only director that truly executes his creatures that way.

    • I agree Doc. I liked the way he looked and I like Mike as the character. I don’t think he will look very good in CGI. They might as well just go back to making cartoons. They might do it the same way they did Hulk though.

  5. ultimates red skull was the best, the nazi thing is out dated and over played. would have made a much more interesting film wit red skull as caps son.

  6. leave it up to red skull and the movie would suck..NO Illegitimate son based PLOT AND keep THIS FILM AS CLOSE TO ORIGINAL AS IT WERE MEANT TO BE.. if the GERMANS get offended by it..THEY CAN GET OVER IT:)LOL!

    • I agree. As far as I’m concerned the “Ultimates” story line is way over rated.

  7. never ever show that picture of deadpool again or whatever that thing is..its a disgrace to marvel,fans,and mankind

  8. yea they should go with the burnt off face look. I want to see bucky, is he going to look like a tard?

  9. Um i have a picture of the red skull silicone mask design. I’ve had it for a while and i was just wondering how i might be able to share it…

    Any help here Kofi, Ben, Vic?? Any emails i can send the picture to?

  10. I had forgotten how forgettable that Cap movie was. Best argument against a “classic” Cap outfit on the big screen.

  11. I couldnt care less whether or not they show how Schmidt got that appearance as long as its the original,Nazi,Hitler’s Protege Red Skull but the Ultimate LOOK would translate better on screen imo. With Weaving’s talent The Red Skull could easily be on par with Ledger’s Joker..maybe….or at least the 2nd best CBM villain portrayed on screen…..

    • Joker vs Red Skull. That is almost a slap in the face. Skull isn’t even in the same league as the Joker. As far as how well he will play the character and him being the best Comic Villain… Ian McKellan as Magneto and Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. Granted the last Superman movie was horrible but Kevin Spacey as Lex was awesome. I am also partial to William DeFoe as Green Goblin, Alfred Molina as Dr. Ock, and Thomas Haden Church as Sandman. Once again, I am not saying that these characters were written really well but they were casted and acted extremely well.

      • To me Red Skull has had the most impact on the Marvel U. as much Joker has in the DCU. I never said he would beat Ledger’s Joker I just said he could come close to it.

        • If I was going to say anybody made the most impact in Marvel U it is gonna be Doom or Magneto. Unfortunately Doom was not played well in the movies. What I meant by Joker vs Red Skull is that I don’t think there is even a comparison on who the better villain is. Joker is one of the most recognized comic Villains of all time. Red Skull is just a Lex Luthor wanna be.

          • Luthor and Skull are both physically outmatched by Superman and Cap but they have the brains. Has Luthor successfully executed a plan that would kill Superman? I know Red Skull has and that gets my vote anyday

  12. Basically a face with no skin on it an no nose ala THE BODIES exhibit WITH THE FREAKY Nazi tattoos and or branding will do. ABSOLUTELY NO illegitimate son stuff. Keep that for the comics.

  13. Doing a Harvey Two Face?

  14. Just have him survive an explosion, peel off some dead skin…make it look reddish brown, chopped off nose and crooked teeth. Almost like…well, if Joe Johnston wasn’t directing and George Romero was the replacement, y’know what I mean?

  15. No, I don’t know what you mean.

    Anyhoo… As truly frightening as the image of the Ultimates Red Skull is above (ran a shiver along my spine when i thought about it), it doesn’t seem quite accurate…

    If Steve’s son “flayed the skin of his skull”, then why does he still have ears? Ears are made of skin and cartilage. If he could somehow remove the skin from the cartilage, then the cartilage would still be there. But that kind of separation is almost impossible, except on a microsurgical level.

    If he didn’t bother with the ears, then they would still be the normal pink/orange-whatever color of skin. Besides, removing layers would cause the head to appear smaller.

    The only thing that really makes sense for RS’s appearance is through the burning process. Then you get the color without sacrificing mass. Unless you have an actor with a tiny head, then be my guest.

    I always liked the ’90 Cap movie. I thought is was very well done, with a good story, portrayed by great actors, with great costumes/make-up. I only had problems with 1 detail: RS was Italian, not German. I’m not an expert on the Cap comic, but wasn’t RS German? I always thought he was.

    Incidentally, I have looked for it on DVD, but haven’t found it. I have it on VHS, but how long is that going to last? If anyone knows about a DVD of it, let me know.

    In comparing RS to other villains, it occurred to me that he may be seriously under-rated. What I do know is this:

    1) RS was a genius/prodigy, unlike Steve. But like Steve he was a “super-soldier-type” experiment, that almost turned out the same.

    2) He has a global army of Hydra soldiers at his command, bent on world domination, whereas Lex only has a network of lackies, blackmailees, & exploited victims.

    3) He is in complete control of his faculties and intentions, whereas Joker is not.

    I’m not saying that RS is the most powerful villain in either universe. I’m just saying that he is a master of terror, not to be taken for granted… and that should show in the movie.

  16. What?! An FF reboot? Gimme a break… I loved the first 2 films, and have been hoping for a 3rd.

    Are they doing it because of the Thing? Do you realize how realistic that skin that Chiklis wore was? Just compare it to the pathetic rubber suit in the abominable ’92? version. I can’t believe that they think they need to re-do it in CG. What a waste.

    • @Jared, I agree with you. Unfortunately, that was a reaction to fan and critic reviews and poor box-office showings.. I agree. I thought the film was fine with the actors, make-up and special effects they used. Was hoping to see the Moleman the second time round — but there was such a push for the Surfer!

  17. It will look like crap like the cap costume. Remember we need to have a reason for cap to need a costume and red skull to have a skull if its to be realistic. Death to joe johnston!

    • Disagree with the article that the old movie had a top heavy skull. It looked good, especially for back then. A lot of the drawings in the comics became very top heavy and almost gorilla like, the eyes too sunken and the lobes too squared. I think they’ll take a page out of the Dark Knight’s playbook and do something cool like how Two Face turned out. Johnston worries me, Rocketeer director or Wolfman director? Which one is going to show up?

      • @Joe, we’ll have to wait and see how the design works! As for Johnston, likely the Rocketeer director from comments he has made about his part in Wolfman.