Update: Frank Grillo now says on Instagram that he's "confirmed nothing."
Frank Grillo has confirmed that Crossbones will make an appearance in Avengers 4 but only in a flashback scene. After the shocking ending to Infinity War that saw Thanos wipe out half of the universe - and half of the MCU's cast - with one click of his fingers, fans have been feverishly speculating as to what the next Avengers movie may have in store. One common theory supported by set-photos and possibly hinted at in Ant-Man and The Wasp is that Avengers 4 will heavily feature time travel. Such a plot device would, of course, allow characters previously thought dead to return, possibly on a permanent basis.
One MCU character who was thought to have died is Frank Grillo's Crossbones. This HYDRA mercenary met his demise during the action-packed opening sequence to Captain America: Civil War when, in an act of desperation, he detonated a bomb attached to his body, taking out both himself and a large number of innocent bystanders. Although Grillo's character hasn't been seen in the franchise since, his death was a significant one as it contributed to the introduction of the Sokovia Accords which have since defined the landscape of the MCU and Grillo teased earlier this year that his character's story in the MCU wasn't finished.
Grillo himself has now confirmed that his character will have a flashback sequence in the forthcoming Avengers 4. Speaking on the UFC Unfiltered podcast (via CBR), Grillo simply stated: "He [Crossbones] makes an appearance in the next Avengers movie but it's a flashback."
Given the inherent secrecy of the MCU and the potential of a time travel storyline in Avengers 4, Grillo's use of the term "flashback" could have several implications. The scene in question could simply be a brief cut-away to an event in a previous movie to refresh the audience's memory. More interestingly, however, Grillo could be referring to a newly-filmed scene that takes place at some point in the MCU's past and would unveil more information about Crossbones, HYDRA, or something else entirely. If the latter proves to be true, this would tie in nicely to the theory that Avengers 4 will see characters traveling back in time to important points in the franchise's history to stop Thanos ever getting hold of the Infinity Stones.
Since Crossbones' death was such a pivotal moment for the Avengers, it makes sense that returning to that moment, preventing the deaths that led to the Sokovia Accords and thus keeping the superhero team together might help prevent Thanos' Infinity War snap. However, whether or not a scene that takes place in the past but fundamentally changes the future can be considered a 'flashback' is highly debatable. In either case, the news the Crossbones will return in Avengers 4 - even in just a flashback capacity - will undoubtedly please fans who felt that the character was taken out of the MCU too soon and had more to offer before his explosive death.
Source: UFC Unfiltered
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019