Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Infinity War kept plenty of surprises out of the trailers, and easily one of the biggest ones was the shocking return of Red Skull, the villain of Captain America: The First Avenger. However, original Red Skull actor Hugo Weaving was not interested in returning for Infinity War, so the character was instead played by The Walking Dead actor Ross Marquand.
We heard rumors early on that Red Skull would return for Avengers 3, but no one knew quite how he'd factor in. After all, the last time we saw him he'd seemingly been killed by the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger. But as that artifact was actually the Space Stone, Avengers: Infinity War reveals Red Skull was merely transported - far across space to the planet Vormir. A minor planet in the comics inhabited by red reptilians, Red Skull appears to Thanos as he seeks the Soul Stone, and explains what he must do in order to obtain it. While fans were likely thrilled to see one of Marvel's deceased villains actually make a comeback, the character's original actor didn't follow suit.
Though most audience members probably didn't notice Hugo Weaving wasn't wearing the Red Skull prosthetics. Known for some TV work, including playing Aaron on The Walking Dead, Marquand actually got his start doing impressions on YouTube. As such, it's not hard to see why he was chosen to channel Weaving. But why didn't the original Red Skull come back for the epic movie?
Though Hugo Weaving has come around to Red Skull, the actor didn't have many pleasant things to say after first playing the character. While he's best known for playing roles in The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, Weaving isn't overly fond of blockbusters. What's more, he was not a fan of all the prosthetic work required to bring Red Skull to life. As one of Captain America's greatest foes, Marvel has likely always had plans to bring back the villain in some way, and Red Skull's disfigured face made it fairly easy to replace the actor playing him.
In the end, most audience members won't be aware of any of this and simply think it's the same actor. After all, Marquand does a decent Weaving and it's been seven years since the Red Skull was last in theaters. The bigger question now is whether Red Skull (and Marquand) will return to the MCU. We don't know what Avengers 4 will do to Captain America, but if he survives for another film trilogy then we could see his evil counterpart return.
Of course, Red Skull would need to find a way off of Vormir, and it's not even clear what sort of state he's in. After all, his ghastly nature and duty guarding the Soul Stone seemed to place him in a precarious position. But with Thanos having liberated the Stone, perhaps Skull is free to leave.
Questions like that will have to wait, but Marvel has proven they're not opposed to resurrecting characters and will happily recast if it suits them. And with so many villains in the MCU hiding behind masks, make-up, and prosthetics, Red Skull is hardly the only character that could make any easy return in the future. Regardless of what's in store for the character, however, his appearance in Avengers: Infinity War will go down as one of Marvel's greatest twists.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019