As the Internet still buzzes about the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it's easy to forget that we'll be treated to our next serving of Disney's other mega franchise (Marvel) before we return to the galaxy far, far away. Next May, The Avengers: Age of Ultron will hit theaters and perhaps set in motion some drastic consequences for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it progresses toward Phase 3.
A month ago, Marvel set the world into a frenzy by unveiling their full slate of upcoming films for the MCU, and one of the most talked about projects so far has been Captain America: Civil War. The third film in the Cap series is hotly-anticipated for several factors, including the role that Tony Stark will have in the proceedings.
Those with knowledge of the comic book on which the movie will be based know that there could be some serious repercussions depending on how faithful directors Anthony and Joe Russo are in their film adaptation. When Frank Grillo confirmed he had a multi-picture deal with the studio, we speculated that one of the reasons for that was for the filmmakers to depict his character attempting to assassinate Steve Rogers - even if the villain won't be acting on behalf of the Red Skull like he does in the comic.
Actor Hugo Weaving brought Johann Schmidt to life in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, and (as is standard practice with the company) agreed to a long-term contract at the time of his signing. Whether it's been Weaving's reluctance to lend his talents to more big-budget pictures or narrative practicality, the character hasn't been seen since Cap's origin story. With Red Skull having a key part in the comics storyline, could he be brought back for the movie version?
While promoting his new film The Mule, Weaving chatted with THR and discussed this very topic:
"I haven't talked to anyone about it, so, yeah, we'll just have to wait and see. No idea at all."
Granted, fans shouldn't take this statement at face value. Those involved with these tentpole films have a tendency to fib now and then in order to keep things interesting (remember all the Khan denials?), so Weaving could be throwing some misdirection at us. That said, he has been frank about his lack of enthusiasm for franchise movies in the past, so it stands to reason that the powers that be at Marvel have decided to explore other corners of the rogues gallery to tell their stories.
Moviegoers would no doubt enjoy seeing the fan-favorite character actor back in a scene-chewing role, but Civil War has a lot on its plate already without the re-introduction (it will have been five years since Red Skull's first appearance when Cap 3 opens) of a Phase 1 adversary. The high tensions between Stark and Rogers that boil over will provide plenty of dramatic content, and the film also needs to get us acclimated to Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther. Plus, Daniel Brühl recently came on board to play a mysterious villain character, so it looks like Civil War is set cast-wise.
In their report, THR says that some are speculating that Brühl was hired to portray a reincarnated Red Skull. While we can't comment on the validity of that rumor, Marvel hasn't been afraid to recast before (Hulk) and it is some fascinating food for thought. However, Brühl could have been brought on to play any number of villains, so we'll have to wait and see.
Regardless, we wouldn't bank on Weaving popping up in any Marvel movies any time soon. He seems to have moved past this part of his career and Marvel is at a stage where they don't need to rely on the stunt of bringing back an iconic character from their earlier films. More Red Skull would be fun, but most would agree that more Marvel is fun no matter who's onscreen.
Captain America: Civil War will be in theaters May 6, 2016.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.