If there’s one complaint that can be had with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s the lack of depth given to its villains. For every Loki, there’s a lackluster cluster like Ronan, Malekith and Whiplash. So when you get a good bad guy, you’re going to want to cling to them and get them into as many movies as possible. Enter Johann Schmidt, a.k.a. The Red Skull.
Captain America: The First Avenger wasn’t a perfect movie (unlike its two follow-ups). It did introduce us to Steve Rogers and told his story of a puny runt turned super-sized hero quite nicely. The big thing the movie did was deliver a quality antagonist in the Red Skull. The distinct look was nailed. His madness to gain unlimited power was certainly present. Hugo Weaving gave a solid performance and thanks to the character’s ambiguous departure, he looked to be a contributing member of the MCU for years to come.
But The Avengers broke records without Red Skull. Then Winter Soldier came and nothing happened. Nothing in Civil War. There was no sense that Red Skull would ever play a role in Captain America’s life again. It seems strange, since a recent interview with Yahoo has Weaving talking about how his experience inhabiting the Skull was a positive one.
“It was fun to play; I enjoyed the outrageousness of the German accent that I employed and I enjoyed the extraordinary mask and costume, even though it was unbelievably hot inside it. I enjoy mask work; I enjoy trying to animate masks and reveal certain things that the mask itself might not reveal. V for Vendetta was another example of that, but there was less animation within that mask versus the Red Skull.”
Hmmm. Interesting. The makeup had to be a daunting experience. Red Skull looked intimidating and only hours in a make up chair can get that kind of result. Most actors wouldn’t want to go through that experience multiple times, so no one would fault Weaving if he decided to walk away from the franchise. However, he still seems down to reprise the Hydra leader if the opportunity presented itself.
“With Marvel, it’s pretty basic stuff: accept the deal and enjoy the ride. It’s not a major stretch for an actor, but on the other hand the difficulty with the Marvel universe is maintaining a link to a human dimension within such an extraordinary, technological CGI universe. In terms of me going back and doing another one, I don’t know. I’m not sure what they’re up to with the Red Skull.”
So that seems pretty cut and dry. If Marvel wants Hugo, then Hugo wants Marvel. It’s a symbiotic relationship that fans would happily welcome back. What’s interesting about the new remarks, is that it seems Weaving has gone full circle regarding a return to the role of Red Skull.This is what he told Collider a mere four years ago:
“It’s not something I would want to do again. I’m glad I did it. I did sign up for a number of pictures and I suppose, contractually, I would be obliged to, if they forced me to, but they wouldn’t want to force someone to do it, if they didn’t want to. I think I’ve done my dash with that sort of film. It was good to do it and try it out, but to be honest, it’s not the sort of film I seek out and really am excited by. As an actor, to do all sorts of different films is great. It stretches you in different ways. But, I increasingly like to go back to what I used to always do, which is to get involved with projects that I really have a personal affiliation with.”
It’s as if the two interviews came from two different people. So what caused Weaving’s change? Perhaps after years of reflection he realized what an honor it was to play such an iconic comic book character. Also, with the surge of Oscar caliber actors enlisted in the comic book movie genre, perhaps he came to the understanding that these movies are becoming a benchmark for actors. Join a comic book movie, and you’ve made it. Or perhaps… it’s because he’s getting back on the positive side of public relations, since The Red Skull is coming back.
Now, it’s not hard to figure out when we would see Schmidt again. During The First Avenger, The Tesseract opened a portal and sucked Red Skull to the other side of the Universe. On that other side… could be Thanos. After Ronan the Accuser snapped the neck of Thanos’ servant The Other, The Mad Titan is going to need a new right-hand man. Red Skull could hold that honor for the upcoming Infinity War, meaning The Avengers wouldn’t just be dealing with Thanos, but the brilliant scientific mind of Red Skull as well. In the Infinity Gauntlet comic (which the movie is rumored to be based on), Mephisto was the voice in Thanos’ ear. Perhaps on the big screen, it’s The Red Skull who could fill that role.
Who knows why Hugo Weaving pulled a 180. If it is because the Red Skull is coming back, he will be welcomed back with open arms by co-stars and fans alike. Let’s just hope the reign of terror from The Red Skull continues to be a thorn in the side of Captain America for years to come.