Fourteen months. That’s it. We are only fourteen months until Avengers: Infinity War finally comes to theaters. Since the mid-credit scene of the first Avengers outing, we’ve been slowly waiting for the Marvel Universe to build towards this moment. Now, the light at the end of the tunnel is slowing coming into view.
With the arrival of Infinity War comes more character than the mind can comprehend. Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, The Guardians of the Galaxy… hell, even Betty Ross is coming back. There are also new faces with Thanos, Captain Marvel, and whoever Peter Dinklage could be playing. With everyone jumping back in the pool, there’s no reason any major player should be left out.
So, this brings us to The Red Skull. Hugo Weaving gave an underappreciated performance as Johann Schmidt for Captain America: The First Avenger. That was way back in 2011! Since then, Steve Rogers has gone onto two celebrated sequels (Winter Solider, Civil War)… while Red Skull has been thrust to the opposite side of the galaxy, never to be heard from again. Until now.
There’s an annual tradition of people trying to squeeze Schmidt back into the MCU. Rumors swirled around Daniel Bruhl secretly playing Red Skull in Civil War last year (Zemo was supposed to be a cover-up). Skull was also rumored to be pulling HYDRA’s strings on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but that was also false. Unfortunately, he’s become an underutilized and forgotten ghost of the MCU’s past (much like The Abomination and Justin Hammer).
That’s why it was weird when he was randomly referenced by Samuel L. Jackson during an interview with Hot 97. Jackson was promoting his new movie Kong: Skull Island, but as all interviews involving MCU actors go, questions arose about his future Marvel plans. He didn’t divulge much, except for why Nick Fury didn’t drop by the last Captain America adventure.
“You didn’t see me in Civil War. I’m still out there trying to figure out what The Skull is going to.”
Wait… what? Skull! What Skull? RED SKULL!!! Now, perhaps Jackson just misspoke. He was promoting Kong and there are creatures called Skull Crushers in it. He’s been in so many movies that they probably all blend together at this point. However, what if he just slipped up? If you watch the interview (beginning at 34:34), you can see Jackson get wide-eyed and start to trail off. Did he accidentally drop a spoiler? It happens from time to time and perhaps this is one of those instances.
It also sort of makes sense. Follow me as I take a trip down this rabbit hole.
In the first Avengers, Loki used the Tesseract to teleport from one side of the universe to the other. When he arrived at a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Loki killed a couple of agents, brainwashed Hawkeye and Erik Selvig, and then laid waste to the entire building. The Asgardian came into Nick Fury’s home, slapped him in the face, and got away. Do you think someone as badass as Nick Fury is going to take that lying down? Exactly.
So, following the events in The Winter Solider, an on-the-lamb Nick Fury probably had a lot of time to figure stuff out. He clearly still has ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. and perhaps used those connections to go through the old databases in order to find out more about the Tesseract. From there, he could have read up on how Red Skull was a victim of the cube’s power and was seemingly vaporized (case closed). However, knowing about Loki’s travels, Fury could have taken the time to replicate the Space Stone’s power and open a portal to the other side of the galaxy. Immediately after arricing, he’d look to unload on some whoop-ass on whomever sent Loki over.
If that proves to be the plan, it opens the door for two possibilities. First, that could be how Thanos and his goons get to Earth without having to track down The Space Stone currently residing on Asgard. Second, should Fury succeed in opening a portal, perhaps that’s the route that brings The Guardians of the Galaxy to Earth. Could Red Skull be part of those two convoys (most likely part of Thanos’ inner circle)? He damn well should be! If not, at least you allude to the presence of Red Skull for future movies, all while keeping his legacy alive and well.
I’m going to keep wishing for a Red Skull revival. Aside from being a classic Marvel villain, Weaving would be just another amazing talent to add to the already stacked roster in Infinity War. To Mr. Sam Jackson: if you did drop a spoiler, don’t feel the need to apologize about it. With 14 months to go, we’re going to need little tidbits like this to get us through the next 415 days. It’s a long wait, but if we get a surprise like Red Skull… it will be all worth it!