But whereas Stan Lee and David Cross’ (Arrested Development) respective appearances were kept short and sweet, Marquand’s part was much more important in nature, as it involved him stepping into the shoes once occupied by Hugo Weaving.
That’s right, Ross Marquand played the part of Red Skull, a glowering supervillain banished to the far-flung planet of Vormir soon after he laid hands on the Tesseract during Captain America: The First Avenger. And so, for seven long, long decades, he stood firm as the keeper of the Soul Stone, and it was only when Thanos and Gamora touched down on Vormir that he was re-introduced to Marvel viewers – albeit with a different performer behind that demonic skull.
And thanks to Entertainment Weekly, Marquand has now shed new light on how the cameo came to be:
The biggest thing that Marvel wanted to do was come as close to the iconic role that Hugo Weaving did seven years ago and pay homage to it while also giving it a new flavor. Because Red Skull, once he touched the Tesseract, he goes into this intergalactic astral plane for 70 years. And as the Russo brothers pointed out to me — because I was trying to do a straight voice match to Hugo’s performance — and then they said, “You know, he’s been by himself essentially in this intergalactic prison of his own making for 70 years. He’s going to sound a little different. So we want him to have this kind of ethereal almost ghost-like quality to his voice, so if you can do that.” I think the reference they might have given is Yoda-esque.
It’s pretty clear that Joe and Anthony Russo used Yoda as a character template when handling the Red Skull of 2018, as Ross Marquand’s ghostly figure outlined the true nature of the Soul Stone, and the tragic sacrifice it demands.
It was about a week and a half. I had gotten the breakdown, and they had sent it to me so I said, ‘Okay, let’s go over this a million times.’ And, of course, I went over the source material and Captain America and watched that over and over again. For me, it was a matter of melding his iconic performance in The Matrix with the German flavor he brought to the character with Red Skull.
Finally, when asked if he’d be up for a return in Avengers 4, he said:
I don’t know. I can’t speak to that, and I think that I would obviously love to replay that role again anytime. It’s such a rich character, especially now that he’s gone to this intergalactic hellscape and he’s found his own prison there – not to quote Creed. That was a Creed song, right?
But he’s a changed man, and I don’t even know if he is a man anymore. He’s almost like this ghostlike deity, and he’s at the service of the Soul Stone now, and his sole purpose is to essentially guide people to this, but you have to wonder: Is there still a part of him that does have ambition? I don’t know. It would be really cool to see where that character goes. But that’s really a question for all the folks at Marvel and the Russo brothers and the writers. I certainly couldn’t speak to that.
Avengers: Infinity War touched down last Friday and it’s already reigning supreme at the global box office – so much so, in fact, that it now holds the record for the biggest opening weekend, well, ever.