Of all the many secrets and mind-melting reveals tucked away within the fabric of Avengers: Infinity War, the one that arguably caught everyone off-guard was the surprise return of Red Skull, who appeared as keeper of the Soul Stone just as Thanos and Gamora descended on Vormir.
But whereas Stan Lee and David Cross’ (Arrested Development) respective cameos were kept short and sweet, Red Skull’s role was much more prominent in nature, and we know from recent intel that he was played by none other than The Walking Dead‘s Ross Marquand, who stepped into the shoes once occupied by Hugo Weaving.
His on-screen villain suffered a cruel fate, too; soon after he laid hands on the Tesseract during Captain America: The First Avenger, he was banished to the cosmos, where he stood firm as keeper of the Soul Stone for seven long, long decades – you know, assuming time dilation doesn’t have an effect on Vormir.
And now, with Avengers: Infinity War playing across theaters near and far, the Russo Brothers have offered up some new insight into Red Skull’s surprise return, who was resurrected in a way that was both “credible and believable,” and why they brought him back.
With a character who has been trapped – the Red Skull has been turned into this wraith who now guards the Soul Stone and distributes the rules to whoever shows up there trying to obtain it – it felt like there was more credibility than just a random character.
Bouncing off that, Anthony Russo added:
Somebody who has a history with the stones may seem like they have a little more authority in terms of their experience – especially a tragic experience.
And when it comes to the decision to replace Hugo Weaving, Joe Russo admitted that Marvel was left with little choice, as the actor made it abundantly clear that he was finished with the MCU soon after The First Avenger.
You know, he made a statement a couple of years back that he was done with Marvel. Ross Marquand did an incredible job of capturing not only the essence of his voice, but the essence of the performance – a haunted figure who is now this imprisoned spirit.
Looking to the future, and now that Avengers: Infinity War has cemented its status as a bona fide juggernaut at the box office ($1.16 billion and counting), fans will have one eye on Ant-Man and the Wasp ahead of its own release in two months’ time.