Captain America: The First Avenger never gets the praise it’s due. Sure, there’s a couple of weak spots in the film, but Chris Evans nails it out of the gate for Cap, the romance with Peggy Carter is genuinely sweet and, of course, Hugo Weaving was superb as Red Skull. Despite this, most assumed it’d be unlikely that we’d see the villain again in the MCU, primarily because Weaving absolutely despised the complex make-up and prosthetics and made it very clear that despite being under contract for more movies, he didn’t want to return.
Most thought that was that, but then came Avengers: Infinity War, in which Thanos and Gamora journeyed to the lost planet of Vormir to nab the Soul Stone and found an unexpected custodian waiting for them. Clad in ghostly rags and looking as if he’d undergone some kind of mind-bending spiritual transformation, Red Skull (now played by The Walking Dead‘s Ross Marquand) led the pair to the cliff, explained the need for sacrifice and watched as Thanos took his prize.
Marvel did a great job of keeping his return under wraps, but it seems that behind the scenes they were hard at work on making sure Red Skull looked the part. In fact, down below you can check out some of the unused designs for the villain, which show us what could’ve been.
As you can see, the designs run the gamut from a more traditionally Nazi looking Red Skull who barely looks like he’s changed right to the more ethereal version we got in the final film. I’m pretty glad they decided to mix things up a bit for him, though. After all, being tossed across the galaxy and left in isolation on a strange planet is going to do some weird things to – let’s face it – an already pretty weird dude.
We may get to see more of the character beyond Avengers: Infinity War, too, as the Russo Brothers have explained that “Red Skull is free to leave Vormir, and he is also free to pursue his desire for an Infinity Stone.” But with Chris Evans strongly rumored to be departing the MCU after Avengers 4, perhaps he won’t get the long-awaited rematch with Cap we’d all like to see.