'Avengers: Infinity War' Directors Reveal Why That Surprise Character Returned

Avengers: Infinity War had plenty of surprises woven into its mulit-pronged storyline, but no doubt one of the biggest twists was finding out that one particular character is still alive and (somewhat) well in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Warning: Major Avengers: Infinity War spoilers follow!

As we learn in one of Infinity War's most pivotal sequences, the Soul Stone is hidden away on Vormir, a planet in the Helgentar System -- which is itself a major MCU Easter egg. When Thanos and Gamora arrive on Vormir, they find that the Soul Stone is being guarded by Red Skull, who was transported to the obscure planet by the Tesseract, at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger. For reasons still unclear, Red Skull was condemned to serve as the guardian of the Soul Stone, ushering any who came looking for to pass the test of sacrifice.

For those Marvel fans wondering about Red Skull and his fate, we're now learning a bit more, courtesy of Infinity War directors, Joe and Anthony Russo. While speaking to Uproxx recently, The Russos laid out their breakdown about why Red Skull was chosen as the Soul Stone's guardian:

"Joe Russo: Somebody had to be the gatekeeper to the Soul Stone and somebody had to distribute the rules to Thanos and Gamora.

Anthony Russo: In a way that was credible and believable.

Joe Russo: Who felt credible to the audience. And 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 their trying to obtain it. It felt like there was more credibility than just a random character.

Anthony Russo: 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."

The Russos also addressed the other big question a lot of fans had - who was the face behind the Skull? It quickly came to light that The Walking Dead star Ross Marquand had taken over the role from First Avenger star Hugo Weaving, and the Russos opened up a bit more about how and why that change occurred, referencing Weavings past public statements about being done with Marvel. As for why Marquand was brought in? Here's what the Russos had to say:

Joe Russo:" Well, 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."

Anthony Russo: "And it’s a specific style of acting. Like, Josh Brolin couldn’t have been more thrilled by the opportunity of working in this very strange way. He remarked to Joe and me that he felt like he was in acting school again because this was all experimental and new. And some people are comfortable with that and some people aren’t."

Rd Skull's status is totally unknown at the moment. He was stationed on Vormir to be the guardian of the Soul Stone, but now that stone is gone, firmly implanted in Thanos' completed Infinity Gauntlet. It's conceivable that with his mission ended, Red Skull gets freed from his confinement. Seeing as how now even cosmic forces seem strong enough to kill Herr Schmidt, it wouldn't be surprising if he pops up again, once the MCU rolls into Phase 4.

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Avengers: Infinity War is now in theaters. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6th, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.