When Red Skull (Ross Marquand) returned in Avengers: Infinity War, it was a rather shocking revelation for fans who have watched the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the beginning. While the character did appear different in Infinity War, he managed to float and was draped in raggedy black shawls.
The character almost looked vastly different, however. In fact, according to some recently-released concept art, Red Skull almost look eerily similar to another character that's appeared in the MCU: Ghost Rider. In Marvel's The Art of Avengers: Infinity War, concept artists shared their take on the redefined character and with one example, in particular, Red Skull looked very close to the classic motorcycle-riding anti-hero.
According to Marvel Studios senior visual development illustrator Rodney Fuentebella, the art team knew that Red Skull was returning fairly early on in the development of Infinity War.
"We learned pretty early on that Red Skull was going to be returning," Fuentebella said. "I was so excited to work on this character that has been pivotal in the MCU. I was playing with how early the audience should know that this character--previously called the Stonekeeper in the script--is the Red Skull."
"I designed versions hiding his face and versions showing how much life or soul the stone took from him. I wanted to play with the idea of what the Soul Stone had done to him and whether he is a ghostlike being now or something soulless."
Talking about Red Skull after the debut of Infinity War, both of the film's writers teased the reasons why they chose to included the classic Captain America villain for inclusion in the Marvel Studios blockbuster.
"Cinematically, he's the first one to be obsessed with these Infinity Stones in the MCU and he clearly did not die at the end of First Avenger," said co-writer Christopher Markus. "The idea of where he might have gone is so tantalizing and much like being able to fill roles that would be there anywhere with William Hurt or Benicio del Toro, he fit this moment perfectly."
"The MCU is a unique experiment and the fact that we've been there for all the phases is a privilege but we know where all the bodies are buried," added co-writer Stephen McFeely. "Sometimes, you can dig a body up and put him in a scene."