'Avengers 4': Does Red Skull Still Have a Role to Play?

Avengers: Infinity War featured the surprising return of one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s [...]

Avengers: Infinity War featured the surprising return of one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most important villains, Captain America's old enemy the Red Skull. The Red Skull played a vital role in Thanos' quest for the Infinity Stones, but could he also have a role to play in Avengers 4?

Thanos finally learned the location of the Soul Stone, the last Infinity Stone he needed to complete the Infinity Gauntlet, thanks to his "daughter," Gamora. The Stone was located on the planet Vormir.

Thanos took Gamora with him to travel to Vormir, making the journey quick by using the power of the Space Stone. They found the planet almost entirely deserted but for one cloaked figure floating before them. Once brought into the light, this figure was revealed to be the Red Skull.

The Red Skull explained that taking hold of the Tesseract during the events of Captain America: The First Avenger caused the artifact now known to have been the Space Stone to send him to Vormir, where he has been left to serve as a guide and guardian for the Soul Stone.

We've previously covered how Red Skull's lust for power ultimately dooming him is similar to the story of another Marvel character, the Unseen, but it is possible that Red Skull is playing the role of another Marvel character specifically from the original Infinity Gauntlet series, which may mean he will have a role to play in the sequel as well.

As Red Skull briefly serves as a kind of guide for Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, the demonic lord Mephisto served as a kind of vizier to the Mad Titan in The Infinity Gauntlet. At first, Mephisto presents himself to Thanos as a kind of tutor teaching him to use the kind of god-like power that Mephisto himself has, though even Mephisto's power is less than that of Thanos with the full Infinity Gauntlet.

In reality, Mephisto was manipulating Thanos in the hopes that he would eventually let his guard down and Mephisto could steal the Infinity Gauntlet for himself. The moment came when Thanos was desperate enough to impress the impassive Mistress Death that Mephisto was able to convince Thanos to put limits on his own power so that the heroes readying to attack him stood a chance, thus proving his might and bravery to Death.

That's when Mephisto revealed his betrayal, assaulting Thanos himself and attempting to take the Infinity Gauntlet. He ultimately failed, but this marked a turning point for Thanos. In The Infinity Gauntlet, it was Thanos' own hubris and misjudgment that led to his downfall.

It is easy to see Red Skull playing a similar role. The Skull's thirst for power is central to his character, so it is quite possible that he is somehow planning to take Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet for himself. Perhaps Thanos seeks out more of Red Skull's wisdom after completing his mission to balance the universe and falls prey to the villain's manipulations. Maybe Red Skull is even in on the same long game that Doctor Strange appeared to be playing.

Either way, a role in Avengers 4 would go a long way towards explaining why the Red Skull was chosen by Infinity War's writers to be the guardian of the Soul Stone.

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