'Avengers: Infinity War' Directors Explain Why Thanos' Victory Was Good News for Red Skull

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Spoilers for “Avengers: Infinity War” ahead. Don’t read if you haven’t seen it!

With that finger-snap at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War,” Thanos made the future extremely uncertain for a ton of Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes. But the movie’s directors have confirmed there’s at least one character for whom the Mad Titan’s gut-punch victory was extremely good news: Red Skull, whose surprise appearance was one of the film’s big twists.

On Twitter Friday night, “Infinity War” directors Joe and Anthony Russo fielded a fan question about Red Skull (Ross Marquand), and kind of implied we might be getting more of him in the future.

Just in case you didn’t see “Infinity War” but for some reason are still reading this: Late in the film Thanos (Josh Brolin) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) head to a planet called Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone. That’s one of the six all-powerful Infinity Stones Thanos needs to wipe out half of all life in the universe. Once there, they’re greeted by Red Skull, revealed to be the keeper of the Soul Stone.

Also Read: A Complete Timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Photos)

Red Skull last appeared way back in 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger,” where he tried to use the powerful artifact called the Tesseract — later confirmed to be the Space Infinity Stone — to take over the world. That backfired horribly, with Red Skull seemingly killed when he was sucked through a spacetime portal at the end of the movie.

But it wasn’t clear exactly what happened to him until “Infinity War,” where it’s explained that as someone who tried to control an Infinity Stone, he was bound to another one — the Soul Stone. Or as he says, forced to guide others to something he can never possess himself.

Red Skull tells Thanos that he has to sacrifice something he loves to gain the Soul Stone. Thanos does so by killing Gamora, after which he wakes up at the bottom of the mountain where he found Red Skull, with the stone in hand. What happened to Red Skull, though, is never discussed.

Also Read: This Obscure Marvel Hero May Be Key to ‘Captain Marvel’ and “Avengers 4’

But during their fan Q&A on Twitter, the Russos explained that with the Soul Stone in Thanos’ possession, Red Skull is no longer bound to Vormir and is free to leave. They also hinted at a possible future for Red Skull.

“Red Skull is free to leave Vormir, and he is also free to pursue his desire for an Infinity Stone,” the directors wrote.

Red Skull is free to leave Vormir, and he is also free to pursue his desire for an Infinity Stone. – Russo Brothers #InfinityWar #VuduViewingParty https://t.co/BoQCFbYPUv

— The Avengers (@Avengers) August 4, 2018

Also Read: The ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Deleted Scene That Should Have Been in the Movie

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Red Skull is definitely showing up anytime soon, but like his not-quite-death in “Captain America,” the door is wide open for his return. Especially in light of something the “Infinity War” writers said in the audio commentary on the home video release.

The idea to make Red Skull the guide to the Soul Stone on Vormir served a purpose for the script, writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus said. Butin addition it fulfilled a longtime wish for the pair, who also wrote all three “Captain America” movies. They said they had ‘a fetish’ for bringing the Red Skull back to the MCU, and Vormir gave them that opportunity.

As an added bonus, go back and rewatch “The First Avenger” to see for yourself how well Red Skull’s appearance in “Infinity War” is supported by his fate in the earlier film. But you’ll still have to wait until next April to see if he returns, again.

All 52 Marvel Movies Ranked, Including ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’


  • every marvel movie ranked deadpool 2 avengers infinity war ant-man and the wasp

    With over 30 years of theatrically released Marvel movies, it’s always a good a time to rank ’em all, from “Howard the Duck” to this summer’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Deadpool 2” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”



  • fantastic four rise of the silver surfer

    52. “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”

    Just a nightmare. A total nightmare. There have been a number of bad superhero movies, but from the talking gas cloud the filmmakers cast as Galactus to Jessica Alba‘s dye job, this one transcends bad.



  • xmen origins wolverine

    51. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

    A totally chaotic stir fry of nonsense that tells the story of how Wolverine got his claws. Features an early version of Deadpool (also played by Ryan Reynolds) whose mouth is stapled shut, which should tell you all you need to know about it.



  • elektra

    50. “Elektra”

    That five minutes when they tried to turn Jennifer Garner into an action star went about as well as it should have.



  • xmen the last stand

    49. “X-Men: The Last Stand”

    Just a total mess, incoherent from the word “go.” After losing director of the first two X-Men films Brian Singer to the first Superman reboot attempt, replacement Matthew Vaughn gave way to eventual director Brett Ratner, who might have killed off the superhero genre entirely were “Spider-Man” not blowing up the box office.



  • Fantastic Four

    48. “Fantastic Four” (2015)

    There could maybe have been a good movie in here somewhere — the cast (Michael B Jordan, Miles Teller, Kate Mara) certainly warranted one. But this Frankenstein of a film is a behind-the-scenes horror story, and you can see it in the totally disjointed final product.



  • daredevil

    47. “Daredevil”

    This was basically “Early-2000s: The Movie,” with Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell and Michael Clark Duncan as the main players. The cherry on top of this turd sundae was that damn Evanescence song.



  • fantastic four 2005

    46. “Fantastic Four” (2005)

    Tim Story‘s first “Fantastic Four” is just sort of there, challenging you to remember it exists. With Chris Evans, who played the Human Torch here, going on to embody Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that gets tougher every year.



  • iron man 2

    45. “Iron Man 2”

    Swaps Terrence Howard for Don Cheadle, while Mickey Rourke breaks cars with laser whips. Who knows what was going on in this movie, but it was almost OK anyway.



  • the punisher

    44. “The Punisher” (2004)

    This is the Punisher as a straight revenge thriller, and it’s not bad. Thomas Jane performs admirably, but the whole thing is missing that extra something that would have elevated it beyond standard genre fare. Setting it in Tampa didn’t help.



  • spider man 3

    43. “Spider-Man 3”

    Maybe the bad outweighs the good here, but Emo Peter Parker’s dance number remains one of the greatest single moments in any comic book movie, sorry, haters.



  • howard the duck

    42. “Howard the Duck”

    A notorious flop at the box office and, yeah, it’s not exactly “good.” But now, 30 years removed from its premiere, “Howard the Duck” is pretty fun as a relic of the ’80s.



  • the punisher dolph

    41. “The Punisher” (1989)

    Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett Jr. star in a low-rent ’80s grunge C-level classic. This one’s all novelty value.



  • ghost rider

    40. “Ghost Rider”

    For a movie starring Nic Cage about a dude who rides a Harley and turns into a flaming skeleton, this is a surprisingly mundane movie.



  • amazing spider man

    39. “The Amazing Spider-Man”

    We may never figure out what went wrong with Marc Webb‘s Spider-Man duology, but his choice of Andrew Garfield to play Peter Parker is still brilliant. It just sucks that this movie doesn’t really make any sense.



  • xmen

    38. “X-Men”

    The beginning of the current wave of theatrical superhero movies, “X-Men” was kind of a cheapie and it showed. Novel at the time, now it just comes off as unremarkable mid-budget action fare as Fox was merely sticking its toe in the superhero waters. Timid.



  • the incredible hulk

    37. “The Incredible Hulk”

    It’s sometimes hard to remember that this one counts as part of the MCU, since it placed Ed Norton in the Dr. Banner role since inhabited by Mark Ruffalo in the “Avengers” films. It’s also hard to remember because it’s generally not memorable.



  • thor

    36. “Thor”

    The fantasy Marvel movie is directed by Kenneth Branagh, who covers the whole movie in canted angle shots and theatrical stylings. It’s pretty boring, also, but at least it looks cool.



  • amazing spider man 2

    35. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

    More of the same impossible-to-follow hack-n’-slash plotting from the previous movie, offset by Andrew Garfield continuing to be awesome and Jamie Foxx going way over the top as the big bad.



  • 34. “Thor: The Dark World”

    “The Dark World,” in contrast to the first “Thor” movie, is certainly not boring. If anything, it suffers the opposite problem, going so hard and fast that it loses substance.



  • blade trinity

    33. “Blade: Trinity”

    Starring a pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds basically playing a vampire-slaying Deadpool, throwing out one-liners like his mama’s life depended on it, this may not a “good” movie, but it sure is fun.



  • x2

    32. “X2: X-Men United”

    A big step up from the first “X-Men” both in production values and quality, it still lacks much in the way of energy. Which is inexcusable when you’ve got Alan Cumming as the teleporting mutant Nightcrawler all over your movie.



  • spider man

    31. “Spider-Man”

    Sam Raimi truly assembled the prototypical superhero movie with this first entry in the “Spider-Man” franchise, in 2002. Like “X-Men” before it, “Spider-Man” is a bit underwhelming today, but unlike “X-Men” it was proud of its nerd roots.



  • x-men-apocalypse-trailer

    30. “X-Men: Apocalypse”

    Could have been a bizarre ironic summer classic if it were structured like a real movie and had any character development whatsoever. Instead it’s just a shot of visual adrenaline that I’ll probably want to revisit at some point — but not when I’m sober



  • 29. “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

    “Ultron” is frustrating for what it lacks — chiefly the feeling that it’s advancing the overall story arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But as with the first “Avengers” movie its weaknesses are overcome by great character work.



  • iron man

    28. “Iron Man”

    It was Robert Downey Jr.‘s reemergence on the big screen, and he’s flawless in this origin story that takes Tony Stark from billionaire playboy weapons manufacturer to billionaire playboy other-things manufacturer.



  • blade

    27. “Blade”

    Pure B-movie trash, which is fine because that’s precisely what it aims for: bloody, crass, awesome. Blade, by the way, remains the only black comic book character besides Shaquille O’Neal‘s “Steel” to get his/her own movie, though Marvel’s “Black Panther” is slated for a 2018 release.



  • ghost rider spirit of vengeance

    26. “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”

    For the sequel, they tapped the “Crank” director duo known as Neveldine/Taylor. It was an inspired choice, because “Spirit of Vengeance” was exactly as nutty as you’d hope a PG-13 comic book movie would be. Shame that it was apparently stressful enough to break up the tandem of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.



  • 25. “Captain America: The First Avenger”

    A lot of folks like to complain that all superhero movies are the same. But this was actually a pretty good World War II movie, too.



  • punisher war zone

    24. “Punisher: War Zone”

    Whereas the previous “Punisher” movie was melodramatic and contemplative, this one is just murderous. And it’s awesome.



  • 23. “Guardians of the Galaxy”

    Plot-wise, it never really adds up to anything, but the strength of the cast and the bizarre world they explore more than make up for it.



  • bade 2

    22. “Blade 2”

    Beloved nerd Guillermo del Toro took over for this one and ramped everything up to 11. More vampires, more blood, more people getting sliced up — and of course baddies whose jaws can split open and swallow a person’s head whole.



  • Big Hero 6

    21. “Big Hero 6”

    Disney Animation Studios made a Marvel movie, and it’s really sweet. Sure, it’s the kiddie version of Marvel, but that doesn’t prevent it from being a wholly satisfying experience.



  • guardians of the galaxy vol 2 drax dave bautista super bowl trailer marvel disney

    20. “Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2”

    An improvement on the first film, and an absolute delight from moment to moment — but it never quite coalesces into a coherent whole because so many subplots distract from the core story and rob it of its emotional impact. Would be a top 5 comic book movie if it had just reigned in the plot.



  • hulk

    19. “Hulk”

    In 2003 the modern wave of superhero movies was still in its infancy, and Ang Lee — still the best filmmaker to do a comic book movie — got experimental with “Hulk.” And what he made was an incredible melodrama with visual stylings meant to ape comic book panels. It didn’t sit well with audiences, but “Hulk” remains one of the most compelling and interesting Marvel movies to date.



  • the wolverine

    18. “The Wolverine”

    This was, like, just a legitimately enjoyable melodramatic action movie. Sure, it turns into a video game boss battle by the end, but for most of its running time it’s just an actual movie. 



  • 17. “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

    Its time travel logic is a bit iffy, but “Days of Future Past” is still tremendously entertaining because, while epic, it’s not overly serious. As “Back to the Future” taught us long ago, you can get away with a lot of logical leaps if you strike the right tone.



  • "The Avengers"

    16. “The Avengers”

    The story is a total mess, relying heavily on moviegoers’ memories of previous MCU films (if you didn’t remember or know coming in what the Tesseract was, hoo boy). But the novelty of the Marvel’s first big superhero team-up was irresistible, and director Joss Whedon balanced his ensemble expertly, giving everyone plenty to do so none of them ever fades into the background.



  • Deadpool

    15. “Deadpool”

    In the angsty and angry times we live in, “Deadpool” is perfect. Aggressively violent and flippantly meanspirited, it’s the exact emotional release we needed.



  • xmen first class

    14. “X-Men: First Class”

    The first “X-Men” movie that could be described as “fun.” It’s basically two movies crammed into one, story-wise, but director Matthew Vaughn‘s touch is so breezy and enjoyable that it totally works anyway, thanks in large part to a brilliant cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy.



  • Spider-Man Homecoming mj mary jane

    13. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” 

    Not quite the best “Spider-Man” movie, but still an absolute delight, with a cast full of scene stealers. Michael Keaton as the Vulture makes for one of the best Marvel villains ever.



  • deadpool 2 crotch shot 2

    12. “Deadpool 2” 

    While you may get whiplash from the “Deadpool” sequel’s occasional very serious and emo scenes, the rest of the movie is thoroughly delightful, somehow managing to be even funnier — and more hilariously violent — than the original.



  • 11. “Ant-Man”

    “Ant-Man” represented a first for the MCU by being a straight-up comedy. And it’s a very good one, with a cast that’s perfectly suited for it. Aside from Paul Rudd who plays Ant-Man himself, Michael Pena is the true standout as Scott Lang’s best friend and former cellmate.



  • ant-man and the wasp evangeline lilly tiny

    10. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” 

    It’s ever so slightly frustrating that this one doesn’t fully integrate into the “Infinity War” situation, but even so it’s thoroughly a delight. Evangeline Lilly is so good at the Wasp that I’m retroactively irritated that she didn’t don the suit in the previous “Ant-Man” movie.



  • doctor strange skyscraper

    9. “Doctor Strange”

    If it weren’t hamstrung with all the requisite elements of an origin story, “Doctor Strange” might have been the best Marvel movie ever. That’s the power of the astonishing visual imagination on display here. People love to talk about the nebulous concept of capturing some long lost childlike sense of wonder though the magic of cinema — “Doctor Strange” is one of the only movies I’ve watched as an adult that really accomplishes that.



  • spider man 2

    8. “Spider-Man 2”

    This is a movie that fully understands its main character and taps into what made him such a captivating figure for so long. Yeah, Peter Parker’s a superhero, but he’s also a college kid working a minimum wage job to make rent while also taking university physics classes. Peter buckles under the pressure, something we can all relate to.



  • 7. “Iron Man 3”

    As far as I’m concerned this is the “Iron Man” movie. Somehow, Shane Black was able to infiltrate the MCU and make a legitimate Shane Black movie with all the wit and raw humanity you’d expect from him. It carries exactly the sort of authorial identity we should want all these movies to have.



  • Valkyrie Thor Ragnarok music fan edit lgbtq marvel movie

    6. “Thor: Ragnarok”

    A thorough delight. This might be the most fun we had at the movies in all of 2017, and so we can’t help but love it.



  • Captain America Civil War

    5. “Captain America: Civil War”

    Multiply the two previous best Marvel movies by one another and you get “Civil War.” It packs the sort of emotional payoff all the disconnected Marvel movies can’t really provide. And as an action film it’s easily the best of the superhero genre.



  • Black Panther Michael B. Jordan killmonger

    4. “Black Panther” 

    It’s held back a little by being saddled with standard “origin movie” issues — introducing audiences to the world of Wakanda isn’t a quick and easy task, and it could use an extra 15-20 minutes to flesh out the supporting characters — but still manages to be the most substantial superhero movie ever. It’s kind of amazing that Disney let writer/director Ryan Coogler make this overt a political statement — it’s the most openly political mega-budget movie I’ve ever seen . Also, while I’m listing superlatives: Michael B Jordan delivers the best performance ever in a superhero movie. Good lord.



  • avengers infinity war wakanda reaction video national superhero day

    3. “Avengers: Infinity War” 

    You could certainly make the argument that “Infinity War” does not really hold up on as a complete movie on its own, because it kinda begins with the second act. But I don’t care. The culmination of this ten-year shared universe experiment should stand on the shoulders of the movies that came before it. The fact that it packs such a profound emotional punch, however, is what really makes it work.



  • 2. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

    The Russo brothers, who made their entrance to the MCU directing “Winter Soldier” before taking the reigns on “Civil War” and, eventually, 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” really impressed with “Winter Soldier.” It’s a classic spy thriller with a superhero twist. And Robert Redford as the bad guy is a really nice touch.



  • x-men wolverine logan timeline

    1. “Logan”

    James Mangold’s small-scale western is a game changer for the entire superhero genre, daring to defy pretty much standard by which you expect these movies to operate. It’s just a great movie by any normal standard. Where “Civil War” elevated the genre, “Logan” opts instead to be something else entirely and we’re all the better for it.




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Decades of big screen Marvel adaptations demand a long, ranked list. This is that list

With over 30 years of theatrically released Marvel movies, it’s always a good a time to rank ’em all, from “Howard the Duck” to this summer’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Deadpool 2” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

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