Marvel’s What If…? just redid Red Skull’s ending from Captain America: The First Avenger. Here’s why this version works better for the villain.
Warning: SPOILERS for What If…? episode 1.
The MCU offered a better version of Red Skull’s defeat in Marvel’s What If…? compared to his original, supposed death. Played by Hugo Weaving, the hated archenemy of Steve Rogers “died” in the final battle of Captain America: The First Avenger when he grabbed the Tesseract. But as many had long suspected, Red Skull was never obliterated by the power of the Space Stone; Avengers: Infinity War confirmed that Red Skull survived the events of The First Avenger.
Red Skull served as the big surprise cameo of Infinity War when he stood revealed as the guardian of the Soul Stone on the planet Vormir. He returned in Avengers: Endgame, which continued to distance him from his roots as a Captain America villain. The MCU briefly revisited his glory days in Marvel’s What If…? episode 1, which saw Ross Marquand (who took over for Weaving in Infinity War and Endgame) return to voice the character. In this alternate take on the MCU’s super soldier story, Red Skull and his HYDRA army were pitted against Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter. True to the spirit of the original What If comic book series from the 1970s, this change resulted in several characters (including Red Skull) receiving different fates.
After opening up a portal with the Tesseract and unleashing the tentacle monster thought to be the MCU’s Shuma-Gorath, Red Skull was crushed by the creature and killed instantly. It may have felt like an anticlimactic conclusion for Red Skull since it prevented him from having a showdown with Captain Carter, but in actuality, it worked well for the show and was perfectly in-line with what’s been established about the supervillain – not to mention that it resolved his story arc in a meaningful way, leaving no
Johann Schmidt is without question one of the greatest evil masterminds of the Marvel Universe, but he’s always had his flaws as a villain, both in the comics and in the MCU. One of his problems is his reckless pursuit of knowledge and power. In Captain America: The First Avenger, it was explained early on that he became a super soldier by using Dr. Erskine’s untested serum on himself. This act could have gone even worse for him than it did. Red Skull also seemed to have no sense of moderation when he was working with Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) on the Tesseract. Zola wanted them to exercise caution and restraint, but Schmidt was determined to push forward while ignoring the possible consequences.
Looking at the direction Red Skull was headed in Captain America: The First Avenger, a death caused by his own arrogance and obliviousness to the power of magical artifacts would have felt like an appropriate ending for his character. But, the movie avoided this scenario, likely for the purpose of setting up a potential return. In hindsight, how Red Skull was used in Infinity War and Endgame doesn’t make this regrettable in the least, but on its own, Red Skull’s First Avenger arc came off as unresolved. Marvel’s What If…?, on the other hand, had no reason to hold back, and was able to give the Red Skull a more fitting ending.
Next: Every Captain America & MCU Easter Egg In What If? Episode 1
Marvel’s What If…? releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
Elijah Wood Has Hilarious Reaction to LOTR Season 2 Leaving New Zealand
About The Author