The Marlon Brando Marvel Movie From The ’80s That Would Have Been Insane

Death Wish director Michael Winner wanted Marlon Brando to star as the Red Skull in a Captain America.

By Britta DeVore | Published

marlon brando superman

The MCU has had its fair share of hits and misses over the years with audiences dropping the ball a few times with titles such as The Incredible Hulk and their first go at the Fantastic Four franchise, which will soon be getting a well-deserved makeover. Long before the days of any of these recent busts and before Robert Downey Jr. was synonymous with Iron Man, one director dared to dream of a film that would see the legendary Marlon Brando appear as Red Skull in Cannon’s takeover of the Marvel Universe. In a Twitter thread, which you can see below, one user broke down this incredible and unbelievable story of the Captain America film that never happened.

Although imagining Marlon Brando as Red Skull may be blowing your mind already, the story behind Cannon’s first dip into Marvel is packed with wild twists and turns. The story begins in 1984 when, after a few back and forths with helmers, the studio settled on Death Wish franchise director, Michael Winner. There was just one problem – Winner had never so much as flipped through a Marvel comic before.

Taking a walk to his local comic store, the filmmaker picked a single Captain America issue off the rack and checked out while asking the staff if anyone had any knowledge of Cap’s canon. One of the boys working said that he knew all of the heroes’ backstories and then he was given the chance of a lifetime – to serve as a consultant on the film’s script where he worked alongside Stan Hey to move Steve Rogers’ story from page to screen. So, where does Marlon Brando almost make his Marvel debut in all of this?

The Nightcomers

At this point, the critically acclaimed actor and director had already worked alongside one another on Winner’s 1971 thriller, The Nightcomers. Even though Marlon Brando was on a hiatus from Hollywood, Winner still had hope that should the production come to fruition, his old pal would jump into the character of Red Skull and join his Marvel movie. Honestly, from what this Twitter user shares of the script, would’ve added another performance of a lifetime to The Godfather star.

Along with Marlon Brando as Red Skull, this Captain America movie sounds like the stuff of a feverish Marvel dream that has so many plotlines it’s harder to follow what’s going on than in an episode of Riverdale. Not only is Red Skull wreaking havoc on the people of America and ransoming out the Statue of Liberty, but there was also a side story of a glam rocker named Ricky Roulette (a character who Winner was hoping Elton John would audition for) in which he was kidnapping teenagers following one of his concerts. 

The insanity doesn’t stop there, so we highly encourage you to check out the full Twitter thread to get a peek into what could have happened had Winner’s plan gone into full swing. Of course, the studio has now found its gripping with Chris Evans appearing as Captain America for a decade before passing the shield to Anthony Mackie. And, while we loved The Matrix star Hugo Weaving as Red Skull, we will forever think about the magic that would have been created had Marlon Brando stepped into the Marvel role.