Marvel Bringing Back Its Two Best Villains?
Would it be best to keep them gone?
There’s one actor who has played not one but two of the biggest villains to ever appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he seems to think both of them are on their way back to the narrative. Ross Marquand of The Walking Dead fame stepped in to replace Hugo Weaving in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and the 2019 follow-up Avengers: Endgame. He later replaced James Spader as the voice of Ultron in two episodes of What If…? Both the robot and the would-be tyrant are likely on their way back, according to a new interview.
Over the weekend, The Illuminerdi spoke to Ross Marquand at the San Diego Comic-Con. While most of the conversation focused on his character Aaron in the final season of The Walking Dead, the site did ask him about potential future appearances in Marvel projects. Marquand didn’t go so far as to confirm anything, but instead said, “I really feel like there is a good chance we will see Red Skull again.” When The Illuminerdi pointed out that all of Marvel’s recent Multiverse shenanigans opens up the possibility of both his Red Skull and Ultron returning, the actor responded, “Yep, exactly.”
There are plenty of good reasons to think Marquand is right about at least one, if not both, of his Marvel bad guys returning. Rumored for a long time, Avengers: Secret Wars‘ 2025 release was confirmed over the weekend during SDCC. The 2015-16 comic book event dealt with countless variants of every Marvel character you could think of, including both the Red Skull and Ultron. In fact, in the source material Red Skull had his own mini-series as part of the event, and there was likewise the Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies series that pitted the robots against the zombie versions of Marvel heroes and villains.
Not to mention that in the case of Red Skull, there really is no need for a Multiversal or resurrection explanation to bring him back into the narrative. The last we saw of Johann Schmidt, he was on Vormir guarding the Soul Stone. Thanos destroyed one Soul Stone, and Captain America brought the other one back to Vormir. We have no idea what happened to Red Skull after all of that.
Then, of course there’s the season season of What If…? As reported by Polygon, season 2 of the animated series was confirmed by Marvel to hit Disney+ in early 2023. We don’t know of all the alternate universes the second season will bring us to, but among other things we can expect the return of Captain Carter and one episode featuring Steve Rogers as the Winter Soldier — both of which have obvious connections to the Red Skull. There’s also going to be an episode based on the Neil Gaiman written mini-series 1602, which transports most of Marvel’s heroes to the early 17th century.