Avengers: Infinity War – Did Thanos Send Red Skull Back in Time?

The wait is almost over. Avengers: Infinity War will be hitting theaters on May 4th, meaning Marvel fans have just over three months until all their favorite heroes unite. But we’re not here to talk about the heroes. Instead, let’s talk baddies. Yes, Thanos is going to be part of this discussion, but he’s not going to be the main focus of this article. That honor goes to none other than Red Skull, the villain from the very first Captain America film.

For those of you who do not remember Red Skull, let’s do a quick refresher. Johann Schmidt was the leader of Hydra’s science and weapons division who was obsessed with power and ruling/destroying the world. He had a thing for Norse Mythology and was turned into the Red Skull after taking the initial version of Abraham Erskine’s Super Soldier Serum.

He was the big bad of Captain America: The First Avenger. In his final battle with Steve Rogers, Schmidt was either killed or teleported somewhere as a result of the Tesseract, which we now know to be the Space Stone.

Now that Infinity War is approaching, fans continue to wonder if they will ever see one of the MCU’s first villains ever again. Ever since he disappeared, fans have insisted he was not actually dead. Instead, they believe he was transported to space. After a recent viewing of The First Avenger, seven years after its initial release, this writer noticed a few things that might explain how the baddie gets brought back into the fold, plus make fans look at the inaugural Captain America film in a new light.

The following theory is going to include Thanos, the Time Stone, and an unfortunate end for Red Skull.

So here is the overview, before we get into the more granular details. Johann Schmidt is more than meets the eye in The First Avenger. This is because he is actually from the future. While he appears to be roughly in his 40’s or 50’s in 1942 (when First Avenger takes place), he is actually this age in 2018.

This is when Thanos attempts to collect the Infinity Stones with the help of the Time Stone, which will be one of the first three stones he acquires (we see he has two other stones in the first Infinity War trailer). Thanos, who has a history of recruiting soldiers to do his biddings, such as Loki and Ronan, comes across Schmidt, a disgruntled but very intelligent individual with a hungry for a purpose.

As a result, he sends Schmidt back in time to capture the Space Stone. If successful, certain events might not occur (such as Steve Rogers becoming Captain America or Bucky Barnes becoming Winter Soldier). Thanos also might theorize this will lead to him acquiring all six stones much quicker.

So now let’s go back and examine The First Avenger a little closer, to find some evidence to support this theory. In particular, let’s start with some quotes

In the first scene in which Schmidt acquires the Tesseract, the man who had it in hiding, states, “You cannot control the power you hold. You will burn!”. To this, Schmidt responds, “I already have”. This is the first of many instances in which Schmidt speaks in the past tense. In this case, he might be suggesting he has already controlled the power of the Tesseract. Or quite possibly, if there is a time loop involved (like in Doctor Strange), he has already burned. This could mean he has gone through the events that close out the film in a past iteration of the loop possibly.

Later in the film, when Doctor Zola is running tests on the Tesseract, he is doing so in increments. At this point, Schmidt takes over to push the Space Stone to its limits claiming “I have not come all this way for safety”. Sure, this could be just be referring to his life as a whole, but it could have a deeper meaning. If he has, in fact, come all the way from the future, he would indeed have come quite a long way.

Next, we look at a quote from Peggy Carter. She mentions how Schmidt “has much bigger ambitions” in comparison to Hydra as a whole. This is indeed true, as it is quite evident his goals are not exactly on par with his fellow members of Hydra. So it is entirely possible this is because of his interactions with Thanos.

We then transition to the scene where Colonel Phillips is interrogating Doctor Zola. Zola says Schmidt’s plan is “of no consequence” and that his boss “believes he walks in the footsteps of the Gods”. The line about no consequences could refer to the potential time loop mentioned earlier. There are multiple times in the film where Red Skull himself refers to himself as a God, and he could almost certainly consider Thanos to be one as well.

Will Red Skull Return?

But the big quote is one from Red Skull himself, during his climactic battle with Cap. He says  “I have seen the future, Captain. There are no flags”. Obviously, the line about the future could be the most telling of them all, because if taken literally, means this theory certainly has a ton of potential. The part about no flags would fit as well, as the war going on will be within the cosmos, not on a country vs country basis.

Next, let’s take into account his obsession with Norse Mythology. Schmidt had a ton of “theories” about the Norse Gods, some of which we know to be true, based on other Marvel films that have come out since The First Avenger. So it is quite possible Schmidt does not see them as theories, but simply things he has witnessed in the future.

To sum this theory up, we look at how the film ends for the baddie. When holding the Tesseract, it begins to glow, ready to unleash its power. A beam shoots up, opening what appears to be a portal into the cosmos. The obvious view of space suggests Red Skull might have been teleported there.

Could Thanos, who is in possession of the Space Stone in the future, can command the past version of the Tesseract? If so, he might be responsible for bringing Red Skull either to space or the future (in this case, the present). At this point in time, it is likely Thanos puts an end to his experiment, and ends Red Skull for good.

We know the first five minutes of Avengers: Infinity War will see Thanos wreaking havoc. It is entirely possible fans get to see him rip Red Skull to pieces to open the monumental film.

What do you think? Could Red Skull actually be from the future during the events of Captain America: The First Avenger? If so, did Thanos send him there? And will we see Johann Schmidt one more time simply to have Thanos kill him off for good? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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