One of the biggest surprises in Avengers: Infinity War, besides the sudden deaths of half the superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was the return of Captain America: The First Avenger villain Red Skull. Just as surprising was that Hugo Weaving didn’t reprise his role as the Nazi villain, but was replaced by Ross Marquand. It was assumed that the reason Weaving didn’t come back was because he didn’t sound particularly thrilled at the prospect, but now the actor has revealed the real reason for his absence in the Avengers sequels.
Speaking with Time Out London, Weaving revealed that he actually enjoyed playing Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avengers, but it was standard Hollywood negotiating that left him out of the Avengers sequels. Weaving said:
“I loved playing that character Red Skull – it was a lot of fun. We were all obliged to sign up for three pictures: I was thinking [Red Skull] probably wouldn’t come back in Captain America but he may well come back as a villain in The Avengers. By then, they’d pushed back on the contracts that we agreed on and so the money they offered me for The Avengers was much less than I got for the very first one, and this was for two films. And the promise when we first signed the contracts was that the money would grow each time. They said: ‘It’s just a voice job, it’s not a big deal.’ I actually found negotiating with them through my agent impossible. And I didn’t really wanna do it that much. But I would have done it.”
Weaving is right to stand his ground and wanting what Marvel had promised by paying him more than what he got for the first Captain America movie. He knows his worth. But at the same time, the role in both of the Avengers movies was not nearly as significant as Captain America: The First Avenger. Weaving wasn’t required to sit in the make-up chair for hours, and it sounds like he didn’t even have to be on set. Furthermore, the scenes in question don’t even require many lines.
From Marvel’s perspective, there’s no reason to pay more money for an actor when you can have someone like Ross Marquand come in and do such a good job voicing Red Skull that you have almost no idea that it’s not Hugo Weaving again. However, it’s not as if Marvel Studios is hurting for money, raking in over at least a billion dollars every year for a while now. So maybe they could have given Weaving what he wanted and the performance might have been that much better. Perhaps there’s a chance we’ll get Red Skull back in a different capacity in the future. You never know when villains are going to return in the MCU.
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