One dead character will return in Avengers 4, but it’s not any of the superheroes who faded to dust at the end of Infinity War. Instead, one of Captain America’s enemies will appear in the next big Avengers flick, despite the fact he died in the 2016 movie Captain America: Civil War. On Thursday, actor Frank Grillo has confirmed that his character Crossbones will appear in Avengers 4.
But here’s the rub, Grillo has confirmed that the scene in which he appears is a “flashback.” He also flippantly said, “I’m allowed to say whatever I want because I’m never doing another Marvel movie.”
Now, it makes sense Grillo wouldn’t be doing another Marvel movie if his character is dead, and will still be dead after Avengers 4, but the pressing question for millions of curious fans is this: in what context is there a flashback? Since before Infinity War was released, rumors have persisted that the next Avengers film would involve time-travel and once Infinity War dropped, that conclusion seemed almost certain.
The going theory is simply this: Doctor Strange looked into all possible futures of the coming battle with Thanos, and decided the only way to win, was by giving over the Time Stone. Obviously, the Time Stone allows for travel through time, and there are plenty of points in the past where Doctor Strange still has it. Back in early 2017, some on-set rumors suggested Captain America would sport his superhero costume from the 2012 Avengers in Avengers 4, which also means time travel, a flashback, or both.
So, will the surviving Avengers time travel to the point in time that Captain America: Civil War takes place (thus allowing Crossbones to be alive) or before that? Just how much time travel will happen in Avengers 4?
The answer isn’t clear. There could be a ton of time travel in Avengers 4 or just a ton of flashbacks. In fact, because the Marvel movie right before Avengers 4 is Captain Marvel, it’s possible that Avengers 4 could just cover a lot of time, rather than actually depict people going back in time. Because the biggest question Marvel movies have to answer before Avengers 4 is how did Captain Marvel’s adventures in the Nineties impact the “future” of the 21st century? Or, is everything in Captain Marvel an alternate timeline? After all, Samuel L. Jackson never looked this young.