In comic books, death is cheap. It doesn’t matter who you are; superhero, supervillain, Aunt May, basically almost nobody dies for good. Heck, right now the teenage version of the original X-Men are running around the comic books, outing their future selves and fighting Inhumans. But it appears death in Marvel’s cinematic universe is a wee bit more permanent.
Frank Grillo, speaking with Collider about his MMA drama Kingdom, was asked about being in another Purge movie and happened to let it slip that Crossbones is probably staying dead:
There’s nowhere for it to go, unless you’re Captain America or Iron Man. They were talking about it, but I was like, ‘You know what? I’d just rather not do it.’ I’m so appreciative and grateful to have been a part of something that big…. Don’t stay at the party too long, or you get knocked through the ropes.
Of course, they could just stick some other guy in the skull mask, but it seems a bit unlikely. Captain America: The First Avenger left the door open for the Red Skull to return, to the point where Captain America: The Winter Soldier even dropped a red herring or two about it, but so far, it appears whatever happened to the Skull will sideline him until either Hugo Weaving decides he wants a new house or the MCU is inevitably rebooted a decade from now. Besides, it’s not like Cap has any shortage of foes to punch, especially since Tony still needs the smug clocked out of him.