Marvel Studios' fourth Avengers movie brought together the largest ensemble cast for any comic-book film in history as the culmination event of both Phase 3 and the Infinity Saga. While it helped a few of its original stars earn send-off moments for their heroes, Endgame also set up new stars for Phase 4 while bringing back a few key players from past movies as well.
Many of those legacy actors made appearances during the Avengers' Time Heist, which took fans back to three separate time periods and included looks into the events of The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, and more.
But part of the scene from New York City almost didn't come to be, as one MCU veteran looked back to a time when he wasn't going to come back to his memorable role.
Winter Soldier Star on Endgame Return
In the latest issue of Empire Magazine, Crossbones star Frank Grillo revealed that he almost didn't come back for his role in Avengers: Endgame, which featured Brock Rumlow as part of the STRIKE team that picked up Loki's scepter.
Grillo had hoped to see Crossbones make more appearances in the MCU, even noting that other "idiot characters" came back instead of him. But he also admitted that he "was being an asshole" in initially saying no to the cameo:
“There was supposed to be a lot more of Crossbones. I was the one character who I think should be in more of them, and these other idiot characters are still there. I was being an asshole, being a bit petulant.
In the end, Grillo's son was the reason he went back on his previous decision, remembering how much he enjoyed the time he had on set:
“He said, ‘This is going to be the biggest movie in the world,’ and he was right. And I had a beautiful time. They did the ten-year anniversary, Stan Lee was there, and I stood and went ‘What an asshole I am!’”
Speaking with ComicBook.com on the matter in March 2021, Grillo explained that he was mad about not returning to the role since he had "signed a seven-picture deal with [Marvel,]" only appearing in three total:
"The trajectory of Crossbones took a turn and he was out of the series really quickly, right? And I was a little pissed off about it because, y'know, I signed a seven-picture deal with them."
When Marvel called him back to do Avengers: Endgame, he was adamant about not being in the movie, as he felt the anger of not having gotten to do more in the franchise. However, he realized his mistake later:
"And it was like, 'Oh, you're going to be part of the Marvel Universe, right?' And it didn't happen. And so they called me and they said, 'Look, we need you to come down for a week for Avengers,' and I'm like, 'For what?' And they go, 'Well, we can't…' I'm like, 'No, I'm not doing it.' So I hung up. I get a call back. I'm like, 'I'm not coming. Leave me alone' And like… who am I? Who am I, right?"
Grillo Looks Back on Being "An Asshole"
Frank Grillo has made his presence felt in two other live-action MCU movies with roles in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, giving Steve Rogers a formidable villain as Hydra returned to the fold. And considering his character's history with Hydra when Crossbones worked to infiltrate SHIELD, it seemed only fitting that he was part of the team that took the scepter in as Hydra continued dismantling its enemy.
But at the end of the day, Grillo realized that he made the right decision coming back to join the Avengers: Endgame cast, refamiliarizing fans with his character's deception for a fun callback to the SHIELD vs. Hydra fight in Avengers Tower.
And while Grillo doesn't expect to have another opportunity to play Crossbones again in the MCU, he at least feels like he did the right thing by acknowledging his past comments on the matter.
Avengers: Endgame is now streaming on Disney+.