Marvel Studios' upcoming Disney+ series titled What If...? is one of the most unique entries in the MCU's massive Phase 4 — not only because it will be the first animated MCU project, but also due to the endless narrative possibilities that the show can provide.
During 2019's San Diego Comic-Con , it was confirmed that the animated series will tackle alternate scenarios that were presented in the successful Infinity Saga run of the franchise, ultimately leading to the return of a significant amount of MCU actors.
Stars like Chris Pratt and the late Chadwick Boseman top the list of returning cast members that voiced their respective heroes in the show, but within an entirely different situation. Previously, a surprising inclusion in the series was announced in the form of Frank Grillo's involvement as Crossbones .
The news was a major development for What If...? as it opens the door for more appearances for other former MCU side characters. However, it looks like the actor's unexpected comeback will mark the last time that he will play the villain in the monumental franchise.
NO MORE CROSSBONES IN THE MCU
While speaking with Variety , Crossbones actor Frank Grillo admitted that the MCU is “done” with his character. Grillo also pointed out that the villain “wasn't really part of the future of the Avengers,” considering “the way the stories wound up being told” in the franchise:
“They’re done with me. Because of the way the stories wound up being told and just how big the stories became, the Crossbones of it wasn’t really part of the future of the Avengers.”
A CELEBRATION OF CROSSBONES' BRIEF MCU LEGACY
On the surface, Grillo had an extensive run in the MCU's Infinity Saga. The veteran actor had an impressive performance as a Hydra agent in Captain America: The Winter Soldier while also having brief-yet-memorable moments in Civil War and Avengers: Endgame .
It does make some narrative sense for Crossbones to be done with the main MCU timeline. In canon, the character died by his own hand during Captain America: Civil War , and it's safe to say that moment was already a fitting end to the villain's arc.
Grillo's comment about Crossbones not really being part of the future of the Avengers is understandable as it was hard to pinpoint where exactly the villain would fit into the interconnected storytelling of the franchise. Even still, it would've been fascinating to see a full-fledged Crossbones going up against the rest of the Avengers team.
Theoretically, Crossbones' appearance in What If...? could simply serve as the character's own redemption arc in terms of fulfilling his nefarious goal of taking revenge against Steve Rogers. By doing this, it could help fulfill the villain's prominent role in Marvel Comics, but with the consolation of doing it in an alternate, animated reality.
If What If...? is indeed Crossbones' last MCU hurrah, then there are many ways for the Disney+ show to incorporate Crossbones in another compelling narrative. This is a prime example of the advantageous nature of working with the Marvel multiverse since it provides an opportunity for certain past characters to shine once more.