‘Avengers: Endgame’ Theory: Did Red Skull Trick Thanos?

One of the most pivotal moments in Avengers: Infinity War was not a battle scene, but rather one in which Thanos makes a difficult choice in order to obtain the Soul Stone. However, those theorizing about the upcoming Avengers: Endgame may have rethought this scene, which may not be exactly what it seems. Here’s why it’s possible that Red Skull tricked Thanos in Infinity War, and the consequences that could have on Endgame.

What happened in Infinity War?

For those who may have forgotten — midway through Infinity War, Thanos tricks the Guardians of the Galaxy on Nowhere, taking Gamora with him. He reveals that he knows that she is aware of the location of the Soul Stone, which he needs in order to complete the Infinity Gauntlet and the Decimation.

After more manipulation, Thanos and Gamora arrive on Vormir, where they are greeted by Red Skull. He takes them to the edge of a cliff, where he explains that for Thanos to earn the stone, he has to sacrifice what he loves the most. This, as it turns out, is Gamora, and he throws her from the cliff, seemingly to her death. He then has the Soul Stone.

Who is Red Skull?

It’s been a while, but avid viewers of the MCU films have seen Red Skull before. In 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers is up against Johann Schmidt, a Hydra operative working for the Nazis. He is Red Skull, who was also experimented on with the same serum that made Steve into Captain America, though with much worse results.

At the end of the movie, Red Skull is in possession of the Tesseract (which we later discover is holding the Space Stone), but when he tries to hold it in his hand, a wormhole into space is created, and he’s sucked into it. This is the last time he’s seen in the MCU until Infinity War.

Here’s why Red Skull might be tricking Thanos

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He tells them that the Soul Stone “extracts a terrible price” to obtain it. When Thanos says he’s ready, Red Skull replies, “We all think that at first. We are all wrong.” He goes on to explain that he also tried to collect all of the Infinity Stones, referring to his scene in The First Avenger. However, he was then “banished” to Vormir, “guiding others to a treasure [he] cannot possess.” This is suspect — why was he banished? Why didn’t anything happen to Thanos when he began collecting the Stones?. And who banished him, exactly? The Tesseract itself?

Putting all of that aside, even if he is telling the truth, we are still talking about the Red Skull, who is not someone to trust. His whole story sounds like a long riddle he was given when arrived to escape. What if he could have given him the stone the whole time? It seems like, given his propensity for destruction, Red Skull would want to help Thanos. So why would he have him sacrifice Gamora if it wasn’t necessary?

Here’s one possibility: He knows that giving Thanos the Soul Stone will help reign down terror. Convincing him to kill Gamora could have been a strategic choice by a villain who, in The First Avenger, was shown to be a high-level military operative. The whole galaxy knows who Thanos and his daughters are, so most likely everyone also knows he favors Gamora (he certainly says it in a lot of scenes). So making the only thing standing in the way of his ultimate goal be his daughter was a sly way of removing his only emotional weakness while also removing a powerful fighter from the Avengers roster. But we’ll have to wait and see in Endgame.

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