‘Avengers: Endgame’: This 1 Marvel Actor Turned Down the Film at First

Avengers: Endgame might just have the longest list of recognizable cast members in the history of movies. Pretty close to everyone Marvel Studios could’ve gotten to return for the epic sequel was there in some fashion across its three-hour run time.

Time travel hijinks were, of course, used to bring back certain characters who had kicked the oxygen habit in earlier films. However, a recent interview revealed that one of these temporally-enabled cameos might not have happened at all, and it sounds like sour grapes were involved.

Who almost wasn’t in ‘Avengers: Endgame’?

The cast and crew of Avengers: Endgame stands on the red carpet for a group photo.
The cast and crew of ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

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Frank Grillo first appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014 as Brock Rumlow, the leader of SHIELD’s counterterrorism field team. Initially an ally of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), by film’s end he faces off against the heroes as they strike back against the Hydra forces in control of SHIELD.

He returns in the opening scene of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, donning a grim mask to cover the burns he sustained in the last film and taking on his villainous identity from the comics, Crossbones. He doesn’t survive that opening, though, exiting the series at the hands of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen).

In Avengers: Endgame, he makes a surprise return when the team time travels back to the events of the first Avengers movie in an attempt to secure the time stone. It’s a minor role, but it lends further weight to Endgame‘s collage of past Marvel Cinematic Universe faces.

That said, it almost didn’t happen at all.

Frank Grillo wasn’t interested in the cameo

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Grillo recently appeared on the podcast, Lights Camera Barstool, as part of the press tour for his new Hulu film, Boss Level. During the chat, he touched on why he initially wasn’t interested in showing up for an Avengers: Endgame. Turns out, he felt a little frustrated that Crossbones had been killed off so quickly despite the fact that he had signed a big, years-long contract.

“And I was a little pissed off about it because, y’know, I signed a seven-picture deal with them,” Grillo explained. “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?’… ‘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.’”

As time eventually showed, Grillo relented and agreed to make a small appearance in Avengers: Endgame. Certainly doesn’t hurt to have the biggest box office hit of all time on your resume. And to hear him explain it, he was, like so many actors in the past, convinced by his kid.

“My 22-year-old son said to me, ‘You should go and do Avengers.’ I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, why should I go?’ ‘Because I’m telling you need to go.’ He said, ‘I don’t care if you’re in the movie for 10 seconds. It’s a part of history. It’s a big deal. It’s a big scene. It’s an important thing’… And that’s why I did it, because of my son, not because of the Russos.”