How & Why Crossbones Could Return In Captain America 4 – Screen Rant

Frank Grillo could return as Crossbones in the MCU’s future – here’s how and why Brock Rumlow could make a return in Captain America 4.
Crossbones could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and here’s how and why it could happen in Captain America 4. Frank Grillo was expected to play a major role in the MCU as Crossbones when he first appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This didn’t pan out, though, as Brock Rumlow died in his very next appearance. Still, Grillo thinks that there is a chance that he’ll play Crossbones again, and that could be in Captain America 4.
Following the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios is currently developing a fourth Captain America movie starring Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson. The film will pick up after the Disney+ series and expand on Sam’s adjustment to becoming Captain America. Details on Captain America 4 are very slim at the moment, as the specific story that it will tell remains a mystery. There is a possibility that the movie will build on the formation of the Dark Avengers/Thunderbolts and pit Sam’s Captain America against the likes of John Walker and other villains. It is also expected that other characters from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the Captain America franchise at large will be seen here as well.
Related: What Captain America 4 Needs To Learn From Falcon & Winter Soldier
When it comes to figuring out who could return in Captain America 4, the ever-expanding nature of the MCU and Marvel’s ability to bring back unexpected actors/characters in surprising ways means almost nothing is truly off the table. This could be one of the reasons why Grillo believes that he’ll play Crossbones again, as he might already know about plans for his live-action MCU return. Could that be in Captain America 4? Here’s how Crossbones could return for the upcoming MCU movie and why it makes sense that this would be where he’s seen next.
One way that Crossbones could return in Captain America 4 is if Marvel Studios decides to bring him back from the dead in some fashion. After barely surviving the Triskelion collapse in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Crossbones returned at the beginning of Captain America: Civil War. He fought the Avengers and Captain America in Lagos as he tried to steal a bioweapon. Crossbones and his men were defeated by the Avengers, though, but he wasn’t going to go down without taking other people with him. He initiated a bomb strapped to his chest right in front of Captain America, and he would’ve killed Steve when it exploded if it wasn’t for Scarlet Witch containing the blast. The bomb still went off, though, and it is difficult to imagine that Crossbones could survive that explosion.
That said, there are ways for the MCU to get around this if it wants to bring Crossbones into Captain America 4. Crossbones’ body isn’t shown, so that creates some wiggle room when it comes to creating a path for him to survive. Brock Rumlow’s transformation from barely surviving Captain America: The Winter Soldier to getting some level of enhancement to become Crossbones could contain the key. This could be a place for Marvel to explain that he only survived in the first place because he gained cybernetic enhancements. Crossbones could then possibly make it out of his presumed Lagos death if he is able to be repaired. The MCU could even take this a step further by revealing that the Crossbones featured in Captain America: Civil War was a Life Model Decoy, allowing the original Crossbones or a new LMD to return in Captain America 4.
Crossbones’ MCU return in Captain America 4 could also be done in a simpler fashion if he’s brought back in flashbacks. There are several possible points in the MCU timeline that could allow Crossbones to return through flashbacks that fit within Captain America 4. One of the more intriguing options is between Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. Captain America and the Avengers pursued Crossbones for months leading up to the encounter in Lagos. Steve remarks that the Lagos mission is the closest they’ve come to getting Rumlow, but Sam could’ve been in charge of the search from the beginning. A flashback to Sam’s pre-Captain America days might be needed and give Crossbones a chance to be seen again.
Related: Captain America 4: Every MCU Character Expected To Appear
It is even possible that flashbacks in Captain America 4 featuring Crossbones could reveal that he has a connection to the film’s villain or story. The bioweapon Crossbones tried to steal in Captain America: Civil War was never released, but perhaps another foe has managed to get their hands on it now. Captain America 4 could even reveal that Crossbones was originally hired to steal the bioweapon by the film’s villain. Someone like Valentina or whoever she is working for might be interested in such a weapon. Then again, if Val is building the Dark Avengers or Thunderbolts, it is possible Crossbones was an early target of hers to join the team in some fashion.
The multiverse is also another option that Marvel Studios could use when figuring out how to look at potentially bringing Crossbones back. This already happened in a small dose thanks to Marvel’s What If…? in Phase 4. The MCU is exploring the multiverse in multiple upcoming projects, and it will play a massive role in the overall story in several ways. Captain America 4 doesn’t sound like a project that will focus on or revolve around such a concept, but it might still deal with it in some form. If Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness breaks the multiverse further, a Crossbones variant could join the main MCU timeline. Depending on the fallout of the multiverse breaking, Strange could ask Sam to round up some variants he’s familiar with, such as Crossbones. This is admittedly the least likely option for how Crossbones could return in Captain America 4, but it is still worth mentioning.
The MCU has brought characters previously believed to be dead back on multiple occasions, and Crossbones is another character who deserves a second shot. He has great potential as a character and likely would’ve had a much bigger role in the MCU if the third Captain America movie didn’t evolve into a Civil War adaptation. The end result of the movie’s development meant wasting Crossbones and eliminating any chance he had at a future. There is still a lot more that Marvel can do with Crossbones, though, and Frank Grillo was criminally underused in his two appearances. Bringing him back as Crossbones in some fashion makes sense, especially if wants to keep playing the character, and Captain America 4 is the right spot for it. He’s best associated with the franchise and the characters who will likely be seen in it. Unless Marvel is saving Crossbones’ next appearance for the mystery Chris Evans MCU return project, then Captain America 4 is the best place for Rumlow’s return.
More: It’s Good Chris Evans Isn’t Returning For Captain America 4
Cooper Hood is a news and feature writer for Screen Rant. He joined Screen Rant in late 2016 following a year-long stint with MCU Exchange, which came after first developing an MCU blog of his own. He graduated college in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Media & Public Communication, with a minor in Media Production. Cooper’s love for movies began by watching Toy Story and Lion King on repeat as a child, but it wasn’t until The Avengers that he took an invested interest in movies and the filmmaking process, leading him to discover the world of film journalism. Every year Cooper looks forward to seeing the latest blockbusters from the likes of Marvel, DC, and Star Wars, but also loves the rush to catch up on Oscar films near the end of the year. When he isn’t writing about or watching new releases, Cooper is a fantasy football obsessive and looking to expand his Blu-Ray collection – because physical media is still king! Follow Cooper on Twitter @MovieCooper.


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