One could say that it’s ridiculous to think that Crossbones is still alive after the way we saw him go “boom” in Captain America: Civil War, but according to Frank Grillo we shouldn’t assume that. While promoting his recent movie The Purge: Election Year in an interview with ABC News, Grillo had a few things to say on his MCU villain, Crossbones:
"You think he dies, don't you? Did you see the body? What did you see? That happened last time. I'm not saying anything except that...you didn't see a body."
If this is true and Crossbones does indeed return (Infinity Wars?), what are some possible ways he could still be alive after such an explosive end?
1. Crossbones’ Death And The Infinity Stones
One way that Crossbones could return, as well as other believed-to-be-dead MCU villains, is through the Infinity Stones. While I don’t think Thanos would use an infinity stone to bring back a lesser-powered villain like Crossbones (He would most likely bring back Malekith or Ultron), in the event that an Infinity Stone is used and Crossbones is in fact dead, the aftermath of the Stone being used could alter reality or reverse time, which in turn would theoretically bring back many dead villains and heroes (Quicksilver). If Crossbones didn’t die after the explosion in Lagos in Captain America: Civil War, then the next theory on his miraculous survival takes us to the mysterious powers of Scarlet Witch.
2. Scarlet Witch Warping Reality
The last time we saw Crossbones on screen was when his body was engulfed in flames mid-air by Scarlet Witch (Only his body was engulfed in flames, while his head was completely unscathed). We know that Scarlet Witch still hasn’t reached her highest potential and she is still trying to understand her powers. So, what if during the explosion Scarlet Witch didn’t kill Crossbones, but rather uncovered a hidden ability within herself and sent Crossbones to a different dimension — a type of alternate universe.
In the comics, one of the most famous story arcs is the House of M event where Scarlet Witch, suffering from emotional distress, created a reality where mutants ruled over humans. Later, she altered that same reality by eradicating the mutant gene in over 90 percent of the mutant population, leaving the Marvel universe almost mutant-free. What if this is what happened in Lagos? The explosion could have been an after-effect of Scarlet Witch’s uncontrollable power and Crossbones could be now just existing within a world created by Wanda, without her even knowing (Probably not Crossbones’ body but rather his mind). While this might sound a bit over-the-top, since we are talking specifically about Crossbones, an event like this where she did in fact create an alternate reality could be further explored in the upcoming Doctor Strange.
We know Doctor Strange will explore different dimensions and realities because it was explicitly mentioned in the first trailer. While rather unlikely that we’ll see Crossbones in Doctor Strange, there could be a possible Easter Egg if Scarlet Witch did indeed create a whole new reality. We could then see Crossbones make his return in one of the Infinity War movies. A more practical and less cosmic way that Crossbones could still be alive is if his body was recovered by the people who hired him to blow up Captain America in the first place.
3. A.I.M. Experimented On Crossbones
As Frank Grillo said, we didn’t technically see Crossbones's body. Like I mentioned earlier, when Scarlet Witch stopped the explosion, she engulfed Crossbones’s body in flames, leaving his head unscathed. After an explosion like that, if his head was the only part of his body that survived then he would definitely be dead, no question. But, what if his body didn’t disintegrate when the explosion occurred? Maybe Crossbones knew he wasn’t going to blow up in the first place. He could’ve been experimented on by some organization (A.I.M.?), giving him the ability to absorb energy.
During the action in Lagos when Black Widow is fighting Crossbones on top of a vehicle, she tries to electrocute Crossbones like she did to a terrorist earlier. While she did in fact zap him straight in the neck, Crossbones didn't even flinch, only saying: "I don’t work like that no more." If he was experimented on and given the ability to absorb energy, then A.I.M. is one organization that has the power to do this, as we saw in Iron Man 3 with Aldrich Killian and his goons (Extremis program).
By the way, if you would like to read more about my thoughts on A.I.M. and Crossbones click here. I further explore a possible connection between Crossbones, the real Mandarin and the Lagos incident.
Also, in the comics, there was a time when Crossbones came in contact with the Terrigen Mist, which granted him heat-related powers much like Aldrich Killian. So it’s possible that instead of going the Inhuman way, Marvel Studios could approach that same idea from the comics with Extremis via A.I.M., which would explain how he also survived the explosion at Lagos. But, if not via A.I.M., in what other possible way could Crossbones still be alive?
4. Enter The MCU's Clone Era
Crossbones’s death actually happened. But, what if that was not the only Crossbones? If it turns out, there is more than one Crossbones — a possible clone — then that significantly amplifies the story spectrum in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Why? Because it could introduce us to the Spider-Verse event in the MCU with the appearance of the Scarlet Spiders.
Furthermore, if Crossbones has a clone (or several clones), then why not speculate that the person who hired him to steal the biological weapon in Lagos was none other than Dr. Miles Warren, the Jackal! With the inclusion of Spider-Man in the MCU, this is a high possibility. Why the Jackal would want a bio weapon released could be for the same reasons A.I.M. would want to. He could be the only one in possession of a cure for the Lagos virus. So if it’s the Jackal controlling Crossbones, and he does have a clone, will we see Crossbones in Spider-Man: Homecoming or a sequel? Maybe that is how Chris Evans will get to appear as Captain America in the new Spidey movie — to fight Crossbones, again.
According to ABC News:
Grillo signed a multiple movie deal when he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he says he's up for more if they'll have him back.
So, what do you think? Will we see Crossbones again any time soon? Maybe during the Infinity Wars, or even in a Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel or a possible Iron Man 4? Leave it down in the comments!