(Note - potential SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War lie below...proceed with suitable caution...)
Now, in the past week or so, we've already been on the receiving end of a pretty solid dose of behind-the-scenes action from Captain America: Civil War. Between glimpses of Bucky and a series of shots of our leading heroes (from what seems to be a funeral), we're already starting to get a solid sense of just what the movie'll be like for some of its leading Avengers.
When it comes to Civil War's villains, though, things are a little more murky. We still know very little about how Daniel Brühl's Baron Zemo will fit in, or about which other minor villains may well pop up - and, crucially, we haven't yet seen anything from the classic Cap villain teased at Captain America: The Winter Soldier's end: Brock Rumlow a.k.a. Crossbones.
Until now, that is, since (thanks to some helpfully leaked set pics):
We Finally Have Our First Look at Crossbones
Otherwise known as 'the guy Frank Grillo played':
Who, after having his ass handed to him a couple of times during Winter Soldier, including - early on - in this already near-iconic scene...
...ended up horribly, horribly burned:
However, as we can now tell from a series of leaked set-pics (and the confirmation, a while back, that Grillo would be returning as Rumlow), we're set to see a whole lot more of the villain in Civil War.
Or, strictly speaking, a whole lot less:
Y'see, Crossbones seems set to don a far more substantial set of body armor than his comic-book counterpart tends to wear - with a heavy duty helmet and what look like pneumatic punching-gauntlets replacing his traditional thin mask and large guns...
Which may well also suggest that we'll be seeing more of the brutal, casual-murder-loving side of Crossbones' typical comic-book persona than the more whimsical psychopath he often flirts with being:
Not least because Frank Grillo's (awesome, and distinctly tongue-in-cheek) Instagram response to the leaked images certainly seemed to be channeling the dark side of his character's mind:
In hilarious and terrifying fashion...
What Does His Return Mean for Civil War, Though?
Well, for one thing, it most definitely reinforces the impression that Civil War will be more of a continuation of The Winter Soldier than the covert 'Avengers 2.5' many suspect - but it also hints at a very specific role in the plot for the villain.
Y'see, in the comics, Crossbones and Cap go back a long way, with 'Bones having first appeared way back in 1989 - and spent much of the intervening years working as a spectacularly violent henchman for the Red Skull.
Now, there's no guarantee that we'll see the Skull reappear in Civil War (though here's hoping...), but the general thrust of one of the villain's evil schemes may well be about to make it in.
Specifically, the one that threaded its way through the comic-book Civil War: the plot to kill Captain America.
A plot which involved (a brainwashed) Sharon Carter...
The transformation of Bucky into a hero...
The nefarious past actions of Doctor Faustus...
And a whole lot of Crossbones...
All of which, it seems, are now pretty solidly present in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So - that suspicion that the key creative types at Marvel are planning on killing Cap? It might not be as far-fetched - or MCU logic-bending - as it seems...
What do you think, though?
Will Cap die in Civil War?