Frank Grillo began his turn as Crossbones in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In that film, he was a pre-Crossbones Brock Rumlow before showing up again as a fully-realized (and costumed) version of the character in Captain America: Civil War last year. I’d say “spoiler alert,” but the movie’s been out for eight months and this is a Marvel site, so you know that the character met his explosive end early on in Civil War.
We all assumed that the character was toast and Grillo’s time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was done. According to Grillo, however, there was talk of bringing Crossbones back from the dead. In a recent interview with Collider, Grillo spoke of that potential opportunity and his decision to pass on it while also discussing his future with the Purge franchise.
“If DeMonaco was still involved and they came up with a great idea, then I think I would do [another Purge movie]. Otherwise, I think I’m done. Same thing with Captain America. There’s nowhere for it to go, unless you’re Captain America or Iron Man. They were talking about it, but I was like, ‘You know what? I’d just rather not do it.’ I’m so appreciative and grateful to have been a part of something that big. I’m appreciative of The Purge. It’s become a part of the lexicon and the zeitgeist knows what it is, so that’s been fun. But, it’s time to move on. Don’t stay at the party too long, or you get knocked through the ropes.”
While the “no body = not dead” rule can always be applied, especially in comic book movies, it’s hard to imagine Crossbones being brought back even if Grillo was up for it. The reason there was no body is because Crossbones quite obviously blew himself up while trying to take Captain America (Chris Evans) with him. He’s gone and while there’s always a way or several to write around such things, the character would have to have a big enough future to make it worthwhile.
Crossbones, while certainly having one of the coolest costumes in all of Marvel villainy, has never really been a top tier antagonist. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely found a perfect place for the character within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Cap and the rest of The Avengers soon to be shifting their focus in a much more cosmic direction, there probably wouldn’t even be a good spot for Crossbones until Phase 4 at the earliest.
Crossbones would make for a cool member of the Masters of Evil if Marvel Studios ever wanted to assemble a team of baddies to take on The Avengers, but his spot on the roster could also be filled easily enough by a number of other characters. There’s no need for a Marvel Cinematic retcon at this point. We got a pretty awesome take on Crossbones in the MCU, thanks in large part to Grillo, and it’s okay to leave it at that.
If, however, you have an idea for where, when, and how you’d like to see Crossbones resurrected in the MCU, there’s no harm in sharing a little fan fiction in the comments section!