Hasbro Toys held their annual pre-Toy Fair media day February 15, and as expected teased some major spoilers for upcoming movies. The biggest, by far, was in the "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" line which may (or may not) have revealed the return of one of Marvel Studios' biggest villains.
The line includes fun items like a shield that secretly hides four soft shooting darts, and a glowing helmet. But of most interest was the main Cinematic Universe action figure line. It contains figures for Captain America (Chris Evans), sidekick The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and villain The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). But perhaps most surprisingly, also contains a figure featuring the Red Skull.
In "Captain America: The First Avenger" Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) was the main antagonist. By the movie's end, he had been sucked into space by the Tesseract, a semi-magical artifact which showed up later in "Marvel's The Avengers." Whether Red Skull died, was sent to another dimension or sucked into the cube itself was left open to interpretation. Now though, it looks like we may get part of that answer in the movie's sequel.
A word of caution: toys are notoriously unreliable indicators of exact plot points. For every "Mandarin attacks Tony Stark's house" playset for "Iron Man 3," there's a dozen "Ice Fortress Tony" playsets which never appear anywhere in the movie, but are fun to play with. What makes this figure suspect, though, is that it's positioned as part of the main action figure line, specifically for the sequel.
In fact, during Hasbro's presentation they introduced a number of figures that were inspired by comics, though branded as "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," including villain Baron Zemo, and a gigantic battle-suited Mandroid. The Red Skull was not part of this caveated line of toys.
Naturally, this raises a number of questions: is Red Skull just seen in flashback? Is he secretly running the brainwashed Winter Soldier behind the scenes? Or is this, in fact, just a toy inspired by the movies but not related?
The toys are now on shelves, and the movie hits theaters on April 4. We should have some sort of answer then.