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You are deluded, Captain. You pretend to be a simple soldier, but in reality, you are just afraid to admit that we have left humanity behind. Unlike you, I embrace it proudly, without fear!
~ Red Skull to Captain America.
A lifetime ago, I too sought the stones. I even held one in my hand. But it cast me out, banished me here, guiding others to a treasure I can not possess.
~ Red Skull as the Stonekeeper.

Johann Schmidt, also known as the Red Skull and later the Stonekeeper, is a major antagonist in the Infinity Saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, serving as the main antagonist of Captain America: The First Avenger, a mentioned antagonist in both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and a minor character in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

He was portrayed by Hugo Weaving, who also played Thaddeus Valentine in Mortal Engines, in Captain America: The First Avenger and by Ross Marquand, who also voiced Infinity Ultron in What If...?, from Avengers: Infinity War onwards.

What Makes Him Pure Evil?

  • Massacres through the Kummersdorff, the weapons development ground Arnim Zola worked on, massacring everyone present except Zola who agreed to work for him using his genetics research out of his life, to which Schmidt uses to make himself a superior man, and threatened his life multiple times if he fails him. This eventually led to Zola becoming the vile man he is.
  • Murders Ernst Kauffman in order to gain a higher position.
  • Has Dr. Erskine's family imprisoned and sent to a concentration camp to coerce him into working for him and the Nazis, he then has him imprisoned in terrible conditions.
  • Even though his mutation and deformation was bad, he brought his misery on himself by using an underdeveloped Super Soldier serum copy.
  • Out of anger, he has Erskine's family executed.
  • Attempted to betray Hitler and overthrow him when he viewed receiving his own base for HYDRA as an exile.
  • Threatens the Church keeper on the lives of his family and the village to find the real Tesseract, and when he showed him the real Tesseract, he has the Church keeper killed and the village massacred.
  • Has his scientists try and use the Tesseract in order to create a weapon capable of mass destruction.
  • Sends an assassin to kill Dr. Erskine when he learns of his existence.
  • Kills three Nazi soldiers sent by Hitler out of anger when they scold him for not giving weapons to Hitler and seeing that his plan to cause mass destruction will include the German capital, Berlin, horrifying Zola, though for the wrong reasons. He then separates HYDRA from the Nazis to keep the weapons and the Tesseract for himself.
  • Has the prisoners of war horribly tortured in brutal experiments so he can replicate the effects of the Super Soldier Serum. He also has their workload increased exponentially to which even Zola protests that it will kill them, end eventually, will lose people to speed up progress, to which Red Skull tells they can always gain more prisoners.
  • Initiates the self-destruct sequence of the base when the enemies outnumbered the HYDRA members present, leaving his own men to die. While he gives Zola a key of his car to escape, it is because he views Zola as a valuable pawn, and threatens his life if his car has even a small scratch.
  • Despite his men's devotion to him he shows no care in return, often killing them when they either fail him or in some effort to defeat his enemies. Such cruelty even horrified Zola, although for the same wrong reasons.
  • His ultimate plan is to use his new Tesseract weapons in order to wipe out half of the world so he can rule over whatever is left as a god, making him have the highest attempted kill count for a human villain in the entire MCU. And in order to stop him, Cap ends up being frozen for 70 years and now is a man out of time, living in the world where all his close friends are either dead or just very old.
  • While he ultimately resigns to his fate of guarding the Soul Stone at Vormir, this doesn't disqualify him as he has people sacrifice their own loved ones to gain the Soul Stone, like it happens with Thanos and Gamora, which will end up giving him freedom as he himself can't take the Soul Stone due to his sentence and that he himself has no loved ones.
    • Though to be fair, he himself did not invent the rules for claiming the Soul Stone and is only forced to enforce them due to his imprisonment so he didn't have a choice. However, he still showed no remorse or guilt upon doing so and apathethically watched how Thanos sacrificed Gamora to get the stone.

Trivia

  • Red Skull is the very first Marvel Cinematic Universe villain to be Pure Evil. (Zola is the secondary antagonist and his Pure Evil status wasn't complete yet, so he doesn't count). He is also the only one in phase 1 to count as one.
  • Despite his status as Pure Evil, Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo stated that Red Skull did mellow out following his banishment to Vormir, recognizing his own fault in abusing the Tesseract's powers. However, this statement doesn't count unless it's clearly shown, aside that Red Skull was liberated from his punishment after Thanos claimed the Soul Stone, so he may well get back to his devious machinations now that he's free to do whatever he wants.

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Arnim Zola | Baron Wolfgang von Strucker | Bullseye | Herr Kleiser | Red Skull | Scarecrow | Ultron

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Captain America: The First Avenger: Red Skull | Arnim Zola
Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Arnim Zola | Crossbones
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Annihilus | Arnim Zola | Baron Wolfgang von Strucker | Bullseye | Carnage | Dormammu | Heinrich Himmler | Herr Kleiser | Knull | Mephisto | Mister Sinister | Red Skull | Scarecrow | Shuma-Gorath | Ultron | Zyklon

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The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: Loki | Baron Zemo | Red Skull | Surtur
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Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow: Ultron
Avengers: Infinity War: Red Skull
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Video Games
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite: Ultron Sigma

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