Marvel Cinematic World: Who is this guy?

Welcome to the Titan Vs. Titan official blog, where we chop up, analyze, explore and reassemble the wonderful world of comic books on page and screen. First on the agenda for discussion, the Marvel U, specifically of the film and TV variety. Over the last few years the continuity from Iron Man to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to Daredevil and Ant Man has been meticulous and extremely fun. I've been watching the third season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and I was excited to see Powers Boothe return to the franchise as the mysterious Gideon Mallick. Boothe is one of those fantastic character actors who always seems to find his way into memorable roles like Curly Bill Brocious from Tombstone, Roark in Sin City, Cy Tolliver in Deadwood and in his voice over work for the DCU as Lex Luthor and Gorilla Grod. Not many actors can pull off that scary intensity that he can and it's always a pleasure to watch. If you are the observant type you will have noticed the picture above. Mr. Boothe appeared in a cameo in the first Avengers film as a World Security Council Member talking shit to Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. Apparently this same character is now guest starring on Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D in a mysterious role as one of the heads of HYDRA. So who is this guy really and is he going to play a larger role in the MCU?

I like to think of myself as a bit of a comic historian after my many years of reading and yes, studying. I remembered reading the name Albert Malik from one of my Amazing Spider-Man issue (no. 366). Malik was a Russian who was turned into the new Red Skull and in my issue was busy denigrating Peter Parker's dead parents memory by creating robot Parkers to torment their son, long story short Spidey took care of business and kicked his ass. Gideon Mallick does not appear to be a character anywhere in the Marvel Universe so maybe it's more than a coincidence that he would share a similar last name with a Red Skull. Then I saw the post on Movieweb and they also thought Mallick could possibly be playing the 3rd Red Skull. It's intriguing and plausible since Hugo Weaving probably won't be back anytime soon to reprise his role of the Red Skull from the first Captain America film. Even he thought that the Skull wasn't dead according to interviews. I however am thinking of a much more complex vision as to how the Red Skull has already returned.

Let's go back to Captain America: The First Avenger. At the end of the film the Red Skull holds the Cosmic Cube, or Tesseract, and appears to dissolve into nothing. If you've watched Thor you'll recognize the Rainbow Bridge effect between worlds and it looks pretty similar to what happens to the Red Skull, which supposes that he transported somewhere, possibly Asgard, the home of Thor. It would make sense this would be the home origin of the Cube. Let's say he's teleported and imprisoned, 'cause clearly Odin wouldn't stand for a guy like that running around his top secret vault of powerful weapons. Which now gives Loki, who in all the films is playing the long game in trying to get his hands on Asgard, a major wild card. 

Fast forward to sometime before the first Thor where Loki discovers from the Skull that the Cube is on Earth and, as the God of Mischief is wont to do, begins setting a plan in motion.  My hypothesis? He makes a deal with the Red Skull to free him, relocate him to Earth with a new identity and to be his inside guy at S.H.I.E.L.D., where he can keep his eye on the crown jewel: the Cosmic Cube. Loki is defeated by Thor and falls through a wormhole only to find himself a prisoner of Thanos the Mad Titan. Loki is the master of manipulation, so he convinces Thanos to make him his champion on Earth so he can retrieve the Cube which Thanos covets and in return Loki gets to rule Earth. This as explained in the Avengers. But let's face it, Loki doesn't care about Earth, he wants Asgard - he says it frequently in all three films, both Thors and Avengers. He even somehow got Thanos to give up one of his stones, the Mind Stone to be a apart of his scepter. So now in Avengers Loki actually has two of the six Infinity Stones. Pretty clever but I think that Loki is pulling one over Thanos; he has no intention of actually ruling Earth. It's also pretty clear if you watch the movie: he tees up the Avengers just perfectly to get them to do what he wants. He clearly doesn't have a problem surrendering when it suits his purposes. Which then deposits him back on the throne and seemingly in charge by the end of Thor 2 which is exactly what he wanted all along with no one the wiser. 

Now back to Gideon Mallick, who is now one of the heads of the secret World Council that runs S.H.I.E.L.D. and is Nick Fury's boss. In the Avengers it was Mallick, who orders the nuclear missile strike on New York that allowed the Avengers to take out Thanos' invasion force, stopping Loki. Admittedly the guy was trying to take out New York and everyone in it but I think that only strengthens my argument that it's OG Red Skull since he tried to do the same thing to New York in the first Captain America.  Now we come to Avengers: Age of Ultron the heads of HYDRA are now a bit fractured after Captain America: Winter Soldier, but somehow Baron Von Strucker has found himself in possession of the mind gem and Loki's scepter.  How did he get it? The Red Skull - Gideon Mallick - gave it to him as S.H.I.E.L.D. was collapsing.

So now on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Gideon Mallick has an actual identity instead of Secret World Council guy but he is still very mysterious. He makes references to Baron Von Strucker, he seems to know a lot about the origins of HYDRA as if he's been part of it for a long time.  He is clearly running HYDRA and now mentoring agent Grant Ward. This has gotta be the Red Skull. Powers Boothe has already been in the Avengers. He's now on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Boothe is the perfect actor to fit in both TV and film worlds and it would be a awesome reveal in Captain America: Civil War that Mallick isn't just a replacement Red Skull but the original. A fitting replacement going forward after Hugo Weaving.

What do you guys think? Is Powers Boothe the Red Skull? Let me know your thoughts below.