43

Taking this question from another perspective:

Since

  1. [Out-of-universe] Hugo Weaving was not willing to take back his role as Red Skull

  2. [In-universe] and it seems that any generic ominous figure with a black cloak dubbed by Max von Sydow would have done the same job perfectly well

Why was it necessary to have Red Skull as the guardian of the Soul Stone? Is there something in Captain America that explains this continuity? Or some hint to future movies? Or is it just to reinforce continuity generally speaking?

46

This is answered by Russo brothers themselves:

What was the decision making process to bring Red Skull back?

Joe Russo: Somebody had to be the gatekeeper to the Soul Stone and somebody had to distribute the rules to Thanos and Gamora.

Anthony Russo: In a way that was credible and believable.

Joe Russo: Who felt credible to the audience. And a character who has been trapped – the Red Skull has been turned into this wraith who now guards the Soul Stone and distributes the rules to whoever shows up there trying to obtain it. It felt like there was more credibility than just a random character.

Anthony Russo: Somebody who has a history with the stones may seem like they have a little more authority in terms of their experience – especially a tragic experience. - uproxx.com

So it looks like they picked someone who had a history with infinity stones. And remember Red Skull is a famous recurring character in marvel comics and we didn't really see enough of him compared to his comics arcs.

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    "... and somebody had to distribute the rules to Thanos and Gamora." -- That's exactly what I was thinking.. I mean, what else would they do, put up a sign that has the directions printed on it? "You must sacrifice this much to be able to get the Soul Stone" (analogous to roller coaster ride signs). Unlikely, lol.. +1 – Charles May 15 '18 at 13:00
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    You do wonder how many people Red Skull has given the instructions to in the ~73 years he's been there and why the other seekers couldn't pay the price. – jeffronicus May 15 '18 at 16:14
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    @jeffronicus It might not actually be that many, if any at all. Remember, Gamora was the only person who knew where it was. Not even Thanos knew, which is why he needed Gamora back. – kjw May 15 '18 at 17:00
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    @Doug I got the impression the Soul Stone "told" him directly. Red Skull was, after all, "banished" to this world, which implies some semblance of intent on the part of the Space Stone and/or the Soul Stone. Whether that intent was conscious or sentient is a matter of debate, but either way he ended up as a servant to the Soul Stone. – Mage Xy May 15 '18 at 18:53
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    @kjw I'd like to point out that there were probably more seekers of the soul stone. Red Skull's conversation with Thanos goes something like, RS: Are you prepared to pay the price. T: I am. RS: Most believe they are prepared, but so few are. It seems like Red Skull has seen others try and fail to get the stone. – BlackThorn May 15 '18 at 20:24

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