Be aware there are some, likely small, spoilers for Avengers 4.
Break out those tin foil hats Marvel fans, because an MCU actor has just served up some new Avengers 4 details to factor into your favorite theories. If you want to stay totally spoiler free on Avengers 4 as long as possible, now’s your chance to stop reading. Ok, last chance.
Frank Grillo has confirmed that Brock Rumlow, aka Crossbones, will return for a scene in Avengers 4. But how, you ask? Didn’t he die in Captain America: Civil War? Indeed, he did, but the how is more interesting than the who in this case (no offense to anyone who’s super stoked to see Crossbones again). In the process of confirming his return, Grillo also confirmed that Avengers 4 will also feature flashback scenes that return to the events of MCU past.
“[Crossbones] makes an appearance in the next Avengers movie, but it’s a flashback,” Grillo said on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “And I’m allowed to say whatever I want because I’m never doing another Marvel movie…because I’m 117 years old,” the actor said. Now, after a decade of MCU stars joking about Marvel snipers taking them out if they give away any spoilers, let’s keep Frank “Zero Fucks Given” Grillo in our thoughts and prayers.
Grillo’s comment likely isn’t much of a major spoiler (at least not compare to the doozy Mark Ruffalo pulled ahead of Avengers: Infinity War), but it does confirm one of the more popular fan theories that’s been going around since Chris Evans was spotted on set wearing the Captain America uniform from 2012’s Avengers — Avengers 4 is gonna have flashbacks. Some folks thought those set images might point to time travel (especially with the time stone and Quantum Realm in play), but Grillo’s comments point to another popular theory; BARF.
Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing, that is. If you need a refresher, BARF is the Tony Stark technology introduced in Civil War, which allows the wearer to revisit and recreate critical moments from their past. It’s “an extremely costly method of hijacking the hippocampus,” as Tony explained. In Civil War, he uses it to alter his last memory of his parents for a therapeutic demonstration, but ever since a box reading “Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing” was spotted on the Avengers 4 set, fans have speculated that the remaining Avengers would use the technology as a part of their plan to take down Thanos and undo the snap. From a filmmaking perspective, It would also allow the long-awaited culmination of the Avengers films to travel back to iconic moments from the series.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo seemed added fuel to the fire when the dropped by the Happy Sad Confused podcast earlier this year and told listeners, “Certainly, there is a five-minute sequence in Civil War around a piece of technology that was laid in for a very specific reason. So if you go back and look at that film, you may get a hint as to a direction.” So yeah, sounds like Crossbones is gonna get BARF’d.