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MCU Theory: Why Super Soldier Serum Deformed Red Skull But Not Captain America

We all definitely have a lot more time on our hands these days, thanks to the global pandemic quarantining us all in our homes. So, while Hollywood is shut down and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 is delayed, fans are revisiting the Infinity Saga and watching all 24 MCU films once again. This time, they’re digging through them with a fine tooth comb and trying to pull every secret and every Easter Egg out of each film, filling in any gaps and answering any questions they may have had along the way. One such question is exactly how Red Skull lost his skin from his version of the Super Soldier Serum. Now, a new fan theory approaches the subject.

A Reddit user postulates exactly why Johann Schmidt had such a terrible reaction to the serum. While it did increase his strength and durability, he obviously had a terrible side effect in becoming the freakish, skinless skull face that Adolf Hitler deemed ‘The Red Skull’. Check out their reasoning below:

In the scene of the transformation of skinny Steve Rogers into big buff Captain America there is a small joke where Erskine injects him [with] penicillin beforehand. The penicillin shot was much more important than it seems, because [the] human body is full of bacteria, and the Super Serum would enhance microbes as well. Therefore they should be killed beforehand. In the movie, it is shown that Johann ‘Red Skull’ Schmidt injected the serum by himself. It worked but it also enhanced the bacteria [that] grow in such a way that they destroyed the skin of his face (and maybe [his] entire body). And it would have killed him if he wasn’t enhanced as well. So his body is in a constant battle against super microbes and that messed up his face.”

[MCU] The real reason Red Skull got deformed and Captain America didn’t. from FanTheories

While this is a well thought out theory, it unfortunately doesn’t work in the MCU. Firstly, the real reason is spelled out in the film. The formula wasn’t complete yet, and Red Skull didn’t have the vita-rays (based on Gamma radiation) that completed Erskine’s process. This issue is tackled further in the first Avengers film, when Cap discusses the Hulk with Agent Coulson, and talks at how Banner got his ‘infliction’ after trying to recreate the formula. Basically, if you didn’t have Erskine’s finalized formula, there was going to be drastic side effects.

Also, He didn’t lose all his skin, just the skin on his face. Penicillin may be a ‘miracle drug’, but it certainly isn’t stopping that from happening. So, while a good theory, it just isn’t true – but it’s still an interesting thought.

What did you think of this MCU fan theory? Let us know in the comments below!

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