Which, even for the world of comic book movies where the jaws of death are easily escapable, is actually quite surprising -- considering this is how we last saw Frank Grillo's sinister mercenary in Captain America: Civil War.
Actually, the fact that a potential return for Crossbones was on the cards isn't exactly new. Grillo himself floated the idea on Good Morning America back in July last year, saying:
You think he dies, don't you? Did you see the body? What did you see? I'm not saying anything except that ... you didn't see a body.
But that sounds a bit more like an actor keeping their options open rather than anything specific. And sure, we didn't see a body for Crossbones in Civil War's opening sequence, but it's mostly because what was left of him was splattered over the side of building in Lagos. Tiny, tiny pieces of him. Because he got blown all the hell up.
The fact that Marvel were allegedly considering a return for the character after that is interesting, in light of comments Grillo made in an interview to Collider today -- in which, after his more nebulous comments back in July, makes it sound like Marvel did approach him with an offer to come back after Civil War, but he turned it down:
If [James] DeMonaco was still involved and they came up with a great idea, then I think I would do [another Purge movie]. Otherwise, I think I'm done. Same thing with Captain America. There's nowhere for it to go, unless you're Captain America or Iron Man. They were talking about it, but I was like, 'You know what? I'd just rather not do it.' I'm so appreciative and grateful to have been a part of something that big. I'm appreciative of The Purge. It's become a part of the lexicon and the zeitgeist knows what it is, so that's been fun. But, it's time to move on. Don't stay at the party too long, or you get knocked through the ropes.
So while a return isn't in the cards any more, it seems at some point it was... but how? That explosion would be pretty hard for Crossbones to come back from, without some serious comic book nonsense going on. No matter how, it's apparently not something we have to worry about now: Crossbones' time in the MCU is is over. At least he went out with a bang?