Since the announcement that Captain America 3 would adapt the story of Marvel’s Civil War, the focus of the marketing has appropriately been on the idea of superheroes who’ve fought together over the course of a dozen movies would now be fighting each other. A battle if ideals fueled by politics, emotions, and personal relationships.
But of of course, it’s not that simple. While Marvel kept quiet on what else might be happening in Captain America: Civil War as new characters such as Black Panther and Spider-Man get the spotlight attention, there is a real “villain” of sorts involved in the first chapter of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His name is Zemo.
Even with the large amount of trailers, TV commercials, online clips, and behind-the-scenes featurettes, there’s not been one scene shared – official or otherwise – of Daniel Bruhl’s character in Captain America: Civil War. He’s had no photos and no posters. He’s not participated in any of the press conferences or interviews, and we didn’t even see him on set when we visited the production last summer (read our set visit report here!). Marvel wouldn’t even name the character he’s playing although it became clear from the initial trade reports of his casting that Bruhl was going to be playing a version of Baron Zemo from the comics who will appear in multiple Marvel movies. Bruhl semi-confirmed it himself not long after joining the project.
Now it’s officially official so throw your doubts away. Co-director Joe Russo, in an interview with EW for their summer movie preview reveal today – featuring Captain America: Civil War as their cover story (and comes in four covers that connect together) – a series of new images were released as well including the first look at Daniel Bruhl’s Helmut Zemo.
As Helmut Zemo, Daniel Brühl is a mysterious, manipulative figure who is positioning the heroes against each other. Why? We know, but can’t say. It’s too much of a spoiler. This character is a significant variation on the cackling, purple-masked Baron Zemo from the Marvel Comics, who led a group that called itself the Masters of Evil. (No mystery about their intentions there.) “He’s still similar to what you know of Zemo, a revenge character,” Joe Russo says.
No mask from the comics, at least not yet. But take that keyword of “revenge” and apply it to the only thing Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige (when he spoke about Civil War’s new characters) would say about the character previously:
“I will say that his character is very much a product of the Cinematic Universe and all that has occurred within that universe up to this point.”
Something that happened in the MCU prior has set Zemo on a path of revenge. Could it be the disappearance of Red Skull in WWII? Could it be Hydra being sort of defeated in Captain America: The Winter Soldier? What does he want and who does he want revenge against? Well, it’s a Captain America movie after all, and Helmut Zemo is exactly who I called last January because it just makes sense:
Baron Zemo is another creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby whose history dates back to WWII where he fought with The Red Skull (played by Hugo Weaving in The First Avenger) against Captain America. Zemo was also a Nazi scientist and weapon maker, visually distinctive thanks to a unique hood that got stuck to his face during a confrontation with Cap. Given the timelines of the movies and when audiences will meet Zemo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s more likely that Zemo’s son, Baron Helmut Zemo, will be adapted instead with his father potentially used as connective thread to Cap’s past. It’s a potentially smart way to tie back to the character’s origins, the Red Skull and Hydra, which are all being explored still in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC.
Expect to find out more soon with Civil War opening in theaters in just a few weeks with some special fan screenings taking place tonight.
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd and Frank Grillo, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl.
Anthony & Joe Russo are directing with Kevin Feige producing. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Get ready to pick a side and join the nonstop action playing out on two fronts when Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War opens in U.S. theaters on May 6, 2016.
Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017;Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1– May 4, 2018;Ant-Man and the Wasp– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans– July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.