The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a wonderful thing. It is like a giant puzzle, with countless different pieces that intersect across movies and shows. To date, there have been 14 films within the MCU to go along with shows such as Agents of Shield and Luke Cage.
While things do connect through the different media channels, the biggest connections come between the different films. One of the most recent films, last year’s summer blockbuster Captain America: Civil War left fans pondering a few things. One of the questions fans were left asking as they departed the theater revolved around the film’s big bad, Zemo.
In the final scene in which we saw Zemo, he was sitting in a pod/cell. He was also face to face with Everett Ross, who is essentially in charge of the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre. Ross was enjoying seeing the baddie locked up. He kept taunting Zemo by telling him if he did anything against the rules, he would be zapped inside his cell. He ended by posing the question “How does it feel to have seen your plan utterly fail?”.
And that’s where things get interesting. With a smug smirk on his face, Daniel Bruhl’s character replies with “Did it?”. Well if that isn’t a case of foreshadowing for a character’s return, I don’t know what is.
After recently rewatching Civil War, there is more that makes me think we have yet to see the last of Zemo. So let’s take a quick look back on the character, shall we?
First off, this version of Zemo is one who has suffered great loss. He was a Sokovian intelligence officer and soldier. During the Battle of Sokovia, Zemo was called in for duty. He sent his wife and son to be with his father. But his family would perish.
This left him an angry man. In particular, he was left blaming the Avengers. It was the Avengers and their battle that led to him having to leave his family. It was the Avengers and their battle that led to their deaths. As a result, he was turned into the vengeful man we meet in the film.
And Zemo is no dummy. He knew he would be no match against the Avengers in any form of hand to hand combat. So he turned to the psychological battlefield. He became obsessed with destroying the team from the inside out. He found the team’s weak spots.
For Cap, that was turning Bucky back into a monster and making him the most wanted man alive. For Tony, it was revealing the truth behind his parent’s deaths. And in a way, his plan did succeed. He wanted to rip the Avengers apart, and when the credits rolled, you could say that is indeed the case.
Several of the team’s members were locked up. Cap had walked away from his shield. He would then proceed with the criminal activity of breaking out the heroes locked up. Of the remaining members, Rhodey was injured to the point where suiting up again seems unlikely. Vision is left blaming himself for Rhodey’s injury. Black Widow is on the run. And Tony is left with no one to trust.
So, when Zemo utters the words “Did it?”, could this be what he was referring to? Or is there more to come from the villain down the road? Civil War certainly left a few hints about his upcoming return that may have gone undetected by some.
In the comics, Zemo has a pretty classic look. The MCU version, did not have that look. The Zemo we saw was just a normal looking guy. He was missing the classic purple hood. Nothing about him connected him to the man from the comic books. So could he undergo some form of torture that leads to some damage to his face? Could this prompt him to don some form of mask? Certainly possible.
Next, let’s revisit the scene in which he is sitting outside while Cap and Tony trade blows. He listens to the voicemail from his wife one last time before he deletes it. He then appears set to commit suicide, before Black Panther shows up and prevents him from doing so. So how could he have a deeper plan if he was expecting to be dead?
Well, I am of the belief that he had no actual intent of killing himself. Remember, Zemo is all about mind games. He deletes the voicemail because he feels he has gotten vengeance for his family. By pitting Iron Man and Cap against one another, he can live with their deaths. As a result, he can let go of them.
Now we get back into the mind games. While he set up things to make Bucky look like the man responsible for the bombing, he knew people would eventually figure out he was the man behind it all. Given at this point in the film, he is well aware of the death of T’Chaka. So one of the people who would be interested in finding the person responsible would be his son, T’Challa.
He was able to draw Bucky, Cap and Tony to his location all through mind games. So it is not a stretch to think T’Challa would also show up. He would also be aware that Black Panther would be after him, with no interest in the fight between the others. Given his understanding of how the mind works, he likely expected T’Challa to bring him into custody as opposed to killing him as well.
So, there are several reasons to believe he will be showing up in at least one of the nine announced films in the coming years. And there are plenty of signs that there is one film in particular that the odds are pretty high on. That film is one that is currently in production and set for release on February 16th, 2018. The film I am referring to is none other than Black Panther.
Over the course of Civil War, Zemo shares a few moments with some characters that will be appearing in that film. Those characters would be Black Panther himself as well as Everett Ross, both of whom are confirmed for the upcoming film.
As mentioned above, it was T’Challa that brought him into custody. This came as a result of Zemo being the one responsible for the death of Wakanda’s King, and T’Challa’s father. Black Panther spared Zemo his life. So there are plenty of connections to work off between these two.
In addition, we know Zemo and Ross are going to be spending some time together. Being in Ross’ custody, having him show up when Ross does make plenty of sense. So could his true evil plan come to fruition while he is in custody? Maybe he will be transported to Wakanda?
Wakanda is also home to another character with some links to Zemo. That would be Bucky, who is currently being held there in sleep mode. Zemo knows how to wake up the Winter Soldier, and was the main cause of much of his pain. While Sebastian Stan has not been confirmed for the film, it would make sense to see him as well.
So to put things together, it seems like Zemo will be returning down the line in the MCU. Black Panther would be a great spot to reintroduce him. Maybe he will undergo some drastic changes in the film, which could set him up for an even larger role down the road.
I would not count out him obtaining some legit powers, which will lead to the possibility of him being recruited by Thanos when Infinity War rolls around. But the character will need some more development before that happens. So keep your eye out for Zemo when Marvel’s Black Panther rolls into theaters come 2018.