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Why Isn’t Zemo On The Thunderbolts Movie Team?

Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo was absent in the MCU’s first look at Marvel’s Thunderbolts at D23. There’s an in-story reason why he wasn’t included.


Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo wasn’t announced alongside the cast for Marvel’s Thunderbolts at D23 Expo 2022, but there’s a logical reason behind it. The Thunderbolts, Marvel’s super team of villains and antiheroes turned heroes, will star in their own Multiverse Saga installment, with the Thunderbolts movie ending Phase 5 in July 2026. It will consist of at least six established MCU antiheroes, with at least one other famous MCU face likely to join them at some point.

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Many Marvel heroes, antiheroes, and villains have joined the ranks of the Thunderbolts in the comics, including Luke Cage, Deadpool, and Norman Osborn. But if there’s one character who has been closely associated with the Thunderbolts since the team’s inception, it’s Baron Helmut Zemo. Zemo founded the team, betrayed them, got betrayed by them, and reclaimed his membership every once in a while. Being a key part of the Thunderbolts, Zemo is expected to appear in the MCU’s version of the team as well.

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One of Marvel Studios’ announcements at the D23 Expo was the first official look at the Thunderbolts’ movie lineup, which includes Yelena Belova, Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, Ava Starr/Ghost, John Walker/US Agent, and Antonia Dreykov/Taskmaster. The big question, of course, is why Baron Zemo wasn’t included. There may be various reasons: the Thunderbolts could spend part of the movie trying to break Zemo out of Wakanda, where he was taken at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier by the Dora Milaje. Otherwise, the Thunderbolts could assemble without him and be shocked to see him take the lead, or join forces in order to defeat him.


How Zemo Can Appear In The Thunderbolts Movie

Whatever the case, Baron Zemo must find a way out of Wakanda, but the new Black Panther and the Dora Milaje may not be as supportive. If Zemo is smart enough to get people killed while imprisoned at the Raft, then no prison is good enough to keep him inside for long. Perhaps Bucky Barnes will help him break out just like he did at the beginning of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, giving him the chance to lead the Thunderbolts and, possibly, manipulate them for his own bidding. Either way, the Thunderbolts must always keep an eye on Zemo.

Zemo makes for a great Thunderbolts villain, so seeing him turn on the team is a likely scenario. Marvel’s Thunderbolts could follow the team trying to return Baron Zemo to prison, or perhaps kill him for good. One last obvious reason why Zemo wasn’t included in the many MCU announcements at D23 Expo 2022 may be because he will debut his Citizen V costume, which makes part of his heroic facade in the comics. Whether he would be open about his new identity or tries to pass off as a brand-new hero is difficult to predict, but it would certainly take Daniel Brühl’s manipulative Baron Zemo to interesting places in the MCU.

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