Falcon And The Winter Soldier: Who Is Zemo?

Falcon And The Winter Soldier will be hitting Disney+ later this month, and will feature – as the title suggests – the Falcon and the Winter Soldier working together. These two were Captain America’s closest allies, but have never seen eye to eye. That said, the Winter Soldier did appear to support Cap’s decision to pass the shield (and possibly the Captain America moniker itself) onto Falcon. While their will-they-won’t-they-punch-each-others-lights-out relationship will make up the bulk of the show, we also know that Zemo is returning for the series. Zemo featured in Captain America: Civil War, but that appearance only scratched the surface of what Zemo is about, and did not feature his trademark attire; something the trailer hints will be rectified in the Disney+ series. But just who is Zemo?

Falcon And The Winter Soldier: Who Is Zemo?

In the comics, Zemo is drastically different from his MCU iteration, though both are bad guys in the Captain America arcs. In pencil and ink, Zemo is a baron heir, obsessed with the idea of an Aryan master race, and a key cog not only in Hydra, but in the Masters of Evil as well. He is a highly trained soldier and excellent marksman, but generally his only ‘powers’ come from an engineered headband that allows him to disrupt psionic manipulation. However, he also carries a water pistol full of Adhesive X, the world’s strongest glue. It’s actually cooler than it sounds. He later gets access to Moonstones, which allow him to manipulate energy, light, or gravity, as well as giving him super strength, the ability to fly, something similar to teleportation, and a few more. It’s unlikely the MCU will go this route, but the trailer has shown us the return of his classic purple balaclava.

In the MCU, his wife and children were killed during the Avengers’ battle with Ultron, and thus he views them as villains, not heroes. As a result, he attempts to destroy them. He is not a super villain, nor is he part of a network of evil, he is just one man trying to bring down the Avengers.

Who Is Zemo’s Actor?

Helmut Zemo is played by Daniel Bruhl, a German-Spanish actor you might recognise from Inglourious Basterds, The Bourne Ultimatum, or Rush, the latter of which he starred in opposite Thor actor Chris Hemsworth. Of course, you might just also recognise him from the MCU, since Zemo is the central antagonist in Captain America: Civil War.

What Did Zemo Do In Civil War?

Zemo hatches a plan to destroy the Avengers from the inside, by letting them fight amongst themselves. To do this, he first plants the bomb that kills T’Chaka and frames the Winter Soldier for it. This causes a rift between Captain America – who defends the Winter Soldier – and Black Panther. From here, lines are drawn and various Avengers and Avengers-adjacent heroes choose their side.

Meanwhile, Zemo infiltrates the secure facility where the Winter Soldier is being held while he waits his trial, and uses a set of secret codewords to ‘activate’ the Winter Soldier, returning him to the mindless assassin Hydra had forced him to become. In doing so, Zemo also learns that the Winter Soldier was the one responsible for the deaths of Tony Stark’s parents. Captain America then tries to apprehend Zemo, but the reprogrammed Winter Soldier attacks Cap, and Zemo escapes.

This sets up the climactic final battle between Iron Man (who also soon learns of how his parents died), the Winter Soldier, and Captain America. Zemo, content that he has succeeded, attempts to shoot himself, but is stopped by Black Panther. Zemo is then arrested and placed in a hyper secure anti-terrorism facility. General Ross taunts Zemo, asking him how it feels to watch his plan fail, to which Zemo replies “Did it?”

Did Zemo Beat The Avengers?

In Civil War, I suppose that’s a matter of opinion. He has no powers and so never challenges them to a brawl as many villains do, and it’s difficult to know what he truly gained from the Civil War. But he wanted to break up the Avengers, and that’s precisely what he did. In fact, if not for Zemo driving a rift between the Avengers – in particular Iron Man and Captain America – then perhaps the events of Infinity War would have unfolded very differently. Despite that, it doesn’t seem like Zemo has come around on superheroes, and may wish to drive a similar wedge between Falcon and the Winter Soldier when they match wits.

Next: It’s OK To Think That The WandaVision Quote About Grief Is Profound

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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey

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