10 Potential Directions For The Future Of MCU Villain Baron Zemo

Avengers saboteur Helmut Zemo may be behind bars momentarily, but the master planner's imprisonment can only last for so long.

Acting as a central figure in Marvel Studios' latest Disney + release The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, actor Daniel Bruhl's Baron Helmut Zemo was one of the few characters who left the six-episode series with each of his goals complete. However, Marvel opting to keep Hulmut around signifies that the comic book venture may have future plans in store for the character. Though the Zemo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) shares slight deviations from the comic book iteration, that does not mean there cannot be more done with Zemo within the MCU. 

Disappears From the Story

10. Disappears From the Story

Now, this is a less likely option, but it is certainly possible. Marvel has retired certain characters for years such as Hulk for The Abomination and Hydra figurehead Red Skull, before finding the appropriate time to reintegrate the villains into the story once again. Zemo's first-hand experience with Captain America and The Avengers can lend itself to storylines heading into Marvel's upcoming fourth phase of films. It would be disappointing to have Zemo either killed off-screen or exit the story altogether. 

Targets John Walker
Deseret News.com

9. Targets John Walker 

Though Zemo has seemingly eliminated the remnants of super-soldier radicals The Flagsmashers with the aid of his devoted butler Oeznik, there remains a super soldier in the form of U.S. Agent / John Walker. The former Captain America, Walker received a vial of the super-soldier serum, which increased his strength and stamina as well as emotional tenacity. In a way, it was Helmut's fault John initially came into contact with the serum, which he may want to rectify. Zemo has not ensured the death of Avengers affiliated super-soldier Bucky Barnes, but John Walker is a completely different factor. Walker has shown that he will occasionally fly off the handle and dish out violent forms of justice, in public no less. 

Disfigurement From Adhesive X 
Marvel Database.com

8. Disfigurement From Adhesive X 

An indissolvable chemical created in WWII, Adhesive X had an adverse effect on not only Helmut but his older father Heinrich. Adhesive X is a material known for searing the infamous purple mask onto Zemo's face, permanently disfiguring both characters. While Zemo's iconic purple mask was glimpsed in the series, it hardly had a long-standing presence. With the inclusion of Adhesive X, Zemo would have a viable justification to keep the mask attached to his face for the time being. Though, the chemical is a fairly comic book element that the MCU may want to avoid in fear of scorching the grounded character. 

Regains Control of Bucky Barnes

7. Regains Control of Bucky Barnes

Former partner / best friend of Captain America, Bucky Barnes a.k.a. The Winter Soldier served as Zemo's major ace in the hole in Captain America Civil War; being used to tear apart The Avengers both physically and emotionally. Using a Russian handbook of codewords, Helmut achieved in using Barnes not as a personal puppet but as a simple means to an end. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has thoroughly displayed that Barnes has now surpassed Zemo's programming, with the help of the African nation of Wakanda. Not to mention that the handbook gimmick has been played enough in both The Winter Soldier and Civil War. The last thing that a reformed Bucky needs to his spotty reputation is to be controlled once again by Zemo.

Enacts Vengeance Against Wakanda
Inside The Magic.com

6.  Enacts Vengeance Against Wakanda

For his role in killing the revered King of Wakanda T'Chaka, Helmut Zemo will forever remain an enemy in the eyes of the technologically advanced African nation. However, Zemo remains alive due to the interference of Wakanda and that is a decision that the nation could regret in the future. If T'Chaka's descendent T'Challa a.k.a. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) had not intervened in his planned suicide, Zemo would be with his fallen family as opposed to rotting away in a cell at the bottom of the ocean. Though Zemo's goals may be primarily aimed at super-soldiers for the moment, it's only a matter of time before Zemo sets his sights on Wakanda. 


5. Prequel Focused on Zemo's Ancestry

Though it has yet to be explored in the MCU, Baron Zemo has quite the family lineage in Marvel Comics. Baron Heinrich Zemo was a member of the **** -party and the 12th descendant of the Baron title, but the first to battle the star-spangled man Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America. Similar to his arch-foe, Heinrich would survive to the modern age, tangling with Rogers and his newfound allies The Avengers. If Marvel decides to keep Helmut behind bars for the foreseeable future, exploring the Zemo family's past with Heinrich and Steve's battles in World War II would be an interesting route to take. As seen with his title of Baron and mass wealth, Marvel Studios are not afraid of retconning certain events in order to align the character closer to his comic book counterpart.

Indefinite Imprisonment in The Raft
Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki.com

4. Indefinite Imprisonment in The Raft

Zemo ended The Falcon and The Winter Soldier series imprisoned within Marvel Comics' supermax prison The Raft. As the season finale portrayed, Zemo can be just as dangerous behind bars as he can be out in the open. With the Flgsmasher threat resolved, there is no telling if there would be any need for Zemo to return to the surface. Even if Helmut did not set foot out into the open air ever again, it would still be a fun prospect to have the character as a Hannibal Lecter-like figure aiding other Marvel heroes from behind bars.

Leads His Own Supervillain Team

3. Leads His Own Supervillain Team

In Marvel Comics, there can't be a Baron Zemo without a formidable team of baddies right behind him. Founded by Helmut's father Heinrich, The Masters of Evil served as a foil to Steve Rogers' superhero force The Avengers. Over the years, the team has featured supervillains from Asgardian sorceress the Enchantress, low life baddies The Wrecking Crew, sound construct Ulysses Klaw, and former nuclear psychist turned radiated mutate The Radioactive Man. While the stable collection of existing villains are slim, Zemo has avid criminal connections throughout Madripoor and could surely gain a following for help against Earth's Mightiest Heroes. 

Offered a Government Plea Deal
Games Radar.com

2. Offered a Government Plea Deal

With The Avengers currently scattered, Earth is in need of a team of formidable world defenders. The U.S. government may resort to offering a plea bargain at prisoners housed within The Raft, including Helmut Zemo. In the comics, this plea deal is the basis for The Thunderbolts. Through The Thunderbolts, Zemo fools the world that the villains are their newfound protectors, complete with all-new identities.  Alongside reformed villains Songbird, Goliath, Moonstone, Beetle, and Fixer, Zemo (undercover as new hero Citizen V) leads the government-sponsored Thunderbolts into battle against active villains and heroes throughout the world. As the team progress, the nature of heroism truly begins to have an effect on the titular team of villains.

Enlists in The Madripoor Dance Competition
Screen Crush.com

1. Enlists in The Madripoor Dance Competition

Without a doubt, Zemo's standout moment in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was the dance in Madripoor. It's a moment that has gained not only meme status but an hour-long Dancing Zemo supercut, released by Marvel. Zemo has obviously shown through his dance that he has the dance moves to Guardians of the Galaxy leader Peter Quill / Star-Lord.  Though Daniel Bruhl sure can put on a show, this is purely more of a fan wish than a true want. 

Even if Marvel Studios decides to put Helmut Zemo on the shelf for another few years, Zemo is a character that the company will always have in its back pocket to use in the grand scheme. In a world populated with supervillains, Zemo is there to stand out amongst the foes as an ordinary man that can bring the same amount of damage and hardship to the heroes, either on his own or with a team backing him.

Current junior Writing Arts major attending Rowan University. I am an avid writer, comic book reader, and film enthusiast.

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