ByKatie Granger, writer at
MP Staff Writer, come to bargain.
Katie Granger

It looks like Marvel might be ruffling a few feathers with their big screen adaptation of super-villain Baron Zemo, as there's a surprising twist been put on the famous Captain America villain for his upcoming debut in [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409)

Who's Baron Zemo Then?

Baron Zemo actually refers to more than one character in the Marvel universe; it's a title passed down in a lineage from father to son, so there's no guarantee that the Captain America: Civil War Baron Zemo will be anything like that of the two most prevalent: Heinrich Zemo and Helmut Zemo, which might explain why they've decided to change things up (we'll get to that shortly).

A sadistic genuis, Heinrich was a Nazi scientist and WMD creator that Captain America battled repeatedly during World War II. The red hood that he wears is permanently bonded to his face by Adhesive X, a substance he invented that fell on his face when he was attacked by Cap. After this happened he went a little bit insane. The successor to the title, Helmut Zemo the son of Heinrich, also emerged as a super-villain opposing Captain America who he blamed for his fathers death. He also ended up wearing the hood almost permanently, as he fell into a vat of molten Adhesive X and was hideously scarred.

In addition to the ongoing fight with Cap, Zemo also has a long history with Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier). It was Heinrich Zemo that caused his apparent death during World War II and Helmut Zemo (who is jealous of him) has kidnapped and drugged Bucky to get him to commit unlawful acts (kinda like in Winter Soldier).

Given from what we've seen so far, Bucky is going to be still under the affects of mind control and recovering details of his former life, so the presence of Baron Zemo could have dire consequences for him in Civil War, and cause problems with his newly rediscovered friendship with Cap.

The MCU Baron Zemo

Oddly enough we haven't really heard that much about the introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Baron Zemo, so you'd be understood if you speculated that he's only going to be a minor character in the massive ensemble cast. However Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, has referred to Zemo as the "main villain", so maybe they're just trying to keep everything under wraps for the big reveal.

Daniel Brühl will portray Baron Zemo
Daniel Brühl will portray Baron Zemo

Now according to Daniel Brühl (who will portray our MCU Zemo), the Civil War version of the Baron will be a very lose adaption of the comic book character and will change up a lot about him. Including his signature mask.

"He does not wear the mask…You would be surprised, it's different than what you'd think. It’s loosely connected to this character. But that's what I like about the Marvel guys, some of the characters and things they're dealing with always reference to current events so my character is from a different area than you would think."

This does kinda make sense given the context of Civil War. Zemo's Nazi-scientist, WWII vibe wouldn't really mesh with the modern context that the MCU is concerned with, it worked okay for the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger but that was set within his own historical context, not contemporary America.

According to Brühl the Russo Brother's (who are directing) have managed to put an interesting modern twist on Baron Zemo, one that's going to impress and surprise fans. Hmm.

It wouldn't be the first time Marvel has made tweaks in the on-screen adaptations of characters, Scarlet Witch was seriously powered down, with no sign of her reality-manipulating powers when she debuted earlier this year in [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035). Baron von Strucker, another classic Captain America villain who appeared in [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973) and Age of Ultron, is lacking his bionic arm. These changes were made presumably to keep the narrative believable and in line with the MCU continiuity, so we can assume this'll be a similar situation for Baron Zemo.

Daniel Brühl has reportedly signed up for multiple films and is rumoured to appear in Marvel's upcoming Doctor Strange, but we'll see him first when Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters on May 6, 2016.


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