The marketing campaign for Captain America: Civil War is in full swing; that is if you don't count Spider-Man, because he's still nowhere to be seen. While his absence has been the main focus, we have also been missing any sign of our so-called main antagonist in the film, Baron Helmut Zemo. German actor Daniel Brühl will be playing the villain in [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) this summer.
In an interview with Business Insider, Brühl revealed that his character in the film would not be wearing his signature mask – and there are other changes in store for the villain:
“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.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is no stranger to changing stories and characters from the comics to fit within the films, so this change does not come as a shock. But could this change be hiding a bigger secret waiting to be revealed in the film? While Brühl says he will not be wearing the Zemo mask, could his own face be the mask he is wearing, just waiting to be revealed as the return of the Red Skull? Let's take a look at some of the signs of his possible return.
Hiding in Plain Sight
In Captain America: The Winter Solider, we discover that the Nazi terrorist group Hydra has been rebuilt by Armand Zola within S.H.I.E.L.D., and have been continuing their work. While acting as a senior official of S.H.I.E.L.D. and member of the World Security Council, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) was actually one of Hydra's top undercover leaders. While all of this was uncovered and seemingly dealt with in the film, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been rebuilding and there are still Hydra leaders and followers hiding within it.
Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige talked about how in the film Zemo will go by many different names and also said this:
“I will say that his character is very much a product of the Cinematic Universe and all that has occurred within that universe up to this point.” (Source - EW)
A product of the Cinematic Universe? Sounds to me that he is hinting at a huge reveal for that character, and my guess it will look something like this:
A Fulfilling Story Arc
In Captain America: The First Avenger, we are treated to the origin story of the title hero and Bucky Barnes, who would later become the Winter Solider. Two very important story elements were retconned to fit into the MCU film universe. The first being Bucky's apparent demise in the film, and the other being how Captain America got frozen in the icy depths of the Arctic.
In the film, Cap and Buck are on a mission attacking a train carrying Arnim Zola, Red Skull's top scientist. A fight ensues between Cap, Buck, and some Hydra soldiers. In the end, Bucky gets knocked off the side of the train, loses an arm and is re-born as the Winter Solider in the next film.
In the comics, it is an attack on Baron Zemo's hideout that leads to both the fate of Bucky and the freezing of Captain America. Having the fates of the two heroes intertwined with Red Skull for the films was a smart move. While the change could be seen as nothing super significant, if in the end Brühl actually turns out to be Red Skull, the emotional payoff of having the two heroes' stories come full circle would be something special.