Baron Zemo is one of a select group of villains who have returned to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he doesn’t need to come back again in the future. Now that the Infinity Saga has come to an end, the MCU is moving forward with new adventures and both old and new superheroes, but most importantly, this universe is branching out to the realm of streaming with various TV shows that will connect with the movies. Starting this new era was WandaVision, and once it ended, Marvel fans reunited with Sam and Bucky in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Set six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier followed Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) as he decided whether or not to take the mantle of Captain America, and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who continued to struggle with his past as the Winter Soldier. Sam and Bucky teamed up to bring down a radical group known as the Flag Smashers, but to do so, they needed the help of an unlikely ally: Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl), who Bucky helped escape from prison so he could join them. Zemo is one of very few MCU villains who were given a second chance to shine, but this should be his last.
Zemo made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, where he was looking for revenge against the Avengers as he lost his family in the Battle of Sokovia, as seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron. To fulfill his plans, he used Bucky and triggered the Winter Soldier inside him to break the Avengers team from within, joining a select group of MCU villains who have succeeded in their plans. By the end of Civil War, Zemo was captured by Black Panther and sent to prison, where he stayed for years before Bucky broke him out. His role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier wasn’t that of a villain but an unlikely ally (though one with some questionable methods), and he was sent to the Raft once his time helping Bucky and Sam was over. However, Zemo had a final trick up his sleeve and with the help of Oeznik, he killed the remaining Flag Smashers, bringing his role in the series to an end.
However, having Zemo alive and imprisoned still makes way for a possible return in the near future, though that would be unnecessary. Fans were happy to see him again in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier after everything he did in Civil War, as his actions had a major impact in subsequent movies, but Zemo has nothing else to prove – he already served as a villain and an antihero, and has no more loose ends in the MCU, as he and Bucky are even (and he crossed his own name off Bucky’s book) and the Flag Smashers were destroyed, just like he wanted. Zemo will now spend the rest of his days at the Raft, and it would be very difficult for him to escape from that one and it wouldn’t be believable to have him back as a villain.
Zemo has already won twice – he broke the Avengers and got the revenge he wanted, and he killed the Flag Smashers the way he wanted to, so his story is truly over this time. The MCU has a variety of characters coming up in movies and TV shows, further expanding this universe, and it doesn’t need to return at some point, even if he’s an interesting character with a tragic backstory and who has dance moves that can easily go viral.
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