Avengers: Endgame is one of the most insane cinematic feats of the 21st century, wrapping up 22 films, 11 years and one finger snap’s worth of storytelling with an epic battle and a resolution for the beloved superheroes we’ve been following all this time.
How the hell are the Marvel bosses going to follow that one? With a whole bunch of new Disney+ content, that’s how.
Yes, the final scenes of the Russo brothers’ epic end to their saga may’ve left us crying into our popcorn, but now we’re starting to dry those tears and look ahead to what’s next and let’s just say Disney won’t leave us disappointed.
Not only will the House of Mouse’s upcoming streaming service feature brand new spin-off shows for Hawkeye and Vision/Scarlet Witch, but the one we’re particularly excited about is the show centred on Bucky Barnes and Falcon, aka the new Captain America.
Plans about the spin-off have been circulating since last autumn, but only now are the details all starting to fall into place. As discussed, the six-part series will star actors Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in their respective Marvel roles.
More recently, we found out they won't be the only ones working on the project. Per Deadline, it looks like Daniel Brühl is in talks to reprise his role as the supervillain Baron Zemo, just as the MCU enters Phase 4.
But what does his return mean for the future of the show? Could it be that the writers are looking to right some wrongs from his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War? You see, Brühl’s take on the character raised a few eyebrows, not only because fans found him, frankly, a little boring, but also because his story was very different to the comic book iteration.
Instead of starting out as an evil Nazi a-hole and instant enemy of Steve Rogers, the cinematic depiction only became evil once his wife and son were killed in the Battle of Sokovia, leading him to hatch his (surprisingly successful) vengeance plan on the Avengers.
A gigantic question mark now hangs over where the writers will take his arc next. His return has been speculated over the years due to the fact that he survived, with many wondering whether Marvel would develop him in a more faithful direction.
One theory goes that his appearance could be setting the stage for something larger in the MCU... something like the Thunderbolts project. Although we’re yet to receive confirmation over whether this team of antiheroes have a future on the big screen, some take the return of Zemo and the introduction of Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp to mean that we will.
But that still doesn’t get us any closer to what the villain’s story in the Bucky and Sam show could be. If we look to the books, however, there are some clues.
When Sam takes over the mantle of Captain America, almost immediately after Zemo leads a vicious attack on the world, utilising many of Cap’s villains like Baron Blood, Crossbones and Sin.
What if this were to be the case, only instead of the aforementioned big bads, Zemo recruits a few of the Thunderbolts? Although they were initially introduced as a superhero team, their group – which consists of reformed supervillains – experienced a rejig in conjunction with the launch of the Civil War comics.
Of course, the MCU has typically utilised the source material by weaving existing storylines into entirely original chronologies and so there’s all the chance Zemo’s appearance could mark the start of a new threat.
Depending on how significant his role is within the show, he could break free from imprisonment to antagonise the newly appointed Captain America, or it might even come to be that Sam and Bucky team up and use him to take down a remaining branch of Hydra.
Or maybe a bit of both? The idea is supported by the fact that the Deadline report also names Emily Vancamp as another Marvel actor in talks to rejoin the franchise, having portrayed Peggy Carter’s niece Sharon in Winter Soldier and Civil War.
As well as following in her aunt’s footsteps by becoming an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sharon has close ties with the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre, the organisation that is holding Zemo prisoner. See where this is going?
Perhaps the show will involve the vengeful Zemo escaping from imprisonment to launch his attack on the world, leading to Sharon and co calling on the likes of Falcon and the Winter Soldier to track him down.
This is all just speculation, of course. There’s still a while to wait until plot details trickle through, as the show isn’t set to premiere until August 2020. Hopefully that’ll be enough time for Falcon to get used to his shiny new shield in preparation for whatever threats are to come – Zemo included.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier will premiere on Disney+ in 2020.
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