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MCU’s Zemo Actor Responds To Thunderbolts Movie Absence

MCU’s Zemo actor Daniel Brühl discusses his absence from the Thunderbolts film cast and what awaits his character in the future.

Zemo actor Daniel Brühl of the Marvel Cinematic Universe talks about his absence from the cast list for the upcoming film, Lightning strikes. Brühl’s Zemo first entered the MCU in 2016 as the main antagonist’ Captain America: Civil War, where he acted as the puppeteer who successfully got Iron Man, Captain America and the rest of the Avengers to oppose each other. Since then, Zemo has also appeared in 2021 The Falcon and the Winter Soldierwhere Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes free him from prison to help fight the Flag Smashers.


In June 2022 it was announced that Lightning strikes film was in development, focusing on antiheroes and former villains from previous MCU movies. In September, it was announced that the Thunderbolts team would consist of Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss), Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Yelena Belova/Black Widow (Florence Pugh), Ava Starr/Ghost ( Hannah John-Kamen), Antonia Dreykov/Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), John Walker/US Agent (Wyatt Russell), and Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian (David Harbour). The Thunderbolts cast announcement left many wondering why Zemo wasn’t included, especially since his appearance in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier seemed to put him more on an anti-hero path, like many of these other characters.

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In a recent interview with, Brühl talks about his absence from the upcoming team-up movie. Without saying details, Brühl implies that he will indeed return to the MCU, but gives no indication of when and if Lightning strikes is that project. Check out his full quote below:

“Even if I could [explain my absence], I couldn’t, you know. All I can say, everyone knows – is that I’m not dead!

How Marvel’s Thunderbolts Could Explain Zemo’s Absence

Although Brühl’s comments do not answer the question of why he does not appear in Lightning strikes, he seems to be emphasizing that Zemo is still alive, which is why the door is still wide open for his eventual return to the franchise. It is also worth noting that Lightning strikes won’t be released until 2024, and a lot could change in the MCU and with its characters between now and then. Brühl’s comments do not specify which project he will return to, but with the Wakandans Zemo did at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldierit’s possible he could play a small part in the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. However, with its pre-existing connection to the franchise, it’s also possible that the next time the public sees Zemo, Captain America: New World Orderwhich is also released earlier Lightning strikes and could possibly explain where he will be in the MCU at the time.

While it remains to be seen where Zemo ends up next, it’s interesting to see Brühl hinting that there’s more to come out of his character, whether that’s in the Lightning strikes or not. It’s also worth noting that Kevin Feige stated that although the Thunderbolts team lineup has been announced, there is still room for more members. After all, the MCU is known for keeping information away from the public as much as possible and preserving major revelations for as long as possible. It remains to be seen if Zemo will be one of these reveals and will appear in Lightning strikesbut it seems that even if Brühl knew himself, he couldn’t say it.

Following: Florence Pugh’s Yelena Has A Mysterious MCU Movie: What We Think It Is


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