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Zack Snyder Hints At An Important Army Of The Dead Character Who Might Have Survived The Movie

Warning: spoilers for both Netflix’s Army of the Dead and Army of Thieves are in play. If you don’t want to be spoiled, head to another non-spoiler piece of coverage waiting for you at CinemaBlend! 

The fact that director/star Matthias Schweighöfer’s Army of Thieves is a prequel to Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead is exciting in so many ways. Most importantly, the latest Netflix original set in this undead Snyderverse allowed safecracker Ludwig Dieter to return to his loving fans for another round of heist action. And now, thanks to new remarks from Mr. Snyder himself, we now have reason to question Dieter’s supposed demise, and some background on how he might play a role in Army of the Dead’s sequel; tentatively titled Planet of the Dead.

During the recent Army of Thieves press day, I sat down to speak with both Matthias Schweighöfer and Zack Snyder, in a room full of knowledge pertaining to all things Ludwig Dieter. With Army of the Dead’s supposed death scene in mind, and Army of Thieves leaving a gap of “some time later” between its finale and Dieter’s recruitment in that next adventure, the window for Schweighöfer's return felt limited. Expecting more projects akin to the upcoming Netflix anime Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, Zack Snyder dispelled that belief with these words: 

Well, I’ll say that, for one, we don’t see Dieter die on camera in Army [of the Dead.] So, just sayin’.

My initial reaction to that statement, as a fan, was to be absolutely delighted. Matthias Schweigöfer’s Ludwig Dieter in Army of the Dead was one of my favorite characters introduced, and even getting the prequel that is Army of Thieves felt like a gift. Hearing Zack Snyder confirm the thoughts that I, and many other viewers had in the aftermath of that film’s events, I had to go back and watch that very ambiguous moment in Army of the Dead

Dieter’s potentially final moments in Army of the Dead see him protecting friend and fellow heist team member Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) from certain death at the hands of zombie king Zeus (Richard Cetrone). Securing him in the vault before closing the doors, we see Dieter dragged away by the undead sovereign, screaming as the Götterdämerung seals Vanderohe in safety. Even with this new knowledge, revisiting that scene is as painful as it was upon first viewing, and it’s a moment that even Army of Thieves plays around with in its own special way.   

Which leads to the further details that Zack Snyder provided about Army of the Dead’s in-development sequel, divulged during a recent interview with Inverse. Going as far as revealing that Planet of the Dead was the potential title, Snyder also laid out further connections between this universe’s centerpiece entry and Army of Thieves. If you got this far, and want to stay as far away as possible from spoilers for the latest entry in this tale, this is the point of no return, as the following scenario was laid out for Dieter’s post Army of Thieves life, and his Planet of the Dead future: 

Clearly, he's used his money to open a locksmith shop wherever he is — Barstow or San Bernandino. I don't know that he's done a ton other than [accrue] a clientele. He certainly has a lot of confidence in his ability to [install] locks on their back porches. But the real adventure would be to see what happened to him when that safe door closed. Did he get killed by Zeus or not? What happened? We don't see him die on camera, and there's still some time left. I won't tell you what happens in Army of the Dead 2 — aka Planet of the Dead — but let's just say that there’s a chance Dieter survives. And there's a chance that brush with death would have caused him to want to find a jailed Gwendoline.

I mean, if that’s not almost total confirmation that Matthias Schweighöfer is coming back as Dieter for Planet of the Dead, then I don’t know what is. What’s better, we may see the next chapter in Zack Snyder’s burgeoning universe reuniting our valiant safecracker with Nathalie Emmanuel’s team leader, and anyone else that may have been incarcerated during Army of Thieves. Though the less said about that, the better, because I wouldn’t want to ruin the experience of this runaway action adventure, and its more emotional moments. Just know that when you go into this prequel story, all you need is a healthy love of Ludwig Dieter and his quirky personality. 

You can discover for yourself just how Netflix’s Snyderverse of the undead continues, when Army of Thieves hits the platform’s digital library on October 29th (opens in new tab). To get a look at what other original excitement is going to be a part of Netflix’s 2021 movie debuts, take a look at the schedule that covers the streamer’s planned strategy of a new movie every week. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.