For some reason, Marvel proper hasn’t really acknowledged the inclusion of Baron Zemo in Captain America: Civil War. Thankfully, the actor playing him is all too happy to discuss the comic book villain. Oscar nominee Daniel Bruhl (Rush) spoke up again in a recent interview and revealed an interesting but sort of expected change coming to the character.
In the comics, Zemo is known for wearing a purple cloak around his face and body to hide the scars he received when a vat of his own creation, called Adhesive X, spilled on him. According to Bruhl, the version of Zemo that will appear in Civil War is a looser adaptation and will not have his signature mask. He told Business Insider,
He does not wear the mask…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.
Why this shouldn’t be too surprising is Marvel’s history of loosely adapting characters for the screen. Baron von Strucker, for one, doesn’t have the bionic arm he’s often depicted with in the comics, and Scarlet Witch was channeling witchy goth realness in Age of Ultron.
Zemo is said to be a major villain to come out of the events of Civil War. The film focuses on the aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which Captain America is leading his new team of Avengers on missions around the world. When another international incident involving Earth’s mightiest heroes occurs, the governments of the world unite to pass harsher restrictions on superhuman activity. This action forces a split between the Avengers, with some siding with Iron Man in favor of the initiative and others forming around Cap to go against it.
It’s still unclear how Baron Zemo factors into all of this, though Elizabeth Olsen, who returns as "the wild card" Scarlet Witch, referred to him as "the main villain." Perhaps he’s the one who pulled the scarred body of Frank Grillo’s Brock Rumlow out of the rubble, and perhaps it’s him who’ll transform him into Crossbones. Bruhl is also signed on for multiple films and rumored to appear in Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tilda Swinton, and Rachel McAdams. That already pegs him as an important character.
Civil War features a massive cast of characters that includes Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Don Cheadle’s War Machine, Paul Bettany’s Vision, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Emily VanCamp’s Agent 13, and Martin Freeman in a still mysterious role. The film will open in theaters on May 6, 2016.