Netflix’s Army Of Thieves Ending Explained: How Dieter Joined The Army Of The Dead Team

Guz Khan, Nathalie Emmanuel, Matthias Schweighöfer, Ruby O. Fee, and Stuart Martin posing in front of a big blue door in Army Of Thieves.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Warning: we’re about to go deep into Army of Thieves’ ending. If you haven’t seen this Netflix original just yet, back out until you’ve caught up. 

The world of Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead just got bigger, as the prequel to this year’s zombie-filled action adventure heist, Netflix’s Army of Thieves, has just landed. Director and star Matthias Schweighöfer’s character, Ludwig Dieter, has returned in a fast paced heist comedy that fills in his backstory. By the end of the movie, you not only know how Dieter became the man he is today, but how his joining the Army of the Dead team is reinforced by the previous adventure he had undertaken. 

Some warnings before we get too far in this caper: this is going to be an in-depth look into the Army of Thieves ending. However, it’s also going to discuss some details surrounding the Army of the Dead ending. If you haven’t seen either film, and you want to stay unspoiled, check out some of our other spoiler free content for those movies. If you’re still here, it’s time to crack open this safe of secrets and learn how Ludwig Dieter joined the Army of the Dead.

Matthias Schweighöfer in Army of Thieves

(Image credit: Netflix)

What Happened At The End Of Army Of Thieves?

After cracking three of the four safes in the enigmatic Hans Wagner’s Ring Sequence, Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer) is forced to flee. The fun, games, and betrayals come to an end as Interpol agent Delacroix (Jonathan Cohen) corners Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Dieter, whose real name is Sebastian Schlencht-Wöhnert, with the money they nabbed during their three robberies. Gwendoline makes a deal with Delacroix: in exchange for her capture, Sebastian gets to escape in the speedboat marked for their escape.

Sebastian speeds away in the boat with the money stolen from the three safes, somberly contemplating his future. Looking through the bags, he finds the passports meant for the team’s escape to the United States, which leads to one final heartwarming gesture being discovered. After confiding to Gwendoline that he’d created the safecracking superhero alter ego Ludwig Dieter, Army of Thieves ends with him officially taking the name. 

Guz Khan, Stuart Martin, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Ruby O. Fee stand lined up in the den in Army Of Thieves.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Introducing The Army Of Thieves

If you’re going to pull off a heist as ambitious as the one seen in Army of Thieves, you’re going to need a team as nuts as this one. The gang is actually led by Gwendoline Starr, who turned to a life of crime as an act of rebellion against her privileged upbringing. Coming along for the ride was real life action hero/wild card Alexis Broschini, who would change his name to Brad Cage (Stuart Martin). As described in the film, he’s the end result “if Brad Pitt and Nic Cage fucked, and had an even hotter baby.” 

Bringing up the rest of the team are our technical experts. Korina Dominguez (Ruby O. Fee) is a “jack of all trades,” but especially adept at hacking and disguises. Meanwhile, fast talking Rolph (Guz Khan) is Army of Thieves’ getaway driver, as he’s claimed to be one of the best drifters. These are the people Sebastian throws his lot in with, on the road to becoming Ludwig Dieter, and every single one of them is captured by Delacroix and his Interpol team by the end of the film.

Jonathan Cohen and Noémie Nakai stand at the ready with other Interpol agents in the casino lobby in Army Of Thieves.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Doesn’t Interpol Have More Important Things To Worry About During A Zombie Apocalypse?

Yes, they absolutely do, and Beatrix (Noémie Nakai) points this out in the briefing scene that lays down just why Delacroix is so obsessed with nabbing Army of Thieves’ team. The dogged law man has a grudge against Brad in particular, as he shot Delacroix in the ass when he was in the middle of apprehending the team. With only the safecracker in his possession, the rest of Gwendoline’s team escaped, ready to recruit and hire Sebastian as their replacement. 

With the zombie outbreak in Nevada, and the previously canonized event in Dawn of the Dead 2004, the U.S. is really the only place dealing with the zombie menace for now. Which means that Delacroix’s own obsession can reign supreme.

Matthias Schweighöfer checks his watch at his desk in Army Of Thieves.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Why Army Of Thieves’ Sebastian Schlencht-Wöhnert Became Army Of The Dead’s Ludwig Dieter

At the heart of Army of Thieves is a journey of four days, three international heists, and a series of safes that become increasingly difficult to crack. And, the best part is, Gwendoline and the man introduced to us as Sebastian Schlenct-Wöhnert are both driven by the same thing: to crack three of the four Ring Cycle safes designed by enigmatic designer Hans Wagner. The money isn’t the object for them, it’s the bragging rights! 

The three Ring Cycle safes scattered throughout Europe were scheduled to be sent to Geneva for decommissioning. So, this is the last chance anyone will get to even attempt cracking this mythic hardware. Thanks to Gwendoline’s invitation, Sebastian gives up his mundane life as a bank teller, turning a personal obsession into the adventure of a lifetime. And, to commemorate his success, he accepts his comic book alter ego as his new trade name.

Matthias Schweighofer and Nathalie Emmanuel in Army of Thieves

(Image credit: Netflix )

Hans Wagner, And The Ring Cycle Safes

Once upon a time, safe builder Hans Wagner built an impenetrable safe, and locked himself inside. After losing his family, all that was left for him was his work, which inspired his greatest works yet: the Ring Cycle safes. Four safes resulted from this tragic work ethic: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre (The Valkyrie,) The Siegfried, and The Götterdämerung. Completing those works of art, all inspired by Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle of operas, Hans locked himself up with no intention of ever coming out.

Wagner’s safes would become legendary challenges to any safecracker who wanted to make a name for themselves. They would also be seen as a lure for any bank or casino who wanted to provide the ultimate protection for their clients. This is because these safes are gigantic puzzles that need to be carefully cracked, as if you try to break it by force or fail a certain amount of tries, the contents are incinerated. Three of these four works of art are scattered throughout Europe, with The Götterdämerung rumored to be somewhere in Nevada. 

Matthias Schweighöfer looks up from his desk in Army of the Dead.

(Image credit: Netflix)

How Does Army Of Thieves' Ending Tie Into Army Of The Dead?

Before their tragic separation, Gwendoline makes Dieter promise her one thing: if they never reunite, find the Götterdämerung, and crack it. While they planned on making the journey to Nevada together, Army of Thieves only sees one of them getting to take that trip. “Some time later” Dieter is found at Gwendoline’s Safe and Lock Co. by Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera). 

To further drive the connection home, the entire scene of Dieter’s recruitment is played out in full, taking on new found poignancy. We now see this moment as a fitting tribute to the woman who changed his life forever, and a bittersweet ending that reminds us of the fact that Dieter presumably died in Army of the Dead

The Army of Thieves cast

(Image credit: Netflix)

Could Army Of Thieves Ever Get A Sequel?

Technically, Army of Thieves could definitely get sequels, as the period of time between this prequel and its successor is not nailed down. So, we could theoretically see Dieter’s adventures in that gap come to life in another heist comedy adventure down the line. Though when asked about this very subject during our Army of Thieves interview, Zack Snyder was keen to mention that we didn’t see Dieter die in Army of the Dead. Even if this prequel doesn’t get a sequel of its own, Matthias Schweighöfer’s charming safecracker might still be in play for the second installment of the franchise proper. And, he might even get to reunite with some of his Army of Thieves friends. 

Army of Thieves expands the universe that Zack Snyder has created at Netflix, and it does so with humor and heart that play out much differently than they did in Army of the Dead. But, both stories are well tied together, thanks to the events that turned Sebastian into Ludwig Dieter, super safecracker. If you want to give those events another look, or if you’re one of those viewers who loves to spoil movies before you see them, both Army of Thieves and Army of the Dead are currently available for streaming, only on Netflix (opens in new tab)

If you’re ready for something new, check out the 2021 movie premiere dates on the books before this year becomes another member of the undead, itself.

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.