Who Is Zemo? ‘Falcon and Winter Soldier’s’ MCU Baddie, Explained

Don't remember Zemo? Here is everything you need to know about the MCU's most underrated villain.


The Marvel Cinematic Universe loves few things more than a character reveal and at end of the newest episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, viewers saw the return of the MCU’s most underrated and dangerous villains.

Spoilers ahead for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2, “Star-Spangled Man.”

By the end of the episode, Bucky and Sam have no real leads while trying to get information on the Flag Smashers, the Super Serum-infused militant group that intends to restore the anarchy of the Blip era, so Bucky convinces Sam that they need to visit “the guy who knows all of Hydra’s secrets” and the last image we see is Helmut Zemo sitting in a jail cell.

Be honest, does the name Helmut Zemo not ring a bell? No judgment here. The MCU is a massive, sprawling universe comprised of a seemingly endless supply of content and it can feel damn near impossible to keep up with every callback made. So, here is a brief refresher on everything we know about Zemo in the MCU, so far.

Zemo was the primary baddie in Captain America: Civil War but he was more of a Gepetto-type of villain, using his master plan to secretly pull the strings in the background, than a standard supervillain. As a former colonel of the Sokovian Armed Forces, Zemo’s entire family was killed during Ultron’s attack on the made-up Eastern European country. This caused Zemo to go into full villain mode and he used the Sokova Accords to hatch a plan to break up the Avengers by framing Bucky for a bombing and then using Hydra’s control words to activate the Winter Soldier.

And, honestly, Zemo’s plan totally works, as he manages to defeat the Avengers not by fighting them but by getting them to turn on each other, thanks to a well-timed reveal about brain-washed Bucky being the one who killed Tony Stark’s parents. But Zemo’s victory comes at a cost, as he is apprehended by the Black Panther at the end of Civil War and is then locked up.

With Zemo’s return, the big question has to be: is he going to end up being the major villain of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier? It’s certainly possible, as it’s hard to imagine being stuck in a jail cell has made him reconsider his views on superheroes. We’ll just have to wait and see what Zemo’s role will be.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier drops new episodes on Fridays on Disney+.