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Falcon And Winter Soldier Head Writer Teases Zemo's Role In The Show - Exclusive

Helmut Zemo (played by Daniel Brühl) is like that manipulative person in your friend group: the one who knows how to start drama flawlessly, but nobody can ever prove it. Unluckily enough for Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), it seems that Zemo — after orchestrating numerous clashes in Captain America: Civil War – is heading back to the MCU to light some fires, in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

It's been a minute since Zemo has graced us with his presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so here's a refresher on his rap sheet: While the comics gave Zemo a horrifying Nazi family background, the MCU's Zemo hails from Sokovia. In Civil War, Zemo seeks justice against the Avengers for obliterating his home country and causing his family's deaths. That's a pretty intense vendetta, but it's not entirely without cause, considering that Ultron wouldn't have even existed if not for Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Speaking of Stark, Zemo made the situation even messier by telling Iron Man how it was a mind-controlled Winter Soldier who killed Stark's parents, all those years ago. 

Now, the villain is back to cause some more drama — all while wearing an iconic purple mask that lends a nod to his comic book origins. 

During an exclusive interview, Looper spoke with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's showrunner, head writer, and executive producer, Malcolm Spellman, where he dished on all things Zemo, and what we can expect.

Zemo still sees himself as a hero

When Looper asked how big a role the Flag-Smashers and Zemo will play in the series, Spellman played it close to the vest, teasing, "I don't know what you're talking about with the Flag-Smashers [and] Zemo." Regarding the show's villains, in general, Spellman noted, "There are multiple villains in this. I don't even want to call them villains, they're antagonists."

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, from the outset, appears to be delving deeper than the movies, in regard to tackling serious social issues through detailed character development. According to Spellman, the show's "antagonists" are getting the same treatment as the heroes — a deep-dive into who they are as human beings. As the writer explained, "Because what I love about this series is everybody sees himself as a hero in earnest, and even if they're doing terrible things. They all see themselves that way because of what's happened post-Blip."

The world right now almost feels like a movie, what with the global pandemic — and as a society, we're finally beginning to question the deeply insidious and problematic belief systems that plague daily life. Spellman touched on this, remarking on the similarity between the MCU and our real world: "The MCU at this moment feels very much like the world today, and look at how crazy people are responding to it. So, everybody is going to have a large presence [in the show], and we're particularly proud of Zemo, who becomes a real human being, even in being Zemo." 

MCU fans can watch the drama unfold between Zemo and our favorite unlikely duo on Fridays, when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs on Disney+.