Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Easter Eggs You Missed In Army Of Thieves

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

After he emerged as one of the most beloved characters in "Army of the Dead," the prequel "Army of Thieves" puts the full spotlight on Ludwig Dieter (again portrayed by Matthias Schweighöfer, who also writes and directs the film). The movie takes place several years before the Las Vegas heist in "Army of the Dead" and offers fans of the sublime safecracker an opportunity to witness his exquisite backstory and find out why he's so eager to embark on a journey into a city full of zombies just for the chance at opening the Götterdämmerung.

As it turns out, Dieter's safecracking journey begins when he's still a bored but kind bank teller named Sebastian who spends his downtime opening locks and making instructional videos about the wonders of Hans Wagner's work. His life is mundane and lonely until he finally gets the attention of an international crime ring leader named Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel), who puts his skills to the test before recruiting him for a series of epic vault heists across Europe.

Though he doesn't face hordes of zombies during this particular crime spree, there are still plenty of challenges ahead as he tries to unlock Wagner's fabled safes. And there are also plenty of connections to "Army of the Dead" and other Easter eggs to be found throughout the pic. Here's a look at some of the small details you might've missed in "Army of Thieves."

A proper noun

The name of Dieter's pre-casino heist workplace might not stick out the first time you watch "Army of the Dead," but after seeing "Army of Thieves," it's quite clear why Gwendoline's Safe & Lock Co. would have this moniker. In the prequel, we learn that Gwendoline is the name of the woman who first recognizes Sebastian's safecracking skills, and after he proves to be the best of the best in a surprise underground competition, she recruits him into her tight-knit circle of international thieves.

Gwen brings Sebastian along for a very wild ride as her talented crew journeys from bank to bank to rob the notoriously difficult-to-open Wagner safes. Throughout the course of their adventures together, Gwen and Sebastian grow quite close to one another, and by the end of the film, it's clear that Sebastian is very in love with Gwen. And it seems the feeling is mutual because "Army of Thieves" ends with Gwendoline turning herself into Interpol to allow Sebastian to escape and start a new life. However, before leaving, he vows to reunite with her in the Götterdämmerung, and chances are that his store name is his way of showing his continued affection for her ... and possibly his hopes that they will be together again one day.

A deeper meaning

"Army of Thieves" reveals something about Dieter that we didn't know about him in "Army of the Dead": His real name is actually Sebastian. His last name is a bit difficult to pronounce, however, which leads people to simply call him "Sebastian Something" in introductions.

In the film, we see that this regular confusion over his mouthful of a name is a point of irritation for Sebastian. So when he learns that his new colleague, Brad Cage (Stuart Martin), wasn't actually born with that name but chose it to reflect his personality and interests, Sebastian reveals that he, too, has picked out a name that might fit him better. During an intimate and revealing conversation with Gwen, he tells her that he always thought the name Ludwig Dieter was interesting, and she likes it as well. In fact, she likes it so much that it's the name she uses on the fake passport makes for their escape to the United States together.

Sebastian might've gone on living as Sebastian if not for Gwen's decision to supply him with Ludwig Dieter credentials, but by the time we meet him in "Army of the Dead," he's fully embraced that identity.

A penchant for titles

Another thing fans are bound to notice in "Army of the Dead" after seeing "Army of Thieves" is how often Dieter uses the phrase "mister" when talking to his new colleagues in the Vegas heist ring. Throughout the film, he refers to Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) as both "Mr. Big Hand" and "Mr. Sausage Finger," as a reference to the zombie slayer turned chef's sizable digits. He also repeatedly — and affectionately — refers to his new ally Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) as "Mister Vanderohe" during their chats.

That might just seem like a cute gimmick the first time around, but in "Army of Thieves," we learn exactly why he's so partial to these sorts of sobriquets. In the film, Sebastian is assigned the nickname "Mr. Nervous Guy" after being thrust into a safecracking competition out of nowhere, and although it's initially meant as a dig against him for being so disoriented at the outset of the challenge, it eventually becomes a badge of honor when "Mr. Nervous Guy" beats out the competition.

A certain style

Even with his changing identity, fans are bound to notice that while at home, Sebastian sports nearly the same exact same clothes — including his dashing leather suspenders and striped collared shirt — as Dieter wears during the heist in "Army of the Dead." He also brings along some of his favorite accessories, including his trusty backpack and the watch he sets to time his ultimate safecracking stint.

Another thing that remains the same for Sebastian/Dieter is his signature squeal when things get dicey on the job. If you thought it was just the zombies that brought out his high-pitched holler, well, "Army of Thieves" proves he's just quick to yelp during all situations of stress. But of all the unique characteristics and accessories that carry over from "Army of Thieves" to "Army of the Dead," perhaps it's his suspenders that are the most meaningful items of all. In a photo of Sebastian with his family visiting Brandenburg Gate, we see that his father once sported a similar accessory with his own strapping pair of suspenders, so this fashion item is clearly a tribute to his old man.

An essential bit of storytelling

In "Army of the Dead," it may seem a touch bizarre that Ludwig simply must regale Scott and Maria (Ana de la Reguera) with the Richard Wagner operatic backstory of the Götterdämmerung. But in "Army of Thieves," it becomes clear why this is part of his ritual. Before breaking into all three of the previous Wagner safes — Das Rheingold, the Valkyrie, and Siegfried — Sebastian has to share the stories behind their creation and what makes them so special.

Plus, he needs the musical accompaniment to go along with his work — hence, Ludwig's reason for sporting headphones during the perilous trip into the undead Vegas and the symphony of Wagner's music that accompanies his ultimate triumph in breaking into the safe. And, in the vision of the big heist in motion in "Army of the Dead," he's doing his little Leonardo da Vinci "Vitruvian Man" stretch before getting to work, just like he does before safe-cracking in "Army of Thieves."

A vivid imagination

Another thing we learn about this character in "Army of Thieves" is just how vivid Sebastian's imagination is. His dreams are very lifelike in the film, especially when it comes to his mental pictures of zombie encounters. And when he sets out to crack a difficult safe, he uses sound to create a very elaborate mental image of the inner workings of the device. So if you look back at "Army of the Dead" after seeing just how lifelike Sebastian's little daydreams are, it seems that there's a moment that comes straight from the mind of Dieter that we might not have noticed before.

In the scene when Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) lays out the plans for getting to the safe, it's actually Dieter who's imagining the group circling up to slay zombies. In his vision, Dieter wields a spike-filled bat like he's Negan from "The Walking Dead," but then it's paused when Dieter realizes he doesn't actually know how to kill zombies. But once he learns from Scott Ward that he has to aim for the head — and preferably with a gun — the mental picture returns, and Dieter suddenly has two side arms that he can effectively use. In other words, it might've seemed like this was your run-of-the-mill preview for the action ahead, but we were actually seeing Dieter's beautiful mind in motion.

A fate foretold

Speaking of Sebastian's amazing mental imagery, "Army of Thieves" shows us that he may have foreseen his own potentially grim fate, which makes his willingness to take on the Vegas heist mission in "Army of the Dead" even more powerful. Though the ending of "Army of the Dead” does leave Dieter's fate a little unclear — here's hoping he's managed to beat the odds and find a safe exit somewhere — we do see him save Vanderohe by pushing him into the vault and then being snatched by Zeus shortly before all of Las Vegas is obliterated by the nuclear weapon.

In "Army of Thieves," we see that Sebastian's mind runs a bit wild with the news that there's a new zombie outbreak underway in America, and he experiences a nightmare about cracking a zombie safe. His new pal, Korina (Ruby O. Fee), jokes that perhaps he's just seen his own death in that dream, but chances are good that neither one of them understood how on the money she might've been with that remark.

A nod to Vegas

It's not just Sebastian's bad dreams that predict him ending up in Sin City to finally find the Götterdämmerung in "Army of the Dead." In "Army of Thieves," there are a few key nods to Las Vegas scattered throughout the background of the pic.

For example, at Sebastian's home in Berlin, he has a dice paperweight on his desk that serves as a bit of a wink to his future in the casino world. Then, during Gwen's ultra-personal one-on-one with Sebastian, she reveals to him that she thinks Nevada is in her future because there are rumors that the fabled fourth safe — the grand finale of their Ring Cycle — is located there. So even though "Army of Thieves" takes Sebastian on a journey through some of the most major cities in Europe, thanks to these Easter eggs, it's clear that his compass is still ultimately pointing to Las Vegas.

A new deterrent

In "Army of Thieves," Sebastian faces plenty of obstacles in accessing the first three Wagner safes in Paris, Prague, and Switzerland, but it's nothing quite like what he faces in "Army of the Dead" in Vegas. The newly named Dieter is amply prepared for what he'll need to do when it comes to the actual Götterdämmerung safe, blueprints or no, but he's still woefully ill-informed when it comes to the series of supposedly non-lethal traps that lead up to the vault. In fact, he doesn't seem to have any idea that there's a volley of darts or a wall-crushing surprise just waiting up ahead for him. 

Perhaps "Army of Thieves" explains why these traps are such new territory for our hero. When Sebastian breaks into the previous safes, which are also owned by Tanaka by the way, he deals with very different obstacles, and none of them are life-threatening. Looks like Tanaka may have upped his game a bit in protecting the final Wagner safe after the previous three were boosted in "Army of Thieves."

An ending and a rebirth

Dieter's depth of understanding of the Richard Wagner operas that led to the quartet of Hans Wagner safes is so intense that he knows — well before he ever even takes a crack at the Götterdämmerung — that it's fate that has brought him to this moment. As he tells Vanderohe, it's either death or rebirth that will come from his opening the safe. Interestingly enough, he's more right than you might expect with that prediction.

As we learn in "Army of Thieves," Sebastian is obsessed with the fate of Hans Wagner, who ultimately locked himself into his final safe creation, which no one could ever open again. And so, when it seems that the crew's chips are down in "Army of the Dead," Dieter tries to shut Vanderohe and himself in the final Wagner safe, only to be thwarted by Zeus. Considering what becomes of Vanderohe, when he emerges with a fresh bite on his flesh, there is absolutely a rebirth of some sort in his future. Meanwhile, Dieter seems to be holding up the death end of the bargain — unless he made a grand last-minute escape from both the zombie king and the impending nuclear blast, that is.