During the buildup towards the premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, most of the footage made it look as though Daniel Brühl’s returning Zemo was set to be the villain of the piece, while the presence of George St-Pierre’s Batroc and the rumors that Erin Kellyman had been cast as Songbird had a lot of fans believing the Thunderbolts were set to make their presence felt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s second Disney Plus series.
Instead, Zemo became a cult hero simply by busting some moves, and he was never really a major antagonist at all. That being said, the very last moments of the finale appeared to hint that there was much more to come from the baron. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine was behind the rest of the Flag Smashers being blown to smithereens, while Wyatt Russell’s John Walker also looks to be in her employ, so it’s basically a foregone conclusion that the Thunderbolts will ride into battle in the not too distant future.
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In fact, we’ve now heard from our sources – the same ones who told us the Mandarin would be revealed as Shang-Chi’s father long before the movie’s first trailer confirmed it – that Zemo will be positioned as the team’s figurehead when they make their MCU return. Obviously, that’s not much of a surprise when he’s led several iterations of the Thunderbolts in the pages of Marvel comics, but it does at least indicate that we’re getting much more Daniel Brühl in the future.
It’s not clear where the Thunderbolts will show up next, but with Dreyfus reportedly having shot scenes for Black Widow a long time ago, Yelena Belova could also be a new addition given her comic book history with the outfit.