Why Zemo Is Not In The MCU’s Supervillain Prison

Baron Helmut Zemo is technically a supervillain; here’s why he wasn’t imprisoned in The Raft even though he broke the Avengers apart in Civil War.

Warning: SPOILERS for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 3 – “Power Broker”

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier surprised Marvel fans when it revealed that Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) was not incarcerated in the Raft. Instead, the villain who caused the Avengers to break apart in Captain America: Civil War was held in a prison in Germany. Thanks to Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Zemo escaped and joined the Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) on a mission to Madripoor to find the Super Soldier Serum used to create the Flag-Smashers.

Helmut Zemo is arguably the most successful supervillain the Avengers faced because he masterminded the collapse of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes by making them fight themselves. Captain America: Civil War revealed that Zemo was a Sokovian intelligence operative who lost his family when Ultron (James Spader) used Sokovia to cause an extinction-level event in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Although the Avengers destroyed Ultron, Zemo blamed the superheroes for the tragedy inflicted upon his country and his family. Zemo’s focus in Sokovian intelligence was hunting Hydra and stopping their Winter Soldier program. In order to rid the world of the Avengers, Zemo bombed the United Nations in Vienna during the signing of the Sokovia Accords and he framed Bucky Barnes. Zemo then used Hydra’s brainwashing system to take control of the Winter Soldier, which forced the Avengers to choose sides between Team Captain America (Chris Evans), who was trying to protect Barnes, and Team Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), who was trying to enforce the Sokovia Accords.

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Related: Zemo’s Backstory Retcon Creates An MCU Timeline Problem

As the Avengers finally collapsed at the end of Captain America: Civil War, Zemo was apprehended by T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), whose father, King T’Chaka of Wakanda (John Kani) was killed in Vienna. However, T’Challa showed Zemo mercy and commiserated with him because they had both lost their family. Before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier reintroduced Zemo, he was last seen in a containment unit under the watch of Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) at the Joint Counter-Terrorism Centre in Germany. Many fans assumed that Zemo would get transferred to the Raft, the feared supermax prison isolated in the Atlantic Ocean that was built to incarcerate enhanced individuals, who are simply “vanished.” In fact, Team Cap was held in the Raft after Team Iron Man captured them in Berlin. Steve Rogers eventually broke into the Raft and freed his allies Sam Wilson, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier revealed that instead of the Raft, Zemo was incarcerated in a prison in Germany. This is likely because the Raft was designed to hold prisoners with superpowers but Zemo is just an ordinary man. Despite Marvel fans regarding Baron Zemo as a supervillain, his lack of superhuman abilities meant no special means were required to hold him besides keeping him in solitary confinement. Further, Zemo not being merely “disappeared” by being sent to the Raft was a better public relations move since it showed that the man who bombed the UN and framed the Winter Soldier was brought to justice. It’s not yet known whether Zemo was one of the victims of Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) Snap, but if he wasn’t, then he’d been imprisoned in Germany for seven years before his escape in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Considering how easily Baron Zemo made his escape, with only minimal help from Bucky Barnes, it’s obvious Zemo was underestimated as a threat. Indeed, the key to Zemo’s escape was getting the prisoners to turn on each other and riot, which echos how he had the Avengers to turn on each other and disband. And if though Zemo has no actual superpowers, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier shows how crafty and dangerous he is. As a Sokovian Baron, Zemo still has great wealth and resources. Plus, the way he managed to coax Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes to follow his orders in order to survive the criminal haven-nation of Madripoor shows that Zemo is still a master manipulator. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier proves that a cell in The Raft is ultimately the safest place to hold Baron Zemo if he’s recaptured.

Next: Who Is The Wakandan Hunting Zemo? Identity & Previous MCU Movies

  • Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022

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