Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2014 by Angie Han
Marvel announced last week that Inglourious Basterds star Daniel Brühl would be joining Captain America: Civil War. That in itself is big news, because Brühl is a great actor and we’re always happy to see him. But what really got fans buzzing was Marvel’s decision not to offer any hints whatsoever abut his role. That opened the door to a whole lot of guesses, some more out there than others, and we got to wondering whether Marvel might be keeping his character a secret for a reason.
Officially, the studio has said only that Brühl would appear in Captain America: Civil War and that they’re excited about his “ability to deliver intense, nuanced performances.” However, the trades soon reported that Brühl would be playing a villain (though maybe not the main villain), and that he could return in Doctor Strange as the big bad for that film. So who is Daniel Bruhl playing in Captain America: Civil War, really? Hit the jump for our best guesses.
Baron Mordo is one of the most popular guesses for Brühl’s role, and he does seem like one of the more likely ones. As one of the earliest and best known members of the Doctor Strange rogues gallery, he would be an obvious choice for the Doctor Strange villain. Which, of course, would fit with reports that Brühl will play a big bad role in the Doctor Strange standalone. Karl Mordo is a Transylvanian nobleman who is already studying under the sorcerer known as the Ancient One when Stephen Strange shows up for training. The two become enemies when Mordo plots to kill the Ancient One, and Strange works to stop him.
The question is what Baron Mordo would be doing in Captain America: Civil War. Mordo doesn’t really have that much to do with Captain America or the Civil War in the comics. Still, it wouldn’t be impossible for Marvel to find some excuse to bring him into the big-screen adaptation of that story, especially since Brühl is reportedly not the main villain of Captain America: Civil War. This might be a good way for Marvel to set up the magic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since Captain America: Civil War opens just six months before Doctor Strange.
Another very popular guess going around is Baron Zemo. His name may sound similar to Baron Mordo’s for the uninitiated, and indeed some have theorized that the trades simply mixed up Zemo and Mordo. However, the two are actually quite distinct. Baron Zemo is mainly a Captain America villain, meaning he doesn’t quite mesh with the rumor about Brühl playing the main antagonist in Doctor Strange. But the Doctor Strange casting is still unconfirmed by Marvel, anyway.
There are actually many Baron Zemos in the comics, but the two best known are Heinrich Zemo and his son Helmut Zemo. Heinrich is a prominent Nazi scientist who was eventually killed in a battle with Captain America. Helmut went after Captain America to avenge his father, and eventually took over the Baron Zemo mantle. Though Helmut Zemo is ultimately a villain, he’s somewhat morally ambiguous. His motivations are less purely evil compared to other villains, and he sometimes poses as a superhero. He’s pretty popular as Cap villains go. It wouldn’t be surprising if Marvel wanted to work him in.
During the Civil War, Baron Helmut Zemo plays both sides. Iron Man asks Zemo to recruit villains to the pro-registration side, which Zemo has already been doing; meanwhile, Zemo also goes to Captain America and gives him a key that will break him out of a superhuman prison. We’re not sure how Zemo could fit into Doctor Strange, but again, the MCU plays by its own rules.