The iconic Marvel villain Baron Zemo played a key role in this summer’s Captain America: Civil War, and his actions in this first Phase 3 movie have greatly altered everything that will come in the future. But his all-important introduction in the movie was vastly different in the early stages of production. Ultimately, the way he was brought forward was deemed too mysterious, and too confusing, for audiences. So it was scraped and changed out with what we see in the movie now.
Captain America: Civil War just made its way to Digital HD this weekend before its big Blu-ray and DVD release on September 13. Daniel Bruhl plays Helmut Zemo, and never do we get the indication that he’s anything but pure evil. And when we first meet him, he breaks into an old man’s home for a bit of torture in order to extract information. Dark, sure. But the character’s original first scene was much darker, and deadlier. And it showed him killing a whole room full of people.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo appear on the audio commentary that accompanies the Digital HD release of Civil War. and it’s here that they divulge the original scene that was meant to introduce Zemo. The scene was ultimately replaced because it failed at moving the story forward. And it came as a sort of speed bump. Joe Russo explains courtesy of CinemaBlend.
“We had an original scene where Zemo was at an auction, a black market auction. And that’s how he got his hands on the book, was at this auction. He killed everybody in the auction by gassing the auction. But we just didn’t get enough story out of him; it was too mysterious of an opening scene.”
Anthony Russo goes onto say that this scene just didn’t fully set up Zemo’s potential. And that it failed at being specific about just what kind of villain Zemo really is. Writer Stephen McFeely, who was also part of the audio commentary, further explained that the scene that wound up in the finished movie was far better than what they had originally pitched. And that’s because the sequence directly ties back into the movie’s opening moments. The writer says this about the original introduction.
“It did not connect him to the opening of the movie cleanly. This one does. You get the red book, and you literally get Karpov, which is perhaps the most important thing.”
It’s also noted that watching Zemo gas and kill an entire room full of people would have made Daniel Bruhl‘s character much less sympathetic. By the end of Civil War, the audience comes to realize that this man has been very seriously affected by the actions of the Avengers and their collateral damage. Having him kill a room full of people would take some of that impact away.