The Falcon and the Winter Soldier teased the return of Daniel Brühl's Zemo at the very end of episode 2 - but in doing so, the show may have already snuck in a major spoiler for the character. The climax of "Star-Spangled Man" saw Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) trying to track down leads on the new super soldiers running amok (The Flag Smashers) before the new Captain America (John Walker) can beat them to it. A visit to America's forgotten black Captain America, Isaiah Bradley, revealed the HYDRA may hold the key to the new Super Soldier Serum variant - and Zemo is the one man who knows all HYDRA's secrets!
However, when the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 2 cuts to Zemo, it's the choice in the soundtrack that may be a major SPOILER hiding in plain sight. According to Screen Rant, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's use of Mozart's "Requiem" during the cut to Zemo at the end of episode 2 is actually a major tip-off that the villain will die.
The theory is grounded in several previous examples of the Marvel Cinematic Universe giving a tip-off about its villains through musical cues. That includes the following examples:
- Tom Hiddleston Loki's being marked as a villain from his first appearance onscreen in Thor. The scene is scored to Schubert's "Rosamunde" which tells the story of an heiress raised as a shepherdess, who goes on to reclaim her throne.
- Hugo Weaving's Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, who has a scene listening to Wagner's "Ring Cycle". That opera is was all about Norse mythology (the history of the Tesseract) and was one of Hitler's favorites in real life.
The theory notes that "Requiem" was never part of Zemo's theme in Captain America: Civil War - it was a musical choice selected entirely for this scene in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. "Requiem" is a significant musical choice as it is the piece that Mozart was working on (and ultimately left unfinished) when he died in 1791. It was supposed to be a grand opus to the dead wife of Count Franz von Walsegg, and when Mozart died, it was left to his contemporaries to finish it.
Taking the history of "Requiem" into account, it is indeed a pretty ominous signal for what Zemo's fate may be. Zemo was committed to bringing down the superhero world in Captain America: Civil War and ads for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have him proclaiming that he won't leave that work undone. Zemo was ready to die in Civil War, and after nearly a decade in prison, he's probably even less inclined to live. Sacrificing himself for his grand design doesn't seem far-fetched for the character - nor does Zemo pushing Falcon and (particularly) Winter Soldier to take him out.
...Or it could also be misdirection. Zemo "dying" could be symbolic, as the character could 'leave his work' to others - say, a superhero team that's really composed of villains (The Thunderbolts)? Led by a masked man draped in symbols of liberty (Zemo's new alias in the comics).
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming Fridays on Disney+.