Fans were delighted with Arnim Zola’s way of cheating death in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The character lived up to his comic counterpart, by transferring his consciousness in to some computer data banks. We know that the Swiss scientist lived on to play a key role in project Insight, but he could have reappeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe a year later.
You may remember that a young Hank Pym had an interesting meeting with some SHIELD bigwigs at the start of Ant-Man. He met the villainous Mitchell Carson, plus Captain America: The First Avenger’s Peggy Carter and Howard Stark. We know that Arnim Zola was part of SHIELD at that time, too. Thanks to concept art from Josh Nizzi, we know he was set to appear in that opening scene.
Check out the images below, which show how Zola might have looked, had he appeared in the 2015 film.
These all look great, although you have to question why the screen on the first one is hooked up to a mannequin. This appearance would have shown that Zola was a big part of SHIELD throughout history. That being said, it does seem odd that Stark and Carter would work directly with a former HYDRA member.
While this would have been cool to see, we can’t help but wonder if it would have taken away from the original Iron Man. Tony Stark creating suits of armour then was impressive to the wider world. Yet, 20 years before there was a dead man living inside a robot body. Doesn’t exactly match up, does it?
However, seeing Zola in this form would have given his character a way to return in future movies. While his compound in Winter Soldier was destroyed, this would suggest that the villain has multiple copies of himself, or possibly a back up. Zola’s demise teaches us all to back up our important files, although maybe don’t do that on a screen attached to a creepy mannequin.