Zack Snyder has explained why Dieter might have survived Army of the Dead. Here are the scenarios Snyder has suggested and why they can work.
Zack Snyder has suggest three possible scenarios for the fate of Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer) in Army of the Dead and his potential return in Army of the Dead 2, and while much of the franchise’s story foundation remains veiled, his suggestion fits right in with what’s already known about it. Following Dieter’s appearance in Army of the Dead, Schweighöfer reprised his role as the team’s safecracker in the prequel Army of Thieves, also directed by Schweighöfer, which had some fleeting zombie appearances but otherwise more or less kept them on the bench for more of a rom-com heist caper with Dieter’s fellow thief Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel). The Army of the Dead universe will also continue in the animated prequel series Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas and an in-development direct sequel.
When viewers last saw Dieter in Army of the Dead, he appeared to be meeting his end after he’d shoved Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) inside the safe to escape the enraged clutches of the Alpha king Zeus (Richard Cetrone). Though Dieter wasn’t actually shown dying on-screen, the framing of the scene suggested a grim fate for him at the vengeful hands of Zeus. However, there are now considerable reasons to expect that Dieter might be seen again in the future of the franchise.
As one can generally expect with regard to a Zack Snyder movie, Snyder himself has provided the biggest hints that Dieter’s time in the Army of the Dead franchise hasn’t yet come to an end. The nature of Dieter’s supposed “death” also makes working around it quite easy for the series to do with little difficulty, especially with one particular X-factor potentially relating to it. Here are the scenarios Zack Snyder has outlined for Dieter’s future after Army of the Dead, and how they could function in the series’ future.
Zack Snyder’s Scenarios For Dieter’s Fate
In a Vero livestream for Army of Thieves streaming 2021 with Matthias Schweighöfer, Snyder outlined several possible scenarios for Dieter’s fate after he was seen being pulled away from the safe by Zeus. Snyder’s scenarios included Dieter striking a bargain of some kind with Zeus, in which he isn’t turned into an Alpha, with Zeus killing Dieter, or Dieter becoming an Alpha by a bite from Zeus. Snyder also
suggested Dieter managing to simply escape Zeus as an off-shoot of the first possibility, while also describing Dieter’s death as the “least popular,” and suggesting that all of these outcomes “probably did happen.”
While avoiding any unambiguous statement confirming Dieter’s return, or what that could mean for the unanswered questions remaining from Army of Thieves, Snyder teasing multiple outcomes for Dieter that all somehow take place seems to all but assure that Dieter will be seen again. Of course, the question of how such distinctly different possibilities could all have happened would normally seem like a riddle with no answer. However, this is where Army of the Dead’s time loop could come into the equation.
Snyder’s Scenarios Present Further Hints To Army Of The Dead’s Time Loop
The idea of a time loop being a factor in Army of the Dead’s story gained traction with Vanderohe proposing the idea when the team comes across skeletal remains and other items left behind in what looks like a previous heist attempt. Other indicators of this possibility include Dieter speaking of the Götterdämmerung safe in terms suggesting of “a doorway to another realm.” The lyrics of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious,” heard at the beginning and end of Army of the Dead, may be another hint, as well. Snyder continues to be coy about the time loop elements of the franchise, confirming they will factor into the franchise’s future while stopping short of offering any hard details.
While the time loop of Army of the Dead and Army of Thieves can be read in more abstract, philosophical terms, Snyder’s comments in the Q&A with Schweighöfer are perhaps the closest he’s come to confirming a literal time loop in the franchise. In any case, any one of the possible outcomes for Dieter’s encounter with Zeus in Army of the Dead could work. The fact that all of them “probably did happen” do seem to hint at Dieter at least making one more appearance after Army of Thieves, with the possibility that he could be central to showing just what the time loop of the franchise is and how it operates.
Why Dieter’s Survival Works For The Army Of The Dead Franchise
An important thing to bear in mind is that, despite already being two movies in, there’s a great deal about the Army of the Dead universe that still remains unexplained. While that also applies to the time loop, with Snyder’s teases, it seems increasingly hard to overlook as an element of the story, and how it will affect it is still bound to be the stuff of fan theories at least until Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas arrives, and possibly Army of the Dead 2. With the aliens and robot zombies still awaiting an explanation, the time loop is a mystery waiting to be solved, too.
Nevertheless, Dieter lacking an explicit on-screen death gives the franchise plenty of room to explain his survival by any plot device it can implement. Numerous potential outcomes for what becomes of Dieter makes it hard to write off his return as an impossibility, too. If there indeed is an actual time loop at work in the series, Army of the Dead 2 has more than enough freedom to either pick one or play “Choose Your Own Adventure” with the potential futures of Dieter and other ostensibly dead characters like Lily (Nora Arnezeder).
Whether the time loop theory is literal or not remains one of Army of the Dead’s most ponderous questions, and Snyder’s latest allusion towards Dieter’s multiple possible fates could be the biggest hint in that direction thus far. In any case, the fact that Dieter was never actually shown dying gives the series all the leeway it needs to explain how he might next be seen. In fact, it has a collection of very different options, all of which are seemingly likely to have happened somehow, and the mysterious time loop of Army of the Dead could be the connective tissue between them all.