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Army of Thieves ending explained: your biggest questions answered

Army of Thieves
(Image credit: Netflix)

Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Army of Thieves. Turn back now if you haven't watched the movies on Netflix!

Army of Thieves, the Army of the Dead prequel all about Matthias Schweighöfer's Dieter, is here. The film sees the safe-cracker offered a way out of his everyday life by Nathalie Emmanuel's Gwendoline, who recruits him into a team of heisters with the goal of stealing from some legendary safes.

We've rounded up every question you may have about the movie, touching on its connections to Army of the Dead, what exactly goes down in that action-packed finale, and what those Ring Cycle myths are. So, without further ado, scroll on to have all your burning questions on Army of Thieves answered.

How did Gwen, Dieter, and Korina trick Interpol?

Army of Thieves (2021)

(Image credit: Netflix)

After leaving behind their fellow crew members after a betrayal, Gwen, Dieter, and the hacker Korina go after the third safe. However, they are not alone. Hot on their trail are Interpol, the international police organization, who believe they know exactly which bank they are going to hit next.

However, the trio pull off an impressive bait and switch, throwing Interpol off their scent. First, Korina pretends to be Interpol calls the casino where the safe is based to warn them that they're a target for a robbery. The casino was intending to transport the safe anyway, but now they are bumping that decision forward in time so they don't get robbed. Korina also plays a fake recording over a radio frequency that Interpol is listing to, with the recording claiming the safe is still moving on its original scheduled time.

Meanwhile, Gwen takes out the guards meant to be transporting the safe in an armored van. Dieter and Gwen arrive to collect the safe in disguise and drive away before anyone can wise up to their scheme. That leaves Interpol, as well as former fellow heisters Brad and Rolph, too late to stop the trio leaving with the safe.

Who is Bly Tanaka?

Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

Hiroyuki Sanada's Bly Tanaka is mentioned in Army of Thieves, though he doesn't actually appear. He owns the casino that Dieter, Gwen, and Korina steal the third and final safe from.

The character also appears (in person) in Army of the Dead, where he hires the central crew – led by Dave Bautista (more on that later) – to empty the fourth of Hans Wagner's vaults: the Götterdämmerung. That particular safe is housed in another casino that Bly Tanaka owns – in zombie-infested Las Vegas. 

Tanaka, therefore, plays a much more central role in Army of the Dead, but his presence is felt in Army of Thieves. We can also expect to see more of him in the future, with producer Zack Snyder telling GamesRadar+ that he's excited to dive into the mythology bending the series, including "the Bly Tanaka" of it all.

What happened to the crew's previous safe-crackers?

Army of Thieves (2021)

(Image credit: Netflix)

Turn out, Gwen, Korina, Brad, and Rolph had previously worked with different safe-crackers, who they had unceremoniously ditched on multiple occasions. We never find out why, but judging by the fact they also tried losing Dieter, it's something that they're pretty hardened to.

Of course, Dieter's not just any safe-cracker, and when the tough-guy Brad tries to ditch the German before their final heist, it causes tensions among the pack, leading to Gwen and Korina splitting from the rest of the team.

Why did Korina and Gwen go back for Dieter?

Army of Thieves (2021)

(Image credit: Netflix)

After they leave Brad and Rolph, Korina and Gwen go to re-recruit Dieter. They let themselves into his flat and wait for him there, and try to win him over for their last heist. They explain that, for Brad and Rolph, the legend of the Ring Cycle and Wagner's safes didn’t matter, not like it does for the three of them. 

Gwen still believes Dieter is capable of cracking the last safe – and even the elusive fourth safe, the Götterdämmerung. Plus, as Korina starts to explain before Gwen kicks her under the table, it's easier to pull off an ambitious heist with a team of three rather than two…

Did Korina betray Gwen and Dieter?

Army of Thieves (2021)

(Image credit: Netflix)

After Interpol manages to grab Korina, Beatrix offers her a deal – give up the rest of the crew, and the hacker's younger brother will be looked after. Korina seems to consider it, and the next thing we know, Interpol are hot on Gwen and Dieter's trail. Does that mean Korina sold them out? It doesn't seem like something she would do: in fact, it's more likely that she offered up Brad and Rolph, who were chasing after Gwen and Dieter after locating the others on a phone GPS.

Considering Kora had already sent a message warning Gwen, she was probably banking on the two of them having managed to get away already. The scene cuts before we know for sure what she's said. 

How does Dieter get to the US?

Army of Thieves (2021)

(Image credit: Netflix)

When Interpol worker Delacroix catches up to Gwen and Dieter, all hope seems lost. Delacroix is only intent on catching Gwen, though, after chasing her for years – so she makes a bargain, which allows Dieter to go free. Reluctantly, the safe-cracker leaves, and discovers a fake passport and a plane ticket that Gwen has already sorted for them. Next time we see him, he's in California...

What do the Ring Cycle myths mean?

Army of Thieves (2021)

(Image credit: Netflix)

The three safes each tell a story stemming from the Ring Cycle, an opera composed by Richard Wagner based on Norse mythology. 

The first safe is Rheingold, based on the tale of Alberich, who steals gold from the Rhine Maidens, and turns it into a powerful ring wanted by the gods.

The second, the Valkyrie, features the story of the children of Odin: Siegmund and Sieglinde. The siblings, unaware of their relation, fall in love. Odin sends another of his daughters, Brünnhilde, to kill Siegmund – but Brünnhilde, once she sees how Siegmund loves Sieglinde, instead chooses to help him. Odin then takes Brünnhilde's immortality away and banishes her.

The third, Siegfried, is based on a story that sees Siegfried face Fafnir, a dragon, and kill the person who raised him. He then finds Brünnhilde, and they fall in love.

As for the Götterdämmerung, that's more tragic – Siegfried dies, and Brünnhilde jumps on his funeral pyre.

Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

Despite Army of Thieves not being a horror movie, zombies make frequent appearances. That's because Los Angeles has been infected by the undead. The US government has been able to contain the outbreak to Sin City, and we see rolling updates on the news throughout the film. Plus, Dieter has a few dreams about the Stalkers – hinting at the future. 

Army of Thieves is a prequel to Army of the Dead, and Thieves links directly into Dead a the very end – that scene with Dave Bautista is literally a scene from Army of the Dead. Dieter's adventure continues in Army of the Dead, and we're about to get into that below. But first

Spoiler warning! The below contains major spoilers for Army of the Dead! 

Where is Gwen in Army of the Dead?

Army of Thieves (2021)

(Image credit: Netflix)

Although Gwen tells Dieter that she will find him when she leaves prison, Gwen does not appear in Army of the Dead. It appears that, despite Army of Thieves telling us that the final scene takes place "sometime later", not enough time has passed for Gwen to be freed or escape prison.

Why, then, does Dieter go ahead and join the guys who are heading into Las Vegas? Surely, he knows that putting his life in danger may mean he never see Gwen again? It seems the allure of cracking the final safe was too much, and doing so would have been something Gwen would want for him. The offer of joining Dave Bautista's team was just too much.

Dieter hasn't exactly moved on, either: the shop that Bautista's Scott finds Dieter working at is named Gwendoline's Safe & Lock Co. Nawwww.

What happens to Dieter in Army of the Dead?

Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

Unfortunately, things do not go well for Dieter in Las Vegas. After making his way to the Götterdämmerung, Dieter does the impossible and unlocks the fabled fourth safe, completing his epic journey. Yet, the team are rumbled, and the Alpha zombie Zeus shows up just as they are wanting to escape.

Through Army of the Dead, we witness Dieter growing close to the character Vanderohe, and Dieter shoves Vanderohe into the safe just as Zeus tries to kill them both. We see Dieter being dragged away by Zeus just as the safe's doors shut.

We don't actually see his death on-screen – and there's a chance Dieter just might have survived. "The real adventure would be to see what happened to him when that safe door closed," Snyder told Inverse. "Did he get killed by Zeus or not? What happened? We don't see him die on camera, and there's still some time left. I won't tell you what happens in Army of the Dead 2 – AKA Planet of the Dead – but let's just say that there's a chance Dieter survives. And there's a chance that brush with death would have caused him to want to find a jailed Gwendoline."

Is the time loop in Army of Thieves?

Army of Thieves

(Image credit: Netflix)

In Army of the Dead, Vanderohe suggests to Dieter that the team has gone through with this heist hundreds of times before in a weird time loop. That's led many people to believe that there's a time loop theory in play throughout the series – and perhaps there really are an infinite number of Dieter's trying to crack safes.

Army of Thieves arguably feeds into this idea. Dieter, after all, is having dreams of zombies. "Maybe they're prophecies, not dreams," Korina says at one point. "Maybe you saw your own death."

The fact that Dieter does end up in Las Vegas, facing down zombies, seems to heavily hint that these were visions all along, which could tie into the time loop stuff. Snyder told GamesRadar+ that Army of the Dead 2 will include "time loop fun," so perhaps this is all coming together for some strange multiversal, time-looping sequel that will have our heads spinning. Whatever the case, perhaps this isn't the last we've seen of Dieter, after all.


Army of Thieves and Army of the Dead are streaming on Netflix now. If you're all caught up, check out our guide to the best Netflix movies to fill out your watchlist. 

Molly Edwards

I'm a freelance Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for our Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after getting my BA in English.