After years of speculation, Marvel’s Thunderbolts has been finally confirmed – and will be released in July 2024. Here’s all we know so far about the MCU’s forthcoming antihero squad. Long before the official announcement, long-time Marvel fans and watchers speculated about the possibility of a Thunderbolts film. Valentina Allegra de Fontaine’s sly recruitment tactics during The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Widow hinted to one in the pipeline during MCU Phase 4. Many Thunderbolts cast members, including Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes, were confirmed during the 2022 D23 Expo.
Bucky and the Thunderbolts were eventually joined by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, recast as Indiana Jones, and Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford. Harrison Ford’s MCU debut as General Ross (replacing the late William Hurt) not only made headlines across the world, but it also reignited rumours about the final Thunderbolts cast and narrative among MCU fans. Prior to Thunderbolts, Ford’s Ross will appear in Captain America: New World Order, and because the rest of the Thunderbolts’ lineup is drawn from preexisting MCU characters, there’s a chance that movies and Marvel Disney+ shows released in the interim will add more members and story elements as well. From the debut date to the MCU Thunderbolts roster and their comic-book roots, here’s everything you need to know about Marvel’s Thunderbolts.
The most recent Thunderbolts news
Though there is still a lengthy wait until Thunderbolts concludes Phase 5 of the MCU on July 26, 2024, there is already plenty of information about this next Marvel film. Ayo Edebiri, the breakthrough star of The Bear, has joined Thunderbolts as another piece of casting. Unlike the rest of the revealed cast, the actor has yet to appear in the MCU, and there is no word on who she will portray. However, there is already much conjecture as to who this mysterious Thunderbolts persona may be. Thunderbolts will also be linked to which MCU movie, according to Marvel Studios’ exec Andy Park, who called it as a sort of sequel to Black Widow. Finally, Thunderbolts is already organizing its filming schedule, with production beginning in June 2023.
When Will Thunderbolts Be Released?
In 2022, the Thunderbolts film’s director, Jake Schreier, was revealed, while Black Widow’s Eric Pearson was chosen to write the script. Thunderbolts is set to begin filming in June 2023, with an official release date of July 26, 2024. While Thunderbolts was originally scheduled to end the MCU’s Phase 5, the rescheduling of Blade makes it the final Phase 5 film. Marvel’s current project slate and release schedule is jam-packed, which means that all of the forthcoming projects may alter, but will hopefully stay on track as MCU Phase 5 progresses through 2023 and 2024.
Thunderbolts Film Cast
The full Thunderbolts cast was confirmed during the 2022 D23 Expo, and it’s already filled with familiar characters, leaving little space for any unexpected returns. Contessa Val (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) looks to be moving into the role of Thunderbolts commander in the MCU Thunderbolts roster. Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Red Guardian (David Harbour), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), John Walker/U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell), Ava/Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), and, of course, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes will be joining her.
While these are all established MCU faces, Thunderbolts marks Ayo Edebiri’s MCU debut in an undetermined capacity. There’s even talk of Tim Roth’s Abomination joining the squad after his She-Hulk: Attorney At Law escape. While Val appears to be in charge of putting together the squad, it’s tough to imagine Harrison Ford’s MCU character, “Thunderbolt” Ross/Red Hulk, not having a say in the team’s lineup at some time in the future. Other comic-book characters may make cameo appearances or be added later, but for now, this is the core MCU Thunderbolts lineup.
The Story of Thunderbolts
Thunderbolts narrative information are still being kept under wraps, and it’s unclear whether or not there is even a script. However, the MCU may take the Thunderbolts in a variety of directions. Because the majority of the characters have already been established, the film can omit any origin stories. Furthermore, the majority of the Thunderbolt members in the film are already significantly more sympathetic than their comic book counterparts, implying that the film would avoid portraying them as villains at first and instead make them anti-heroes.
What they would confront is unknown, although the narrative of the Thunderbolts film might be built up in a Disney+ program or two. Andy Park, Marvel Studios’ Director of Visual Development, has hinted that the film had strong links to Black Widow. This comes as no surprise given the presence of Yelena, Red Guardian, and Taskmaster, which indicates that many of those themes will be carried over. It’s possible that the film may also pay respect to Natasha Romanoff, one of the MCU’s original anti-heroes.
Who Are the Thunderbolts of Marvel? The MCU Phase 5 Team elaborated
The initial Thunderbolts are a gang of reformed criminals in the comics. After the Avengers were slain, Baron Zemo formed the first team in order to replace them and garner public faith in another global dominance scheme. This is why, despite the fact that Daniel Brühl’s Zemo has yet to be cast, many people still expect Baron Zemo to appear in Thunderbolts. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, the Thunderbolts, a new squad of “reformed” criminals, were actually Zemo’s Masters of Evil in disguise. However, this version of the Thunderbolts begins to relish being recognized as heroes and doing good, and they eventually oust Zemo as their leader.
The Thunderbolts’ roster and leadership have shifted dramatically over Marvel Comics’ history. The Thunderbolts moniker has been tied to several incarnations of the team, with various members departing and joining. General “Thunderbolt” Ross, played by Harrison Ford in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, led a version of the Avengers as the Red Hulk. However, one thing has remained consistent over the different Thunderbolts lineups: the Thunderbolts are ethically grayer than the Avengers.
Many casual web watchers have already seen the parallels. After all, both clubs have villains on their rosters. Despite their superficial similarities, the Thunderbolts and the Suicide Squad are not the same. Thunderbolts will be considerably different from the Warner Brothers/DC combination to which it has previously been compared. Viewers unfamiliar with the Thunderbolts books would be mistaken to dismiss this Marvel Phase 5 project as merely a Disneyfied Suicide Squad, and not only because Marvel’s antihero squad lacks explosive chips in their necks or a R rating.
Is Harrison Ford Playing The Red Hulk In The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Thunderbolts?
Harrison Ford’s replacement as Marvel Studios’ “Thunderbolt” Ross, replacing the legendary William Hurt, suggests that he might also become the MCU’s Red Hulk for Marvel’s Thunderbolts. In the comics, Ross’ obsession with destroying the Hulk led him to collaborate on many times with some of the most dangerous criminal minds in the Marvel Universe, especially during World War Hulk. This World War Hulk evil squad, Intelligencia, was made up of Ross, MODOK, the Leader, and Doc Samson.
Ross and his supporters employed different tactics to suck energy from the Hulk, which they used to change Ross into Red Hulk, much like the more comedic and more sadder version of Intelligencia in She-Hulk. Later, during the Phoenix War, Ross headed a Thunderbolts team comprised of Venom, Punisher, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Mercy, the Leader, and Deadpool (who will be played by Ryan Reynolds in the MCU in Deadpool 3). This is why Harrison Ford’s transformation into “Thunderbolt” Ross — the Red Hulk — is so significant to many fans. It’s a casting choice that might effect not only Marvel’s Thunderbolts, but also a number of confirmed and rumored MCU projects in the future.