The main cast of Marvel’s upcoming film “Thunderbolts” has been revealed. It’s rumored to be Marvel’s response to “Suicide Squad,” with a team of villains and not-quite heroes inspired by a similar team from Marvel Comics.
Marvel Studios announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 that Phase 5 of the MCU would reach a conclusion with Thunderbolts, bringing together a unique team of heroes and anti-heroes to make their mark. With Paper Towns director Jake Schreier and Black Widow head writer Eric Pearson on board to create this new team-up outing, Marvel has the opportunity to explore something the MCU has never seen before through this darker group of fighters.
Florence Pugh of Black Widow will reprise her scene-stealing role as Yelena Belova in Thunderbolts. She’ll be joined not only by Stan’s Winter Soldier, but also by David Harbour’s Red Guardian, Olga Kurylenko’s Taskmaster from Black Widow, Wyatt Russell’s US Agent, and Hannah John Kamen’s Ghost from Ant-Man and the Wasp. Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, played by Julia Louis Dreyfus in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, completes the cast. Check out Andy Park’s concept art from Marvel Studios.
Marvel revealed the entire lineup for Thunderbolts which includes Winter Soldier, Yelena Belova, Red Guardian, and more. Check out the full roster. #D23Expo https://t.co/i8F7PexUkb pic.twitter.com/hDYZNW0RGU
— IGN (@IGN) September 10, 2022
This team is usually led by the classic supervillain Baron Zemo in the comics, but it has also featured interesting characters like Hawkeye and Luke Cage over the years. But, as the MCU has done so many times before, the Thunderbolts film will give fans a new perspective on this team that hasn’t been seen in any previous media adaptation.
Thunderbolts Get a New Look in the MCU
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced the MCU characters who will team up in 2024’s Thunderbolts during a presentation at the 2022 D23 Fan Expo. The following are on the roster, shown in left-to-right order from concept art released at the event,
- Val (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)
- Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen)
- Red Guardian (David Harbour)
- Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh)
- Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)
- U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell)
- Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko)
Looking back at the Thunderbolts’ history in comics, this team is unlike any other version of the team that has appeared on the pages before. Despite being Thunderbolt’s members in previous stories, this particular group will be seen together for the first time in the 2024 film.
The most popular version was led by Baron Zero, who later revealed himself to be one of the Masters of Evil. This team included Goliath, Beetle, Fixer, Moonstone, and Screaming Mimi, none of whom have been confirmed to appear in Thunderbolts.
How Will Marvel Studios Make Use of Thunderbolts?
Given that the MCU has always been based on Marvel Comics stories rather than exactly replicating them, it’s no surprise that Phase 5’s final film deviates so drastically from its source material.
One significant difference is that Val will appear to be leading the team while Daniel Brühl’s Helmut Zemo remains imprisoned in the Raft following The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It’s unclear whether Zemo will return for a later role, though Val’s mention of his breakout in the final episode of their show together suggests that he’s of interest to her in an unknown capacity.
Moreover, this will be the first time Yelena Belova has served as the Thunderbolts’ team leader, a position usually held by characters such as Baron Zemo or the U.S. Agent. Given Yelena’s fan popularity and the way she’s already gone after Clint Barton in the aftermath of Natasha Romanoff’s death, she’s demonstrated that she has what it takes to lead anyone on this team and ensure that their missions are completed.
This team may also be influenced by Thunderbolt Ross, which could correspond to what happened in the comics or deviate from the idea depending on how Marvel decides to name the team in the film. With William Hurt’s untimely death, the franchise could use his General Ross as a way to inspire the team name if he dies in the story, though nothing has been confirmed.
While Marvel could certainly introduce more of the original Thunderbolts characters later in the MCU timeline, the team right now consists of established heroes and anti-heroes ready for new challenges. The team is also likely to evolve long after their solo film, as the Multiverse Saga is only the next chapter in Marvel’s massive story.