As Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes to a close, Phase 5 is on the horizon in 2023. The subsequent collection of Marvel films & Disney+ series will conclude in 2024 with Thunderbolts, Marvel’s first Huge team-up movie since Avengers: Endgame. Unlike that film, however, Thunderbolts promises to assemble a much smaller crew.
Like their comic counterparts, the Thunderbolts will be a team of anti-heroes & villains from across the Marvel universe. Together, they will be tasked with overcoming their differences to stop a threat, which at this point is unknown. For a film quite different from Marvel’s previous fanfare, these are ones fans can look forward to seeing.
8/8 Marvel’s Suicide Squad Assembles
As the film’s premise indicates, Thunderbolts will be achieving for the Marvel universe what the Suicide Squad films attempted for DC. The only difference, compared to those films, is that this crack squad will be comprised of characters Marvel fans are already familiar with. That brings in the possibility of some unexpected connections in the MCU.
Among the confirmed members of Marvel’s Thunderbolts include Yelena Belova, Bucky Barnes, John Walker, Red Guardian, Taskmaster, & Ghost. In addition, the group will be led by Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who cameoed throughout Phase 4. Nevertheless, this is quite an interesting group to explore in a film.
7/8 Valentina’s Secret Plans Unfold
Of course, the presence of Louis-Dreyfus as de Fontaine will intrigue a lot of Marvel fans who have kept up with Phase 4. Her character first appeared in The Falcon & the Winter Soldier, where she recruited John Walker for an unknown purpose, which we suspect to be assembling the Thunderbolts. She later appeared with Yelena at the end of Black Widow.
Most recently, Valentina appeared in Black Panther: Wak&a Forever, where it was revealed she is the new director of the CIA. Additionally, it’s revealed she was once married to Martin Freeman’s Agent Ross. However, the Thunderbolts appear to be a secret project of Valentina’s, but why she’s assembling them we will likely learn in the film.
6/8 Winter Soldier Vs. U.S. Agent
Thunderbolts will also be a reunion for Bucky Barnes & John Walker, who previously faced off in The Falcon & the Winter Soldier. As the former successor of Steve Rogers as Captain America, Bucky held very little trust for Walker. Nevertheless, the two ended up reluctantly working together to stop the Flag Smashers.
However, seeing Walker br&ishing a new uniform & shield will likely stir Bucky’s Infuriate. Walker, as Bucky knows, can succumb to fits of rage that are unbefitting of a fellow soldier. While the two are dutiful enough soldiers to keep their eyes on the mission, their personalities may lead to some more conflict in the Thunderbolts crew.
5/8 A Black Widow Family Reunion
A Huge draw of Thunderbolts is a starring role for Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova. The sister of Natasha Romanoff debuted in 2021’s Black Widow, then later reprised her role for the Disney+ series Hawkeye, wrongly tasked by Valentina to assassinate Clint Barton. Odds are, Yelena will have lots of questions for her boss before joining her superhero team.
The movie will also promise more interaction between Yelena & her adoptive father, Alexei Shostakov, a.k.a. the Red Guardian. As a Super Solider, & Russia’s response to Captain America, it will be quite surprising to see Alexei working for the U.S. government. Perhaps fans will also get to see a glimpse of Rachel Weisz’s Melina Vostokoff.
4/8 Reintroduced To The MCU’s Anti-Heroes
Thunderbolts will also, surprisingly, feature two characters in their second MCU appearances: Taskmaster & Ghost. The former was the mysterious villain of 2021’s Black Widow before it was revealed she was the presumed-dead daughter of Russian general Dreykov. Who knows what Antonia’s been up to since being cured of brainwashing?
Ghost, on the other h&, was one of the main antagonists of Ant-Man & the Wasp. The subject of S.H.I.E.L.D. experiments, Ava Starr became capable of phasing between solid objects, her abilities stabilized with the help of Janet van Dyne. She subsequently went into hiding with Laurence Fishburne’s Bill Foster, who could also appear in Thunderbolts.
3/8 Baron Zemo Behind Bars
A major figure in the comic Thunderbolts has been Baron Zemo, who assembled the first collection of Marvel anti-heroes, including Beetle, Moonstone, & Fixer. However, later Thunderbolts leaders included Norman Osborn, Luke Cage, & Thaddeus Ross. The latter of those is actually confirmed to appear in Thunderbolts, played by Harrison Ford.
However, the appearance of Zemo seems like a must to pay tribute to the origin of the Thunderbolts. The character recently reappeared in The Falcon & the Winter Soldier, helping Bucky & Sam fight the Flag Smashers before returning to captivity in the Raft. It would be quite interesting to see more interaction between him & Bucky in Thunderbolts.
2/8 The Reign Of H.A.M.M.E.R.
This comic-book government agency could play a Huge role in Thunderbolts, depending on how Phase 5 leads to it. Secret Invasion, a Disney+ series starring Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, will be debuting in 2023. Famously, the comic arc of the same name results in the organization of H.A.M.M.E.R., a S.H.I.E.L.D. replacement helmed by Osborn.
The H.A.M.M.E.R. iteration of the Thunderbolts, also led by Osborn, consisted of a similar lineup to the MCU’s version. Yelena & Ghost were both members, alongside Eric O’Grady’s Ant-Man, Paladin, & Mister X. Their adventures also led them into conflict with Deadpool, who is slated to make his MCU debut in 2024 with Deadpool 3.
1/8 Future Thunderbolts Lineups
Obviously, the Thunderbolts movie is just the start of what could potentially become a Dark Avengers squad. There are plenty more potential members of an MCU Suicide Squad, especially following some of Phase 4’s introductions & re-introductions. Characters like Werewolf by Night, Abomination, Namor, Dane Whitman, & Swordsman could make it.
There are also plenty of Thunderbolts from the comics who have yet to make their MCU debuts yet. This includes Bullseye, Venom, & Songbird. Additionally, there are characters from the Netflix side of the MCU who have yet to be introduced to the proper MCU, including Frank Castle, Luke Cage, & Jessica Jones, among others.
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