Marvel Thunderbolts Team

Marvel’s ‘Thunderbolts’ Is Still On Its Way, Even With Casting Shakeups

Bring back Bucky with the good arm.

After the first few Marvel Cinematic Universe films came out, it was clear they were building toward an Avengers crossover movie. 15 years after Iron Man‘s release, we are now entering Phase 5 of the MCU. And along the way, Marvel has been slowly putting together a team of anti-heroes in the background.

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That’s right, we are getting the Marvel version of Suicide Squad with the Thunderbolts—sometimes you need the bad guys to save the world. We have a deep love for many villainous characters here at TMS, so getting redemption stories for an entire team of them is going to be delicious. Let’s go over everything we know about Thunderbolts so far.

When does Thunderbolts come out?

At the D23 Expo in September 2022, Disney and Marvel announced the official Thunderbolts cast with a team lineup photo that had all of us foaming at the mouth for more. After some release date swaps and delays, the movie is currently slated to come out on May 2, 2025.

Related: 61 celebrities who have played themselves in the MCU on We Got This Covered

Who is in Thunderbolts?

Thunderbolts is like the Avengers, but for morally grey anti-heroes and villains. Most of the characters in this movie were first seen in other MCU titles over the years, so we already know them and love them!

James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes, a.k.a. Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) – Last seen in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series on Disney+. Bucky grappled a lot with his past in this one and found a BFF in Sam Wilson, who is taking over the Captain America moniker in the upcoming movie Captain America: New World Order.

Yelena Belova, a.k.a. Black Widow (Florence Pugh) – Last seen in the Hawkeye series. Yelena is perfect and I love her and she doesn’t need to change a single thing. She went away during the Blip only to come back to a world that her sister, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), died trying to save. Yelena is just trying to find the right path after a lifetime of following bad orders.

Ava Starr, a.k.a. Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) – Last seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp. A skilled fighter with the cards stacked against her, Ava is more of an anti-hero than a real villain. Hopefully, her condition has gotten more stable since her last appearance and she can have somewhat of a new beginning.

John Walker, U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell) – Last seen in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. U.S. Agent is the guy they tried to make into the new Captain America—and failed miserably. I think this character will have the longest path to redemption since he is just awful.

Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) – Last seen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. We watched Valentina slowly gather a team of discarded people, and now she’s the director of the CIA with an agenda to accomplish.

Alexei Shostakov, a.k.a. Red Guardian (David Harbour) – Last seen in Black Widow. Alexei is the Russian version of Captain America who served as a father to Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova. He’s not a bad guy; he just needs a little structure and guidance. It will be interesting to see him on a team with his daughter.

Antonia Dreykov, a.k.a. Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko) – Last seen in Black Widow. This version of Taskmaster is a product of the Red Room, just like the Black Widows. Unlike them, however, Antonia wears a special suit and mimics superheroes’ fighting techniques to use against them. She’s been living her whole life as her father’s attack dog, so it will be an entirely new world for her.

General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (Harrison Ford) – Last seen in Avengers: Endgame. Ross went from fighting the Hulk to instating the superhero accords that led the Avengers to a Civil War. He will appear in the next Captain America movie before returning in Thunderbolts. Harrison Ford will take over the role previously played by William Hurt, who passed away.

Ayo Edebiri and Steven Yeun were both originally slated to join the cast of Thunderbolts, with Yeun playing Sentry and Edebiri in an unannounced role. However, both have left the production due to scheduling issues, with Geraldine Viswanathan taking over Edebiri’s role, and Lewis Pullman reportedly in talks to play Sentry

What is the plot of Thunderbolts?

In the original comic book storyline, Baron Von Zemo created the Thunderbolts team out of villains he previously collaborated with. When all the heroes died during a certain story arc, he realized Earth still needed a team of super-powered beings to save the world. Later iterations of the Thunderbolts are started by various government factions that need the team to get their hands dirty in a way the Avengers or the Fantastic Four never would. It seems like the movie will go with this version of the team since de Fontaine is handling the group. I would wager their mission would have something to do with the U.S. government’s desire for a monopoly on Wakanda’s vibranium supply.

Who is writing and directing Thunderbolts?

Director Jake Schreier enlisted Lee Sung Jin to work on the script after working together on Netflix’s Beef (also starring Yeun). Lee Sung Jin will write alongside Kurt Busiek and Eric Pearson. Busiek created the Thunderbolts team for Marvel Comics, so it is great to see his involvement with the film. Pearson worked on several other MCU projects, including the screenplays for Black Widow and Thor: Ragnarok.

Who is the villain of Thunderbolts?

Since Thunderbolts features a team full of former villains, who could be the bad guy in this one? Marvel has not announced the official villain, but of course there’s plenty of speculation online. Could it be Doctor Doom? Or maybe General Ross himself, since he has been the villain before? There does seem to be a lot of chatter behind Hyperion as a new villain for the MCU. Hyperion is like an evil version of Superman, and could be just the person to bring a ragtag team of baddies together to save the planet they all call home.

(featured image: Marvel Studios)


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Author
D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.
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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>