Every potential member of the MCU’s Thunderbolts team
After years of whispers and rumors, Marvel’s Thunderbolts movie is finally officially underway. Robot + Frank director Jake Schreier has been hired to helm the supervillain team-up film, a project that fans have been desperate to see come to fruition for the longest time.
For those unfamiliar with the group, the Thunderbolts are often called Marvel’s answer to DC’s Suicide Squad, although this isn’t strictly accurate. Unlike Task Force X, the Thunderbolts are willing participants, former felons looking to turn over a new leaf. So which of the MCU’s many iconic villains could be about to join the team’s roster and find redemption?
While no casting details have been confirmed as yet, Deadline — who broke the news of Schreier’s hiring — revealed that Marvel has reached out to several Marvel veterans to encourage them to keep their schedules clear next summer, which is when Thunderbolts is due to shoot.
Six potential stars were specified as potentially being on the callsheet. Again, these actors are far from officially being on board the production as yet, but intel is pointing to them standing a good chance of appearing in the film. With that in mind, here’s who could appear in Marvel’s Thunderbolts movie.
Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh)
Natasha Romanoff’s little sister Yelena Belova became an instant fan-favorite with the release of Black Widow last July, so it’s no surprise Marvel has big plans for her. Following Florence Pugh’s scene-stealing return in Disney Plus’ Hawkeye, it looks like the next time we see her in the MCU could be in Thunderbolts. While we might not think of her as a villain, Yelena was an assassin for years so she definitely fits the criteria.
Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl)
It’s time to do the “Zemo in the Madripoor club” dance, folks as the Bad Baron himself may be back with us soon. Zemo proved himself one of the most effective Avengers villains ever in Captain America: Civil War, and then his surprisingly hilarious return in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier cemented his place as a beloved character. The Sokovian criminal mastermind’s intellect could make him the brains of the Thunderbolts roster.
Abomination (Tim Roth)
For years, fans wondered what happened to Emil Blonsky, after his capture at the end of The Incredible Hulk, but now we don’t have to wonder any longer. Abomination briefly cameod in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, complete with comics-accurate redesign, and he’ll soon show up again in She-Hulk. Time seems to have mellowed out his anger issues so Blonsky could prove to be effective as the Thunderbolts’ resident muscle.
U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell)
John Walker might’ve proven himself to be a terrible Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but the world may yet have use of his more lethal way of saving the day. Walker was rebranded as U.S. Agent in the Falcon finale, so it looks like we’ll get to see him in action in his new darker suit in Thunderbolts. Like the inversion of Cap that he is, Walker could be the field team leader of the group.
Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen)
Ava Starr was never a true villain in Ant-Man and the Wasp, as she only turned to theft in an attempt to cure her Quantum sickness, so she always seemed ripe for a redemptive return at some point in the MCU. It looked like Marvel had forgotten all about her for a while there, though, so it’s encouraging to hear she could appear in Thunderbolts. With her phasing powers, Ghost would make for a useful addition to the lineup.
Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko)
Yelena isn’t the only alum of the Red Room who could join the Thunderbolts. Black Widow‘s reinvention of Taskmaster, taking the character from a hardened villain to a mind-controlled one, rubbed the fandom up the wrong way, but a return for Antonia Dreykov in Thunderbolts could do a lot to redeem her in people’s eyes and convince us of what makes this unique take on the comics villain special.
Other possible characters
Contessa Valentina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)
Contessa Valentina Allegra Fontaine — call her Val — has made two enigmatic appearances in the MCU so far, recruiting both U.S. Agent and Yelena to her mysterious cause in Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Widow. Fans guessed she was building some kind of covert ops squad and, given reports that her two recruits are appearing in Thunderbolts, that suggests she’s the one behind the team’s formation. So a role for Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the film seems highly plausible.
General Ross (Unknown)
In the comics, you can’t have the Thunderbolts without the man from whom they get their name — General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, who often leads the team as Red Hulk. Ross is a recurring MCU character, too, of course, with William Hurt appearing in everything from Incredible Hulk to Avengers: Endgame. That said, given Hurt’s passing earlier this year, you might expect Marvel to rest the part. In a surprising move, however, Deadline notes that the studio is considering recasting Ross for Thunderbolts. No names for who could replace Hurt have been revealed as yet.