After years of rumor and speculation, it was finally announced that antihero ensemble epic Thunderbolts was in active development at Marvel Studios, with Jake Schreier directing from a screenplay penned by Black Widow writer Eric Pearson.
Not only that, but a raft of potential candidates for the titular team were mentioned in the initial report. Presumably, Julia-Louis Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine will be the ringleader, especially following the recent passing of longtime MCU stalwart William Hurt, who debuted as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in The Incredible Hulk.
Daniel Brühl’s Zemo, Wyatt Russell’s John Walker, Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost, Olga Kurylenko’s Taskmaster, Tim Roth’s Abomination and Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier were all named as hypothetical members of the Thunderbolts roster, but fans have been putting forward even more suggestions of their own.
Mike Colter’s Luke Cage and Jon Bernthal’s Punisher come up on a regular basis, which would continue the recent trend for folding the former Netflix stars back into official canon. Tom Hardy’s Venom is one of the more out-there names being bandied around, but it’s one we’d love to see happen nonetheless.
Tim Blake Nelson’s Leader, who we haven’t seen since The Incredible Hulk, would be a deep cut from MCU lore to position as either the brains of the operation or the ultimate threat, while Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer could provide tech support and arms for the crew.
There’s plenty to choose from, even if Marvel Studios has killed off a huge number of its big bads over the year, which has in turn left as very curious as to who gets the call to suit up and rejoin the action when Thunderbolts arrives.