Geeks Worldwide shared that Marvel Studios is reportedly producing a Thunderbolts movie, with production slated to begin in 2023.
For those unaware, the Thunderbolts are a group of reformed Marvel villains working together to do something heroic but are actually the Masters of Evil in disguise. Despite being full-blown villains, they eventually redeem themselves to transition into heroes.
Here are a few things about the characters:
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While not the originator of the Thunderbolts concept, Ross – first seen in The Incredible Hulk – seems like the most likely choice for team leader in a Thunderbolts movie. He has led at least one version of the team in Marvel comics, and given that his nickname is Thunderbolt Ross, it would make sense that he would lend the nickname to the team.
It would also continue his characterization of Civil War onward regarding government oversight on superheroes, by setting up a superhero team that will follow direction and using his military background to direct the team.
Whether he will be on the frontline or directing from the back is hard to say, but there were plans to include Ross’s alter-ego Red Hulk in both Civil War and Infinity War – only to be cut early in the process as it wouldn’t comfortably fit within either film. Thunderbolts would be a good place to finally feature his transformation, and let him lead from the front.
According to We Got This Covered*, the Leader is rumored to be the main villain of the film. While he would likely need at least one supervillain underling to properly pose a threat, as the Leader is not traditionally a fighter, he would tie in well with Ross leading the Thunderbolts. Samuel Sterns, the Leader’s civilian identity, was a supporting character in the Incredible Hulk alongside Ross, working with Bruce Banner to try to ‘cure’ him of the Hulk.
At the end of the film, Sterns received a head wound, and a sample of Bruce’s gamma-infused blood dripped into his cut, teasing his return as the Leader. However, due to rights issues with Universal, Marvel has never made a Hulk sequel, and Sterns was dealt with in a tie-in comic (which revealed that he was quickly captured by Black Widow and taken into SHIELD custody).
Bringing back Sterns for Thunderbolts would be a good way to tie up the loose ends from the Incredible Hulk while avoiding the rights issue with Universal. It would also make sense that he is free since after the fall of SHIELD in the Winter Soldier, he would have the opportunity to escape. This could also allow Abomination to work alongside him, as he was also in SHIELD custody.
After a well-received performance in Ant-Man and the Wasp that ended with her joining the heroes, Ghost’s future in the MCU is unclear. Hannah John-Kamen has suggested that she may return in a future movie, and Thunderbolts would be a good choice, given the team’s propensity to recruit repentant supervillains. There is the possibility to pull from elsewhere in the MCU – including the TV shows – but Ghost is the most likely candidate to my mind.
While Baron Zemo was the founder of the original Thunderbolts team. It is more likely that a Thunderbolts movie would be based on the modern take, of a superhero team made up of anti-heroes and former villains, while Zemo’s original team was of supervillains pretending to be heroes as part of a long-con.