‘Thunderbolts’ Prediction: Which Reformed Villains Are Most Likely to Appear in the Marvel Film?

Marvel Studios had many surprises at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, where they laid out their plans for Phases 4 through 6 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And one of the upcoming projects is a film that Marvel fans speculated was coming — Thunderbolts. Although the studio hasn’t released the cast, we’ve put together a list of the characters we think will be a part of the Thunderbolts team.

Florence Pugh, who could appear in Marvel's 'Thunderbolts,' wears a black dress with a sparkly string.
Florence Pugh | Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK

Marvel announces ‘Thunderbolts’ is in the works for the MCU

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced at SDCC 2022 that Thunderbolts would be a part of MCU: Phase 5. It will be the final film before MCU: Phase 6, and the movie will premiere on July 26, 2024. Thunderbolts is currently “in development” at Marvel. Jake Schreier is attached to direct it, and Eric Pearson, who wrote Black Widow and co-wrote Thor: Ragnarok, is set to write the script.

So, are the Thunderbolts good or evil? The Thunderbolts is a team of reformed villains/anti-heroes in the comic books who go on government-run missions. They’re similar to DC’s Suicide Squad as they often pretend to be heroes and then accidentally become the good guys along the way.

According to ComicBook.com, the team in Thunderbolts will consist of MCU characters we’ve met before and new Marvel villains.

Which current MCU characters could be in ‘Thunderbolts’?

Following the movie’s announcement, fans immediately began wondering who are the Thunderbolt members. The MCU started quietly teasing a Thunderbolts movie in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, appeared in episode 5 to approach John Walker with a preposition. And in the finale, she gave Walker a new suit and moniker — U.S. Agent.

Elsewhere in the MCU, Valentina is revealed as Yelena Belova’s handler during a Black Widow post-credits scene. She told Yelena that Clint Barton was responsible for Natasha Romanoff’s death and assigned him as her next target.

It’s unclear what organization Valentina works for, but many believe she is recruiting anti-heroes for the Thunderbolts. Both U.S. Agent and Yelena Belova are a part of the Thunderbolts in the comics. So if this theory holds up, they will both likely be in the upcoming MCU film.

Valentina also mentioned Helmut Zemo in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and called him “our friend.” Given his history with the anti-hero team in the comics, it would make sense if Zemo returned for Thunderbolts, too.

Other already established MCU characters that could appear in Marvel’s Thunderbolts are Bucky Barnes, Taskmaster, Ghost, and Abomination. All four characters are reformed villains (Abomination’s redemption is coming in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law), and they were all a part of the team in the comic books.

Which characters from Marvel Comics could be in ‘Thunderbolts’?

The Thunderbolts in Marvel Comics have gone through many iterations, meaning that multiple anti-heroes have been a part of the team. So the MCU could go in many different directions when introducing new characters.

From Songbird to Atlas, there are multiple Thunderbolts members that we would want to see in the MCU: Phase 5 film. Plus, fans might finally see Ghost Rider come to life in the MCU. And the Punisher and Deadpool could join the group in Thunderbolts.

To summarize, we thoroughly believe that Yelena Belova, U.S. Agent, and Helmut Zemo are in Thunderbolts. Everyone else is speculation based on their history in the comics and the MCU.

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