One of the most mysterious characters in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is easily Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). When she was first introduced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) and then made a follow-up appearance in the end credits sequence of Black Widow (2021), she clearly seemed to be recruiting some more unsavory, morally complex characters from the MCU. Why was she doing this? Well, we’re still not exactly sure what Fontaine’s intentions are, but we do know now that she is putting together a rather remarkable group of people (apart from the Avengers of course). Thunderbolts (2024) is being touted as the conclusion to Marvel’s Phase 5 of the Multiverse Saga, bringing together an ensemble cast of former villains and anti-heroes from the prior films and Disney+ shows. The Thunderbolts have a long and complicated history in the comics, with a constantly changing roster and varying motivations, so a live-action adaptation for the super team could go a variety of ways.
Following its announcement at San Diego Comic-Con, we finally got our first real good look at the film at the Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Studio Showcase at this year’s D23 Expo, where the full roster and cast were revealed among other details for the anticipated project. To find out more about this unlikely alliance, simply read below to find out everything we know so far about Marvel’s Thunderbolts.
Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on May 27 with the latest casting news and filming details.
Is There a Trailer for Thunderbolts?
No, the movie hasn’t even begun filming since it is so far down in the line in Marvel’s schedule. So with no footage to give to the D23 audience, did Marvel Studios leader Kevin Feige have any promotional material to share? Well yes he did, with a snazzy piece of concept art from artist Andy Park, showing the whole team in all their glory with some a collection of lights or camera flashes shining upon them.
From left to right, the team consists of Valentina, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), Red Guardian (David Harbour), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell), and Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko). When Feige premiered the cast at the showcase, he also brought on stage director Jake Schrier (Beef) along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld), David Harbour (Stranger Things), Hannah John-Kamen (Ready Player One), Wyatt Russell (Overlord), and Sebastian Stan (Pam & Tommy). Florence Pugh (Don’t Worry Darling) also tuned into the event with a recorded message to the fans as she was unable to physically attend the panel.
What Is the Release Date for Thunderbolts?
Marvel’s Thunderbolts is currently scheduled for July 26th, 2024. The is currently on hold due to the writer’s strike. The film was slated to begin principal photography in June. Thunderbolts is scheduled to be one of the four MCU movies released in 2024 alongside Captain America: New World Order, Blade, and Deadpool 3.
What Are the Comic Book Origins of Thunderbolts?
It’s very easy to compare the Thunderbolts to DC’s Suicide Squad, and it’s a fair comparison given that both teams are comprised of people who wouldn’t be the ideal choice for members of a super team. However, there’s a key difference between the teams in terms of their reasoning for doing the dirty work of the U.S. government. For the Suicide Squad, the villains are literally forced against their will thanks to microscopic bombs planted in their heads and sent on missions where they have an astronomically low chance of survival. The Thunderbolts are a bit different. Instead of being sent on suicide missions, the common goal of the team is to show rouges and villains reformed for the public perception.
The founder of this idea was none other than bureaucratic Captain America foe, Baron Helmut Zemo. The criminal mastermind also founded the very on-the-nose collective of super villains, the Masters of Evil, who were essentially out of a job after nearly all of Earth’s heroes were wiped out by the conqueror known as Onslaught. Seeing a newly formed niche in the market of superhero teams, Zemo saw this as a perfect opportunity to manipulate the public and gain far more global power. In order to make his plan a success, Zemo needed some conspirators, so he recruited Goliath, Fixer, Screaming Mimi, Beattle, and Moonstone. To further buy into this facade, the villains also took on new alter egos, becoming Citizen V, Atlas, Techno, Songbird, MACH-1, and Meteorite respectively. Zemo’s master plan for global domination ultimately backfired, with his teammates doing the one thing he didn’t want them to do: reform.
The other Thunderbolts members eventually were able to overthrow Zemo, showing that they really did turn a new leaf and wanted to pay their debt to society. Since then, numerous big names from the Marvel universe have been a part of the team at one point or another. Some notable members include Deadpool, Abomination, Whiplash, Venom, Norman Osborne, and many more had tenures with the team, as well as most of the characters who have been announced for the feature film. Even some cleaner-cut heroes have been a part of the team at points, with Hawkeye, America Chavez, and Spectrum being a part of the current roster. Even Zemo has come in and out of the group, sometimes genuinely reforming, but almost always circling back to his bad guy roots.
Who Is Making Thunderbolts?
Jake Schrier will be taking on directing duties for Thunderbolts. In 2012, Schrier made a splash in the critically acclaimed Robot & Frank (2012) and then found great success three years later with the adaptation of Paper Towns (2015). Despite having two moderately successful features under his belt, Schrier has mainly stuck with directing music videos and specials like Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World as well as the occasional television episode. Thunderbolts will be Schrier’s first feature film in nearly nine years.
Lee Sung Jin (Beef) and Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok, Black Widow) will pen the script. Kevin Feige will, of course, produce the film. Sung Jin talked about his excitement about partnering with Jake Schrier after their success with the Netflix series, Beef.
“It’s the whole squad again. Jake asked me if I would come on board. I probably should have taken a break, but there’s a lot of themes and exciting things about the movie that I couldn’t help but sign on.”
Who’s In the Thunderbolts Cast?
As we mentioned when discussing the roster for Thunderbolts, the cast of characters will include Black Widow‘s Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s Sebastian Stan and Wyatt Russell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who appeared in both, and finally Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s (2018) Hannah John-Kamen. Kevin Feige has revealed that Bucky will be the de-facto leader of the team, but that’s all we know at the moment about their dynamics.
Also appearing in the film will be the one and only Harrison Ford who is taking over the role of Thunderbolt Ross from the late William Hurt, who passed away in 2021 after playing the character in five different MCU films beginning with The Incredible Hulk. This will mark Ford’s second film in the MCU, as earlier in 2024, he’ll be playing the role in Captain America: New World Order.
Ayo Edebiri (The Bear) was announced to be part of the cast in January 2023 in an undisclosed role, and Steven Yeun (Beef) joined the cast in February, also in a mystery role. Yeun went on record explaining why he joined the film.
“I don’t know if it was explicitly on my bucket list, it was more the story, getting to work with [director] Jake Schreier again, who directed Beef, and what his intentions were. The intentions of the particular character that they wanted me to play were very clear, and that’s what drew me to the film.”
Where Is Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo?
The D23 showcase did not offer a single peep about Daniel Brühl reprising his Captain America: Civil War villain, which is frankly pretty shocking considering how crucial the character is to the Thunderbolts of the comics. Zemo seemed to be having a significant MCU future planned for him after being further fleshed out in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with him still having a hatred of superhumans after looking for ways to assassinate the Flag-Smasher super soldiers. Pretty much the only reason we can think of for why Zemo hasn’t been mentioned yet is that he’ll be portraying the villain of the group rather than a team member. This would make sense given this version of Zemo’s particularly righteous fury against superheroes, so we’ll just have to wait until July 24th, 2024 to see if Zemo will be involved with the team of reformed super-jerks.
When and Where Is Thunderbolts Filming?
David Harbour gave us an update back in November on when Thunderbolts would be filming, revealing that he would be working on the movie at the same time as Stranger Things Season 5. Not just that, but they’re both filming in the same city as well, with both productions shooting in Atlanta, Georgia. While Harbour didn’t exactly give us a date, this does confirm that the film would go into production towards the middle of 2023, since Stranger Things Season 5 is expected to start filming in May. There have been reports that place the start of filming in June 2023 but again, we’re yet to get an actual date on this.
Here’s what David Harbour told Collider’s Steve Weintraub about doing both projects together:
“It’s going to have to be a back-and-forth with me. They’re going to have to sort of share me. And so it is kind of like, I don’t know exactly how they’re working it, but it’s a week on, week off, two weeks on, two weeks off, something like that where I would go back and forth. They both are being shot in Atlanta. That may have also been structured in a certain way, but yes, it is helpful. So I can just literally shoot a scene in Stranger Things and get in my car and run over to the Marvel scene to shoot a scene there maybe.”