A few weeks ago the wider Marvel fandom was treated to a few releases and surprises at the Disney Expo. One of the biggest takeaways for fans was the official announcement of the roster of the upcoming Thunderbolts movie next year. It would be an understatement to say it was contentious and left some fans scratching their heads.
Whilst it’s a full-gone conclusion that Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige are keeping something back, and they’ll be more heroes and villains involved than we currently know about, the current six announced didn’t exactly blow anyone’s minds.
For those unaware, the Thunderbolts are essentially Marvel’s version of DC’s Suicide Squad, just without the whole bomb-in-a-brain thing. Comprising of villains and anti-heroes alike, they’re enlisted to do the more mature jobs that the strict heroes could do, and are manipulated by those above them to do their bidding, be it good or bad.
The current roster of the upcoming Thunderbolts movie is largely uninspiring, with Yelena, U.S Agent, Ghost, Bucky Barnes, Taskmaster, and Red Guardian making up the team. In essence, it may as well be a Black Widow sequel. More surprising than Red Guardian’s and Taskmaster’s inclusion was the lack of Baron Zemo, who most thought was pretty much nailed on to appear. With that said, here are five characters we half expect and half hope to appear.
As it stands, the current Thunderbolts team doesn’t have a ‘heavy hitter’ and it’s fair to say Tim Roth’s Abomination would fulfill this role. It doesn’t seem likely that after fourteen years they’re bringing the character back simply as a side story, comic fodder for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and it seems so easy for his next appearance to be with some other anti-heroes/villains. Hopefully, the lack of Abomination at the expo was due to avoiding any spoilers for the still airing She-Hulk, but we’ll have to wait.
Other fans are hoping for a clever marketing ploy from Marvel, rather than completely dismissing one of the most anticipated characters. Baron Zemo was one of the high points of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and with Bucky Barnes featuring as one of the main heroes on the team, it doesn’t sound particularly unlikely that we’ll be graced with more Zemo too. In fact, Marvel made a slight mistake in their announcement when it was noticed Zemo was included in the URL for their announcement, but you can never tell with Marvel.
He hasn’t been seen in twelve years, and Sam Rockwell has mentioned many times over the years that he’d welcome a return to the MCU, so why not have him break out of prison to be the ‘tech guy’ for the team? That’s an overly simplistic pitch for including him, sure, but I just want to see Rockwell in the MCU again, and with the announcement that Tim Blake Nelson will be returning to a role some fourteen years after he last appeared, Marvel has precedent for bringing back older characters.
One of the biggest and best characters to be introduced during Phase Four of the MCU, Echo was so good during her appearance in the Hawkeye television show, that she was promptly given her own show. The character apparently is also due to appear in Daredevil: Born Again after that. One of the central figures for the street-level heroes going forward in the MCU, she’d make a good inclusion to the team, especially with her previous run-in with Yelena.
Pretty much guaranteed not to happen unfortunately due to the sad death of Thaddeus Ross actor William Hurt earlier this year. Of course, in the comics, General Ross ends up transforming into the Red Hulk in his campaign to stop Hulk by any means. Whilst it would have been good to see both Emil Blonsky and Ross trading barbs and not trusting one another (include a big screen fight between the two transformed), it’s just not going to happen. Even if William Hurt was still with us, it would have been a lot to cram into the film, as of his last appearance he’d not yet transformed or even got close to Red Hulk.
There are countless comic members of the Thunderbolts, so we’re certainly in for some surprises when the film drops. It’s also unlikely to be quite as graphic or trigger-happy as DC’s Suicide Squad, but if Marvel is going to stick to the source material somewhat, we can expect at least some to die in pursuit of their mission.
Who else do you think will appear in the upcoming Thunderbolts film, or would you want to appear that you don’t think will?