Justice, like lightning...

Careful Marvel observers have predicted it was coming, and they were correct: The next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will include a version of the Thunderbolts. The super-team, first created in the 1990s by writer Kurt Busiek and artist Mark Bagley, have one of the most interesting (and complicated) histories at Marvel.

In all of its many incarnations, the team is basically a group of super-villains who masquerade as superheroes. How they go about that is typically what varies from series to series. The very first Thunderbolts group kept their identities secret from the public, and even from readers of their comic until the end of its first issue, which revealed that this new team of “heroes” was actually Baron Zemo and his Masters of Evil team in disguise. Since then, different versions of the group have been led by other evil characters; Norman Osborn once had his own team of Thunderbolts during a period when he worked for the U.S. Government.


Odds are, the MCU’s Thunderbolts will be something close to that version of the team, as recent Marvel shows and movies have shown Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, recruiting villains and anti-heroes to work for her for some mysterious reason. The characters who seem to be in the team’s orbit so far include the new Black Widow, played by Florence Pugh, and the former Captain America John Walker, played by Wyatt Russell. The character of Zemo, played by Daniel Bruhl, could conceivably fit into this version of Thunderbolts as well.

All Marvel said so far is that this Thunderbolts will get their own movie in 2024 — and that it will be the final film in Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Thunderbolts is scheduled to premiere in theaters on July 26, 2024. Basically two years from today.

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