The Suicide Squad of Marvel, “Thunderbolts”: everything you need to know.

Photograph: Supplied/@ Marvel Studios 2021

What to expect from MCU’s gnarly team-up movie

In an upcoming Thunderbolts film, Marvel’s response to DC’s Suicide Squad, some of its most heinous criminals will be made good.

The Thunderbolts are a motley crew of antiheroes and villains that are largely unknown to everyone but the most devoted comic book fans. They occasionally pose as heroes for evil purposes and, at other times, genuinely try to atone for their transgressions.

If all of this sounds familiar, you are not the first person to compare Thunderbolts to DC’s own Suicide Squad, another group of villains who transform into heroes for hire.

The Thunderbolts film will be directed by Jake Schreier (Robot & Frank), with Black Widow screenwriter Eric Pearson penning the script. Here is what we currently know.

The Thunderbolts are who or what?

A collection of ex-supervillains and dubious heroes make up the Thunderbolts.

In their original form, Baron Helmut Zemo led a group of C-list villains (Beetle, Fixer, Moonstone, and Screaming Mimi) as they assumed new identities and started battling crime as recently – redeemed heroes. But the team was unaware that Zemo was planning evil deeds and had ulterior motives. Zemo is going to be, etc.

Over the course of the Thunderbolts’ 25-year existence as a Marvel comic, the team’s composition has frequently changed, with participants ranging from Avengers who have lost faith (Hawkeye) to supervillains seeking atonement for a life of crime (Ghost).

Who will appear in the MCU Thunderbolts film, exactly?

After Marvel revealed the Thunderbolts lineup at Disney’s D23 event in September 2022, the rumors have finally come to an end.

We now know that the ragtag antiheroes and villains in the plot will be taken from a variety of prior films and television shows.

In particular, Sebastian Stan will return as Bucky Barnes, who is still looking for closure for the wrongdoings he committed while operating as the brainwashed mercenary The Winter Soldier.

Former enemy USA will join him. In the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Agent (Wyatt Russell) temporarily assumed the role of Captain America. Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss), who will be managing the team in Thunderbolts from behind the scenes, recruited Agent.

Several actors from the Black Widow spin-off film are in the cast, with Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) assuming the role of Black Widow following the death of her sister Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson). Yelena and Natasha’s superpowered father Red Guardian (David Harbour) and the villain Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), who is no longer under the mins control that turned her evil, will also make a return in Thunderbolts.

Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), the antagonist from Ant-Man and the Wasp, rounds out the cast. She was a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who developed the ability to phase through walls after a childhood accident in a science lab.

Expect to see Baron Zemo (Daniel BrĂźhl) involved in some capacity, even though he wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the lineup announcement. In comic book runs, he frequently serves as the Thunderbolts’ leader or a rival.

Thunderbolts may also feature the return of Abomination, one of the original MCU villains. Abomination made a surprise appearance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and, more recently, the She-Hulk Disney+ series after first appearing in the frequently overlooked The Incredible Hulk.

Thunderbolts has also featured Luke Cage, Hawkeye, Deadpool, Elektra, The Punisher, Ghost Rider, and America Chavez from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Suicide Squad or Thunderbolts: who came first?

With the release of Suicide Squad in 2016, DC not only gained the upper hand over Marvel in the box office and gave itself a second chance to get it right with 2021’s The Suicide Squad, but it also triumphed in the print war of villainous team-ups by a significant margin.

The Suicide Squad first appeared in comic books in 1959, but Marvel didn’t introduce the Thunderbolts until a 1997 issue of “The Incredible Hulk.”

The Thunderbolts frequently pose as heroes, either for nefarious reasons or sincere attempts at atonement, unlike the Suicide Squad, which is controlled by a government program that bends the rules.

Do you recommend reading any recent Thunderbolts comic books before the film?

The most recent appearance of Thunderbolts was in the six-issue “Devil’s Reign” arc that ran in 2021–2022, during which Wilson Fisk attempted to eliminate heroes like The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man.

When will Thunderbolts be released?

Thunderbolts will be released in cinemas on July 26, 2024.

That year will be a good one for Marvel fanatics with other MCU entries in 2024 including Captain America: New World Order, and Fantastic Four.

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