Marvel Studios and Disney are poised to give some of their more shady heroes (and some villains) their moment in the spotlight with the Thunderbolts movie currently in development.
For the uninitiated, Thunderbolts is a team of morally dubious characters who work to fix their public image after falling on the wrong side of the law. If all of this sounds a bit familiar, then you wouldn’t be the only one drawing comparisons between the Thunderbolts and DC Comics’ own similarly themed ragtag group of misfits, the Suicide Squad.
While the House of Mouse and Marvel are following in the footsteps of Warner Bros. and the DC Extended Universe by bringing their seedy squad of antiheroes and villains to the big screen, it’s fair to say that the MCU has a far stronger list of characters selected as their DC counterpart.
With Paper Towns’ Jake Schreier directing and Agent Carter’s Eric Pearson writing the screenplay, Thunderbolts is set to begin filming in the summer of 2023. Taking a look at the potential contenders for this infamous team, here are eight well-known MCU faces that will most likely appear in this picture when it makes its way to the big screen.
In the first installment of Thunderbolts in 1997, the group was led by evil Baron Helmut Zemo as they put their villainous past behind them and became crime-fighting heroes. However, the rest of the team (Beetle, Fixer, Moonstone, and Screaming Mimi) were being misled by Zemo the entire time.
Zemo had sinister ulterior motives and never really gave up his villainy, but eventually the rest of the Thunderbolts confronted him and after defeating the tyrant, they started again as real heroes.
Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Zemo was the catalyst for the Avengers’ civil war after framing Bucky Barnes for the death of T’Chaka, leader of Wakanda. Years later, he was released from prison by Bucky and Sam Wilson on events from the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Along with the heroes, Zemo’s actions on the show gave him an element of redemption as he made amends with Barnes but was eventually tricked by Dora Milaje into continuing to serve his sentence at maximum security prison The Raft. As the main villain of Captain America: Civil War, Zemo is more recognizable than most other Thunderbolt candidates and would be a compelling example of someone looking to redeem themselves for past crimes.