Marvel’s Thunderbolts Cast and Character Guide – Armessa Movie News

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Fans who attended the Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Studio Showcase were really expecting some news on the anticipated project that’s set to start Phase 6, Fantastic Four (2024). The Marvel Cinematic Universe reboot of Marvel’s First Family has been the subject of fan casting galore after John Krasinski made a surprise appearance as Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), so fans were expecting some sort of casting after WandaVision (2021) director Matt Shakman was announced to helm the project. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as the only news that studio head Kevin Feige had about the movie at the D23 Showcase was that there was no news. The project is just too early and far out to share anything further. However, we did get some information on the film that will be directly preceding Fantastic Four in the current film slate: Thunderbolts (2024).

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Announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, the film will essentially be Marvel’s answer to DC’s Suicide Squad concept, following a ragtag group of villains and anti-heroes who begrudgingly fight crime to pay their debt to society. The team has undergone quite a few iterations in the comics, ranging from full-blown villains just playing a part to a group of truly remorseful criminals trying to wipe the red from their ledger. Now this team is finally making its way into the MCU, and the recent casting announcement revealed that quite a few returning favorites will be joining the group. So here is a full cast and character guide of who is joining this group of angry avengers.

Related:Every Phase 5 Plot the MCU Has Set up So Far in Phase 4, From Thunderbolts to Cosmic Chaos


Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes

Perhaps the most surprising addition to the team given it looked like he had been turning a new leaf, Sebastian Stan will once again be playing the old pal of Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes. When it comes to seniority, Bucky absolutely wins, both in terms of technical age and amount of time in the MCU, being around in the universe ever since Phase 1’s Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). During World War II, before Steve got his superpowered growth spurt, Bucky was his closest friend and the one that Steve always looked up to. When Steve became a good foot taller and became Captain America, Bucky still remained his best companion and helped him fight the evil think tank HYDRA, until one day when chasing down an enemy train, Bucky fell several thousand feet, his companions assuming the worst.

Somehow, Bucky miraculously survived, but his fate may have been worse than death. Bucky was found by HYDRA and brainwashed by the organization, fitted with a mechanical arm and becoming the ruthless assassin known as the Winter Soldier. He was placed in cryostasis, only revived when his masters needed an enemy killed, one target even being his old colleague, Howard Stark. Several decades later in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Steve and Bucky once again met, with Bucky not even able to recognize him. Eventually, Steve is able to reach his old friend in Captain America: Civil War (2016), and with the assistance of Wakanda and T’Challa, cured Bucky of his brainwashing.

We last saw the Winter Soldier in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), in which Bucky helps Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), the hero once known as the Falcon who was chosen by Steve to be his successor to the shield. Together they went after a band of super-powered radicals. He was paying his debt to society and those he unwillingly harmed in that show, and that is a theme that will seem to continue in Thunderbolts.

Florence Pugh as Black Widow/Yelena Belova

One of the biggest strengths of Black Widow (2021) was its colorful cast of new characters, the best example of which certainly was Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova. Yelena, like her surrogate sister Natasha (Scarlett Johansson), started her career as a spy and assassin very young, posing as the youngest sibling of a normal American family during the 1990s along with Alexei Shostakov and Melina Vostokoff. After their mission in the states, Yelena was trained to become the ultimate career assassin known as a Black Widow, while also being brainwashed by her commander, Dreykov. A fellow rouge Widow was able to show Yelena the truth, causing her to betray Dreykov as well and reunite with Natasha and the rest of her spy family. They defeated Dreykov and Yelena finally got her sister back, albeit for a short time.

Yelena was part of the unlucky half of the universe to get vaporized by Thanos’s snap in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), but when she blipped back to reality five years later, it didn’t take long for her to learn of Natasha’s sacrifice. Looking for answers, she eventually crossed paths with Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, a mysterious benefactor who has taken an interest in heroes who are a bit rough around the edges. She manipulates Yelena into thinking Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) was the one who killed Natasha. Even though Clint may have technically been part of Natasha’s death, Yelena ultimately decided against killing her sister’s closest companion in the name of revenge, which could cause a rift between her and Val in the future.

David Harbour as Red Guardian/Alexei Shostakov

Another standout from Black Widow, David Harbour plays a Russian copycat of Captain America, but he certainly lacks the heart of gold that the “Star-Spangled Man with a Plan” has.

Alexei was the subject of a Russian version of the super soldier program that gave Cap his powers. Despite not having the original serum used on Steve, the program worked, but despite doing everything that General Dreykov asked of him, he never got a real chance to shine. After a mission going undercover in the states, Alexei wound up in a frozen gulag, where he told stories to his inmates about all the times he fought his arch-nemesis, Captain America. This was all a lie of course as Steve Rogers was frozen in ice when Alexei was in his prime as the Red Guardian, but that doesn’t mean he’s a total fraud. He still is a super soldier and a skilled fighter, and he still acts as a caring father to his surrogate daughter and now teammate, Yelena. He may not be Captain America, but he’s more than a Captain America knock-off.

Related:MCU Timeline Explained: From Infinity Stones to Infinity War, Endgame, and Beyond

Speaking of Captain America knock-offs, enter Wyatt Russell‘s John Walker, the former successor to Captain America and now the barely stable U.S. Agent. Even though Steve Rogers chose Sam Wilson to become the next Captain, Sam passed the mantle along to the government who in turn chose U.S. Army Captain John Walker, a supposedly squeaky clean veteran who seemed to be perfect for the part.

Though he may have been given Cap’s shield, it wasn’t enough to turn him into a flawless hero. While tracking down the super terrorist Karli Morgenthau (Erin Mae Kellyman) and her Flag-Smashers, Walker’s close friend Lemar Hoskins was killed. Walker found one of Morgenthau’s stolen super soldier serum samples and drank it before brutally killing a defenseless Flag-Smasher in front of a crowd of witnesses. Stripped of his title, Walker was also recruited by Valentina, and while he did put his desire for vengeance aside to help civilians in harm’s way, he still might be a threat if someone like the Contessa is pulling the strings.

Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster/Antonia Dreykov

The third alumnus from Black Widow, Olga Kyrylenko will be reprising her role as Taskmaster, who’s historically one of the most formidable opponents in all of the Marvel Universe. Antonia is the daughter of Dreykov who, after an explosion caused by Natasha Romanoff, was afflicted with a severe brain injury. As a result, she was gifted (or rather cursed) with an extreme photographic memory, allowing her to replicate the moves of any opponent.

While under Dreykov’s mind control, Antonia studies the fighting styles of virtually all the Avengers, becoming the crown jewel in Dreykov’s army of assassins. Natasha freed Antonia of Dreykov’s control and she was last seen being aided by the other liberated Widows, but she clearly hasn’t abandoned her potential as a fighter if she has joined the Thunderbolts.

The only member of the team to not have come from Black Widow or TheFalcon and the Winter Soldier, Hannah John-Kamen returns after serving as the antagonist of Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018). At a young age, Ava was the victim of a quantum entanglement accident that caused her molecular structure to become stable, leading her to phase in and out of reality. Instead of finding a cure for her, S.H.I.E.L.D. used Ava’s condition for their own benefit.

They created a suit for her to control her abilities, but this was only a temporary solution to a permanent problem. She became the ultimate spy and assassin called the Ghost, but she started as just a scared little girl who didn’t want to cease existing altogether. She sought help from Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne), which led to her wanting to take his former colleague Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) technology for her own. She went about things aggressively, but eventually, she came to an agreement with Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and his friends, who promised they would find a cure for her condition.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine

The ringleader of the whole operation, Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, played by Seinfeld‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, is the Nick Fury of the Thunderbolts. Even though she made brief appearances in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Widow, little is known about the mysterious benefactor. She certainly doesn’t seem to be a fan of the Avengers given she tried to convince Yelena to kill Hawkeye, and her comics counterpart has been known to step towards the villainous side of things, having historical ties to HYDRA. Whether she’s just a cynical government agent or a true villain in disguise, Valentina clearly has friends in high places.

And What About Daniel Brühl as Baron Helmut Zemo?

Daniel Brühl was the biggest omission from the Thunderbolts cast announcement, and that’s a bit of a shock considering how important Baron Zemo has been to the Thunderbolts comics. First introduced in Captain America: Civil War, Zemo has a deep, bitter resentment for superheroes, thinking they do far more harm than good after losing his family during the Ultron crisis in Sokovia. As a wealthy baron, Zemo used his funds and influence to enact several schemes to wipe them out, which was what led to an unlikely alliance between him, Sam Wilson, and Bucky Barnes. Bucky didn’t trust him for a second since Zemo used his brainwashing against him in Civil War, and he tried to bring him to justice, but last we saw, Zemo escaped and was back to hunting superhumans.

What makes Zemo’s lack of appearance thus far so surprising is that he’s been the leader of the team in the comics fairly frequently. Granted, this was often because he had another scheme up his sleeve, but he’s always been an essential part of the team to some capacity. Perhaps this time around he’ll be playing the villain of the film, which would make sense given how he probably wouldn’t want to work with Bucky or John Walker again. Regardless, it seems highly unlikely that Zemo wouldn’t be a part of a movie about the Thunderbolts, one of the comic elements he’s most well-known for.

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