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Why The Thunderbolts Are Coming To The MCU

The MCU's villains are doing a complete 180° and becoming heroes. Is this the start of the Thunderbolts?

By Allie Z.Published 3 years ago 3 min read
Image Credit: The Marvel Report/MCU Exchange/ScreenRant/Marvel

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to grow with new developments taking hold in Phase 4. Things like a different Captain America in John Walker (Wyatt Russell), Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) becoming the deity known as the Scarlet Witch, a multidimensional adventure in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and young heroes joining the fight. But out of all the recent events transpiring, the Thunderbolts' introduction is the most intriguing.

While the group of reformed villains hasn't officially made their MCU debut, steps are in motion for them to do so. Characters like Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), and Taskmaster are members in the comics, making the team's formation in live-action format seem plausible.

The more pertinent reason the Thunderbolts are of interest here is what EP Malcolm Spellman said during an interview with Deadline.

Did Spellman Tease 'The Thunderbolts'?

Image Credit: MCU Exchange/ComicVine

According to the Falcon And The Winter Soldier executive producer, the bad guys think of themselves as heroes now. Spellman explained that "every villain will tell you that they're a hero," hinting at a shift in social dynamics. And if they're trying to present themselves as the protagonists, it's only a matter of time before villains assemble as the Thunderbolts did.

Such a play would line up with the United States government's efforts to create superheroes of their own. They have U.S. Agent John Walker entering the fold in Falcon And The Winter Soldier, showing that a recruitment drive could be imminent.

Abomination (Tim Roth) is also making a comeback in the She-Hulk Disney+ series, and we can safely assume he's getting the same treatment as Walker. His future in the MCU remains up in the air, although joining a team similar to the Thunderbolts seems plausible. Playing for the home team might also buy him a pardon, so Abomination has an incentive to fight for the good guys.

U.S. Agent and Abomination are just two mysterious characters who'll likely join a live-action version of the Thunderbolts. However, there's someone else with a grander role to play in the group: Zemo.

Zemo Assembling The Supervillain Team

Image Credit: Bleeding Cool/Marvel

In the comics, Zemo was the one who recruited the former Masters of Evil to serve as Earth's newest protectors. Most of them don't yet exist in the current timeline, but that doesn't mean they won't appear in the near future.

Remember, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a multidimensional adventure with potentially massive ramifications. Both Wanda and Stephen (Benedict Cumberbatch) are manipulating the universe in the film, so it's only logical a chain reaction of events changes certain things in the MCU. And that could include which villains do and don't exist.

Whether or not that's the case here, Baron Zemo still stands as the ideal antagonist to set up the Thunderbolts. He's making his return in Falcon And The Winter Soldier in a yet-to-be-determined role, but it may be as a mercenary. If so, Zemo can bargain to get pardoned for his help. He's capable of staying in the shadows, remaining true to his nefarious intent. Of course, the better play could be getting a government with serious pull to hire him. That way, he's free to assemble the Thunderbolts as he sees fit.

Or perhaps Zemo will use the Endgame aftermath to bring together the Masters Of Evil. They came before the Thunderbolts in the comics, and a couple of members are in contention to join them.

Masters of Evil

Image Credit: Marvel/ Amazon

For anyone who doesn't recall, Enchantress's younger sister Lorelei exists in the MCU. She briefly appeared on Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, and her existence implies the Enchantress is around somewhere. That means she could pop up at any moment. The Loki Disney+ series is reaching unseen parts of the universe, and the God of Mischief might run into the Enchantress along the way. She's Lorelei's older sister, so she's around somewhere. It's just a question of where.

Similarly, the Black Knight, another founding member of the Masters of Evil, is making his MCU debut shortly. The Dane Whitman version joins the Eternals in their upcoming feature film, and while he's not the one who partnered with Zemo, his uncle was. There's no guarantee that we'll see both versions on-screen, but if Whitman (Kit Harrington) mentions a brooding uncle in The Eternals, it's highly likely.

Odds are audiences will see either the Thunderbolts or the Masters of Evil in Phase 4. The team's formation won't happen as early as the first episodes of Falcon And The Winter Soldier, although following Eternals and Black Widow's debuts feels like a distinct possibility.

New episodes of Falcon And The Winter Soldier stream on Disney+ every Friday.

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About the Creator

Allie Z.

I cover most entertainment related topics and am venturing into journalism.

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    Allie Z.Written by Allie Z.

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