When Marvel Studios revealed the Thunderbolts roster at last year's D23, the response from fans probably isn't what Kevin Feige and company expected. With a team mostly comprised of super soldiers and Black Widow characters, many were quick to express disappointment over a take on the Thunderbolts that's a little...boring...compared to the comics.
The rumoured presence of The Sentry could help matters, of course, while we're hoping for at least one or two surprise additions to the group.
However, if you've been among those arguing that Thunderbolts is basically a Black Widow sequel, that was basically confirmed by Marvel Studios Director of Visual Development Andy Park in a now-edited Instagram post.
"Taskmaster, the Red Guardian, Yelena and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine will be returning in the upcoming Thunderbolts film," he said. "It’s like it’s a Black Widow sequel [and] these movies are connected or something! It’s gonna get interesting."
Park may have spoken out of turn or simply realised his comments could be misconstrued. Either way, they're unlikely to ease the minds of fans who expect Thunderbolts to be an expansion of Black Widow (and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier to a lesser extent).
The 2021 blockbuster was a lot of fun, and those characters definitely deserve to be revisited. However, when fans think about the Thunderbolts, characters like Baron Zemo, Songbird, and even Luke Cage quickly come to mind. As for the MCU's take on this team, Ghost is the only character who shares a history with them on the page.
We'll see what happens, but it's definitely too soon to write this one off. Recently, there have been rumblings that Ghost might have been cut, though we've since learned those rumours were incorrect.
Thunderbolts is set to be released in theaters on July 26. 2024.