Speculation Mounts That THUNDERBOLTS* Could End Up Being A DARK AVENGERS Movie

Speculation Mounts That THUNDERBOLTS* Could End Up Being A DARK AVENGERS Movie Speculation Mounts That THUNDERBOLTS* Could End Up Being A DARK AVENGERS Movie

With the asterisk in the Thunderbolts* title generating speculation and wild theories among fans, one intriguing theory suggests the "Thunderbolts" name is a cover for the Dark Avengers. Check it out...

By JoshWilding - Apr 14, 2024 06:04 AM EST
Filed Under: Thunderbolts

Talking at CinemaCon earlier this week, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed the asterisk in Thunderbolts*' title is significant but won't be something they'll talk about until after the movie's release. 

Needless to say, speculation has gone into overdrive. We've wondered for a while whether the team is named after President Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross. Many fans have since doubled down on that after Captain America: Brave New World footage showed the General pressuring Sam Wilson into assembling a new team of Avengers. 

Theories range from the "Thunderbolts" name being an ironic nod to the President after he likely transforms into Red Hulk to the team we've seen in concept art not being the real Thunderbolts (instead, they'd be a decoy team or a Task Force X-like group meant to die in battle). 

However, the most compelling theory is that Thunderbolts* ends with the revelation that this team is, in fact, the MCU's Dark Avengers. 

The Sentry's presence may confirm that, and once the likes of Bucky and Yelena Belova are taken out of play, then we could end up with a villainous team of Avengers which counts the likes of U.S. Agent and Ghost among its ranks. Crucially, they'd be controlled by the U.S. Government and Val, a far cry from past iterations. 

Here are some of the most compelling theories we've seen shared online...

Confirmed cast members for Thunderbolts* include Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Florence Pugh as Yelena Boleva, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, David Harbour as Red Guardian, Wyatt Russell as U.S. Agent, Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost, and Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster.

Recently, Geraldine Viswanathan replaced Ayo Edebiri in an undisclosed role, while Lewis Pullman has taken over as The Sentry following Steve Yeun's shock departure from the movie. Both he and Edebiri are said to have left due to scheduling issues.

Written by Eric Pearson, Lee Sung Jin, and Joanna Calo, and directed by Jake Schreier, Thunderbolts* is currently set to be released in theaters on May 2, 2025.

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Jaspion - 4/14/2024, 6:24 AM
DravenCorvis - 4/14/2024, 6:34 AM
Needless to say, but I'm guessing this is baseless speculation that'll end up in disappointment for a vocal minority - like Mephisto in WandaVision.
Apophis71 - 4/14/2024, 7:54 AM
@DravenCorvis - Probably but those going with Dark Avengers likely are not those who read any comics and just going off google searches and basing their theoretical name on an anti-Avengers one rather than a source accurate(ish) team which is still an anti-Avengers one like Masters of Evil (that made themselves out to be the new hero team to help protect the world when the Avengers were declared dead in the comics under the name of Thunderbolts).

End of the day the only character we know is in the film that was at one point part of a Dark Aveners team (under that name) is U.S.Agent and the only others in one iteration or another of the DA's who have been sort of introduced somewhere in the MCU has been Skaar in a brief end scene, Bullseye & Luke Cage in Netflix and an alternate universe Osborne who was sent back to his own Earth non of whom have even been rumored to be in the film yet.
SonOfAGif - 4/14/2024, 9:40 AM
@Apophis71 - There could be some basis to this though. The * implies a potential name change. And perhaps Marvel Studios is going with the Dark Avengers as the next team. If you look at the current MCU and all the projects, They are all team ups. Daredevil & Punisher, Deadpool & Wolverine, Fantastic 4, and others. So it seems they are pushing for micro teams to have unite for Secret Wars and The Dark Avengers to be a covert Avengers task force full of Anti-Heroes. Wouldn't surprise me if they recruit The Punisher.
Apophis71 - 4/14/2024, 9:48 AM
@SonOfAGif - Also think they will be wanting to setup villain teams, not just hero ones for secret wars, just feel with the character they have on the board and in the movie masters of Evil reveal makes a lot more sense than Dark Avengers would.
SonOfAGif - 4/14/2024, 9:52 AM
@Apophis71 - If they do Masters of Evil they definitely need Hela back.
Apophis71 - 4/14/2024, 10:03 AM
@SonOfAGif - Would love Hela back at some point, however don't recall her ever being a member of Masters of Evil, not that I am against adding characters onto teams that never have been before anyway just unaware of that connection.
bobevanz - 4/14/2024, 10:17 AM
@DravenCorvis - yeah these are just theories the writer found on Tumblr or some idiots Patreon
LSHF - 4/14/2024, 11:04 AM
@DravenCorvis - Yes, these types of clickbait articles don't help the readers.
Razorface1 - 4/14/2024, 12:52 PM
@SonOfAGif - they really dont.
SonOfAGif - 4/14/2024, 12:56 PM
@Apophis71 - To replace Loki since he's holding the Multiverse
ObserverIO - 4/14/2024, 6:39 AM
Well it's certainly not a Thunderbolts movie.
Apophis71 - 4/14/2024, 7:32 AM
@ObserverIO - Every single member of the team has been part of an iteration of a Thunderbolts team in the comics (putting aside stuff like it isn't a comic accurate Tasmaster and the like). The question is more are they are a mostly villains in disguise type of version, a sort of hero team of the suicide squad ilk, full hero team or something else.

STILL think that Zemo will turn up, likely with a Masters of Evil team of some form but we'll see, just too many Super Soldiers in it to not draw him out considering he has been fully setup as being against those.

At minimum the * suggests that maybe it isn't the real official name of the team or it at least has an AKA name, however could suggest that by the end some have switched to being part of a full on villain team (likely Bucky and Yelena surviving but not joining) and the end credit will be the name of Zemo's team (if I am in the correct ballpark) NOT Thunderbolts as would be the norm, that replaces what had been the Thunderbolt one (so in effect the film has two names instead of one).
ObserverIO - 4/14/2024, 9:06 AM
@Apophis71 - The modern version of the Thunderbolts is basically just a Marvel Suicide Squad. The original concept is all gone.

It's like if Miles Morales was never bit by a Spider, put on a costume and started fighting supervillains, but instead became murderer who leaves stuffed Tarantulas at the scene of the crime. It just wouldn't have anything to do with Stan Lee's original concept.
And the Suicide Squad-esque Thunderbolts has nothing to do with Kurt Busiek's original concept. I think Dark Avengers would be a better title to segue into.
Apophis71 - 4/14/2024, 9:23 AM
@ObserverIO - Cept it is even less like the comic Dark Avengers, any version of, than multiple versions of Thunderbolts are as all that is needed for this to turn into what folk expect the original Thunderbolts concept to be is for Zemo to turn up with a few other characters and it become Masters of Evil cos ultimately that was what the original Thunderbolts was, Masters of Evil in disguise, not a real new team at all but a pseudonym of another pre-existing team, a villainous one, that returned to that original team name.

We can nitpick about original intent and which comic iterations are true to that or not, point is all the characters have been antagonists at various points in MCU history that we know are in it, all adaptions of characters who had been at various points in time in the comics villains, and all have at one point or another been members of an iteration of Thunderbolts.

Thus starting out with, at government direction, a suicide squadesque take on Thunderbolts being formed, in the absence of an Avengers team, and at the end having Master of Evil revealed would be much the same as the original run in many ways even if the starting point differs slightly.
ObserverIO - 4/14/2024, 10:21 AM
@Apophis71 - Black Widow and The Winter Soldier aren't my idea of MCU villains though, even if they were in the comics. Even Red Guardian was always just an anti-hero (even though he mentioned Captain America in passing, he was never villainous). John Walker was antagonistyic but ultimately a hero, an anti-hero at worst. Taskmaster was a villains puppet, freed from his mind control by the end. Ghost was a villain that was redeemed by the end, etc.

None of them are really villains. Some of them are based on villains from the comics. The twist of the Masters of Evil being behind the masks was supposed to be shocking. It's the simplicity of the new heroes secretly being villains. And then they kinda become anti-heroes throughout the course of the story. Or some of them do.

This is not that. Not even if they throw Baron Zemo in there, who in the MCU is already something of an anti-hero.

It should be established MCU villains, as the heroic guises of the original Thunderbolts with Zemo thrown in for good measure. In a world without the Avengers they step up as the new superheroic team, but they're actually villains with ulterior world domination motives, but then by the end of it they're actual heroes (or anti-heroes).

That's the Thunderbolts. Again this is not that.

Just because some of these characters have been Thunderbolts in recent iterations of the comics team (that is now Thunderbolts in name only and more akin to the Suicide Squad) doesn't make this anything less than an extremely poor translation of a brilliant, truly unique and some might even say classic '90s Marvel comic.

This is a team of anti-heroes with no false heroic disguises, put together by the government. It's the Suicide Squad.
bobevanz - 4/14/2024, 10:30 AM
@ObserverIO - bingo! You get it
Apophis71 - 4/14/2024, 10:38 AM
@ObserverIO - Cept WAY harder to pull of what the comics did directly in an adaption but at points all of them were film or show antagonists regardless of how you precisely label them other than maybe Red Guardian but even he was an enemy agent who was revealed to have had a history fighting on the other side to America (even fighting A Captain America supposedly even if that doesn't realy match up timeline wise).

We can twist it whatever way we want but there has been over a dozen versions of Thunderbolts in the comics and if the film reveals Masters of Evil and some of them join that then much the same basic idea even if obvious differences.

There is no way in a 2hr film you could do exactly what the first story arc in the comics of Thunderbolts did in a live action adaption anyway however but when has the MCU ever lifted things directly, they take aspects from multiple iterations and stories not direct adaptions.

Just because some may with good reason be fixated on ONLY the first version not all the others doesn't negate anything they could do and that all these characters have been members of Thunderbolt teams.
Apophis71 - 4/14/2024, 10:43 AM
@ObserverIO - Also need to keep in mind if they DID do an exact copy of the original story a bunch of the members of Zemo's team would all want to be real hero's by the end and some would go straight back to villains so...

...anyway, it will be what it will be.
ObserverIO - 4/14/2024, 10:56 AM
@Apophis71 - "There is no way in a 2hr film you could do exactly what the first story arc in the comics of Thunderbolts did in a live action adaption anyway however but when has the MCU ever lifted things directly, they take aspects from multiple iterations and stories not direct adaptions."

Of course you could make a 2hr film out of that story. Just like the MCU made films from the story of the origins of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Doctor Strange, etc.
Apophis71 - 4/14/2024, 11:48 AM
@ObserverIO - You would need to have fully established the Masters of Evil first before the film doing a direct adaption of the Thunderbolts story, they would then have to go on multiple missions to slowly gain the trust and respect, then you would need the presumed dead Avengers to return and the reason why Zemo did all of that (to gain access to SHIELD records) would need to be changed...

Having a handfull of hero origins who then come together as a team, fairly easy to do.

Fully creating a list of multiple well established villains across dozens of stories, then forming a team of villains, then pretending to actualy be a team of heroes and gaining the trust doing full hero stuff on several missions, then revealing they are the villan team, but some grew to like being heroes and/or thought they were supposed to be reforming to be heroes not just pretending for villanious reasons etc etc...

Not as easy, impossible in 2hrs and probably wouldn't attract the GA as would need WAY too much homework or to be a super nerd like us and they wouldn't have a clue who almost anyone was (least all the ones they picked have been in the prior films and/or shows) and less likely to be led to believe they were watching a hero team that turned out not to be a hero team. It is a push for the GA as it is using the known characters they have to be interested, all unknowns bar Zemo no chance.

...can't do all that in a 2hr film, would need to all basicaly be unknown characters OR do a loose adaption where they have been previously used antagonists are in the shades of grey area and could go full villain OR full hero. However your kinda overlooking the point that Thunderbolts was only EVER a name only thing as they were not Thunderbolts with that first team they were Master of Evil with a fake name.

What works in comics after decades laying the path, takes place over dozens of comics then has decades of the aftermath cannot always be directly translated.
ObserverIO - 4/14/2024, 12:27 PM
@Apophis71 - The best thing to do would be to set them up from Phase 1, but since they didn't they could still adapt the story of the Thunderbolts using different villains. MCU villains.

So Abomination, Justin Hammer, Ultron, Mordo, Vulture, Bullseye, Wanda, Xu Xialing, Namor, throw some Zemo in there as Citizen V. Have them all take on the identities of the original Thunderbolts team. Tell the same story but with the MCU equivalent of the Masters of Evil.
Apophis71 - 4/14/2024, 12:54 PM
@ObserverIO - Which is sorta what they are doing by using characters who were villains at one point or another cos Hammer, Mordo and Xu Xialing were less villains than any of these we are getting have been, Bullseye hasn't even been in the MCU properly yet, Wanda to be dead, Namor isn't going to be working for any humans yet and Ultron too OP to be under Zemo...

...however the whole fakeout of making them look like Avengers then reveal doesn't work for adaption anywhere near as well as it did in the comics cos spoilers ruin it so all or nothing for OW and STILL need to make HUGE shortcuts and changes so wouldn't come close to being the same story anyway.

At least with the way they are going, picking all the ones in the shades of grey area, it is less predictable who could go full villain by the end, who could go hero as no time to do what they did in the comics to sell full villains ending up staying as a hero team...

...but then after that there was multiple other times in differing ways when the team was again full villains including the first time Yelena was supposed to be on it but then revealed to be Nat disguised as Yelena to infiltrate them they can pull from if wanting it be villains in disguise storyline. As I say twelve versions of a small team plus the Thunderbolts army iteration they can pull aspects from. Till we know precisely how it will all play out wrong for any of us to assume they are going with a full hero one or a suicided squad type iteration as we don't even know with certainty if the person in charge is a good guy or villain yet.
jonathanstrange - 4/14/2024, 6:39 AM
I think they will be introduced by the government as the new avengers, with David Harbour in a "Iron Man" suit, a Black Widow, a Wasp, a "Captain America..." I think they will turn to be Thunderbolts after something goes wrong. That's why the Winter Soldier is not in the movie... he's not an avenger.
CerealKiller1 - 4/14/2024, 7:55 AM
@jonathanstrange - But Bucky IS in the movie. He’s been in it from the beginning..?
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