We love a good redemption story. Seeing good characters go bad is always fun, but we love to see bad characters turn things around. In comic books especially, where new stories have to be told every month and it is impossible to constantly invent new characters, good guys go bad and bad guys go good all the time.
Enter Marvel's THUNDERBOLTS. In comics, the antihero team was originally introduced in the late 1990s. It has gone through various permutations ever since. Sometimes the Thunderbolts are villains using heroic cover for their own ends; sometimes they're simply assassins; sometimes they are bad guys who accept dangerous missions as a push toward redemption.
On the big screen, THUNDERBOLTS will be the first movie of the Phase Six storyline, with a 2025 release date. While there's no footage to see yet, we know a few things regardless — and can make more guesses. Here’s everything we know about Marvel's THUNDERBOLTS.
What's the Thunderbolts Release Date?
THUNDERBOLTS is about to go into production now, and it will be released exclusively in movie theatres on May 2, 2025. (The movie was previously set for a July 2025 release date, but it swapped places with THE FANTASTIC FOUR.)
Is There a Thunderbolts Trailer?
That's funny! No, there's no trailer. It will probably be a while. At best we might see something at Comic-Con or a Disney event later in 2024. We have to be patient here.
What Characters Will Be in The Thunderbolts?
When this movie was formally announced, we made a few guesses about the team: Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), John Walker (Wyatt Russell), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), and Ghost (Hannah-John Kamen), with Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as the team's organizer. Turns out that we were pretty close! All those characters are in the lineup.
The official lineup for Marvel's THUNDERBOLTS is as follows:
Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier
Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova/Black Widow II
David Harbour as Red Guardian
Wyatt Russell as John Walker/USAgent
Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost
Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster
and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as Contessa
This all makes a lot of sense. Several have been Thunderbolts in comics, and all are strong characters who have a lot of room to grow in the MCU. Winter Soldier is a bit of a surprise, so we're eager to see what drives him towards the team.
Additionally, Harrison Ford will appear as President Thaddeus Ross, the character he takes over beginning with CAPTAIN AMERICA: BRAVE NEW WORLD. Lewis Pullman plays a role that might be Marvel's very powerful Sentry, a Superman-type character, and Geraldine Viswanathan has taken over the role first set to be played by Ayo Edebiri of "The Bear.”
What's the Plot of Marvel's Thunderbolts?
Right now, we know basically nothing about the story and plot in THUNDERBOLTS. Delays in filming due to the Hollywood strikes of 2023 mean that several Marvel movies bounced around the release calendar, so we can't even make any assumptions based on the movie's place in Marvel's overall story arc.
A Sort-Of Sequel to Black Widow
That said, if you looked at the THUNDERBOLTS roster and thought of BLACK WIDOW, well, you're not off-base. Andy Park, who works as Marvel Studios' Director of Visual Development and created the concept art for the team lineup seen above, shared a cover he created for the "Art of Black Widow" book. In the caption, he also said, "Taskmaster, the Red Guardian, Yelena AND Valentina Allegra de Fontaine will be returning in the upcoming THUNDERBOLTS film. It’s like these movies are connected or something! ;)"
And prior to editing the caption he explicitly referenced THUNDERBOLTS as a BLACK WIDOW sequel. So that helps set up the path to this movie in a pretty direct way.
Read about the other Marvel movies coming soon:
All images courtesy of Marvel Studios.