Thunderbolts lineup is now official. At Disney’s D23 Expo 2022, Marvel Studios announced the lead cast of Thunderbolts, the upcoming Marvel movie that is set to close out Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thunderbolts will star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Wyatt Russell as John Walker / US Agent, Olga Kurylenko as Antonia Dreykov / Taskmaster, Hannah John-Kamen as Ava Starr / Ghost, and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier. As you can tell, Thunderbolts is bringing together a bunch of anti-hero and villain characters, who are now working in one way or another for Louis-Dreyfus’ contessa, who we know has been assembling a team.
Marvel Studios also unveiled concept art for the Thunderbolts cast at D23 Expo, though that has yet to be released in high-resolution glory on any of Marvel’s official social media channels. In it, Yelena is front and centre, with her father-figure Alexei and the Winter Soldier flanking her, who in turn are flanked by Ghost and US Agent, with Valentina and Taskmaster at the very end. This is admittedly a very odd group — while some of them share a past or have previously encountered some of the others, a few have no relation. It’s going to be interesting to see how Thunderbolts brings together this motley crew, in what sounds like Marvel’s attempt to make its own Suicide Squad.
Here’s a quick refresher for those who need it (including yours truly). Valentina was introduced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, where she made John Walker her first recruit and gave him the US Agent moniker. Yelena, introduced in Black Widow, would’ve been her first recruit were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic as the film was delayed. Yelena met Valentina in the Black Widow post-credits scene. Red Guardian and Taskmaster were part of Black Widow too, with the latter ending the film free of the brainwashing done to her. Ghost was the villain in Ant-Man and the Wasp, though she was really more of a tragic character. Winter Soldier needs no introduction.
Before we get to see Thunderbolts though, the MCU will treat us to Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in November — the last entry in Phase Four. MCU’s Phase Five will kick off with the Paul Rudd-led Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in February 2023, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in May 2023, The Marvels with Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel in July 2023, the Mahershala Ali-led Blade in November 2023, and the Anthony Mackie-led Captain America: New World Order in May 2024. Thunderbolts will be followed by Matt Shakman’s Fantastic Four in November 2024, the two new Avengers films The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars in May and November 2025, respectively.
Thunderbolts is out July 26, 2024 in cinemas worldwide. Filming begins sometime in 2023.