Who are the MCU Thunderbolts? Team Members, Origin and Comic Book History Explained
Marvel Studios would be working on a Love at first sight project; here’s everything you need to know about this comic book team and their potential MCU members. In May 2018, then Disney CEO Bob Iger teased that Marvel was working on a major franchise beyond the Avengers. “We have prepared Marvel movies that will lead us well into the next decade,“he revealed.”I guess we’ll have a go at what I’ll call a new franchise beyond the Avengers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see other Avengers on the road.“Naturally, this led to intense speculation about what this franchise would be – and recent reports may have given a major clue.
There are now reports that Marvel will begin production on a Love at first sight film in 2023. In the comics, it’s a team traditionally made up of big bad guys – some of whom seek to redeem themselves by reinventing themselves as heroes, while others have their own goals. The news comes as no real surprise as recent Marvel films have featured villainous members of the Thunderbolts, and the studio has stopped killing villains. One of the main objectives of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier seemed to be reinventing Baron Zemo to make him a bit more specific in the comics; in the comics, he’s the founder of the Thunderbolts and, in general, their leader.
Comic book readers will be familiar with the Thunderbolts, but the general public will likely know a lot less. Given that it is, here’s a full primer on the Thunderbolts, including where the Thunderbolts come from, their members, and what to expect from them in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Origin and History of Marvel’s Thunderbolts Team Explained
Modern readers may find it hard to believe it, but by 1996 the X-Men were Marvel’s biggest franchise and sales of the Avengers and Fantastic Four books had been struggling for years. Marvel had the bold idea of relaunching these particular franchises, using the X-Men “Onslaught” crossover to remove most of their non-mutant heroes from the main continuity and reboot them in a new universe, abandoning decades of continuity. that they felt new readers were overwhelming. This left the main Marvel Universe without many of its greatest champions – and then Marvel began teasing a replacement for the Avengers, a team that would come out of the shadows to defend the world in the absence of the mightiest heroes in the world. Earth. Marvel gave the Thunderbolts a strong marketing boost, but the first issue ended with a shocking twist; it turned out that the thunderbolts were nothing but a crook. Every member of the team was a villain operating under a false identity. It was a shocking twist, not even mentioned in marketing for Love at first sight, and readers were amazed. The Thunderbolts’ origin story was nothing like what they expected.
There have been many iterations of the Thunderbolts since 1996, but they’ve always been made up of villains or characters with a pretty shady sense of morality. Some members of Thunderbolts have always been unrepentant, simply using the team for their own purposes; Spider-Man’s classic nemesis Green Goblin led the Thunderbolts at one point and was ultimately able to orchestrate his rise to the leadership of SHIELD from the back of the role, ushering in the so-called “Dark Reign” era. But other Thunderbolts found themselves redeemed in the public eye and came to love being heroes. The best example of the latter is Songbird; originally a Z-List villain called Screaming Mimi, a sound manipulator who has now served alongside the Avengers as an accepted superhero. The Thunderbolts are often compared to DC’s Suicide Squad in that the U.S. government has gradually come to like the project instead, and several recent iterations of the team have been assembled as a covert ops team.
The story of Thunderbolts in Marvel Comics
The central theme of this team has always been redemption, since the inception of the Thunderbolts. All of the best Thunderbolts stories see the team grapple with the question of redemption, with some choosing to put their criminal – and sometimes downright evil – past behind them even as others cling to their own Machiavellian plans. This means that the Thunderbolts are a pretty unique group in that they often end up turning on each other. This has been true from the start when Baron Zemo began to realize that his plan backfired and attempted to blackmail several members of the Thunderbolts by threatening to reveal their true identities to the world. Things were complicated when the Avengers and Fantastic Four returned, and it didn’t take long for real heroes to figure out the Thunderbolts scam. In a delightful twist, Hawkeye – a former villain himself – decided to step away from the Avengers and lead the Thunderbolts in a bid to reform their members.
The Thunderbolts were reinvented by the US government due to the Superhuman Registration Act, becoming a program that required captured villains to help control the superhuman community. Baron Zemo initially led this version of the team, but he still had his own agenda and it was soon exposed. Norman Osborn was placed in charge of the Thunderbolts, and under his leadership the team impressed the government. Osborn played a key role in Skrull’s “Secret Invasion” and he was able to rise to a position of authority where he took charge of SHIELD himself. There have since been other versions of the team, one led by Luke Cage and the other by Red Hulk, both aimed at redeeming the Villains. The last Thunderbolts team was formed by the Kingpin, currently New York City mayor in the comics.
Thunderbolts members already in the MCU
Marvel Studios has previously featured several Thunderbolts members in the MCU, including Baron Zemo, who played a key role in Captain America: Civil War but has been reinterpreted to become much more precise in the comics The Falcon and the Winter Soldier; Zemo even now wears his iconic purple mask. The MCU version of Ghost made its MCU debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp, although much nicer than his comic book inspiration; the MCU’s ghost had gained powers after being exposed to the energy of the Quantum Realm, and she had been made unstable on a quantum level, forcing her to go to great lengths in order to find a way to heal. And Black Widow featured a third key member of several Thunderbolts teams, Taskmaster, again given a much more sympathetic origin story because she was the victim of abuse that had been turned into an assassin by her father.
Several major Marvel heroes have been members of the Thunderbolts, including Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier, both of whom have led Thunderbolt teams on occasion. The US Agent has also been in the Thunderbolts on occasion, and even Yelena Belova’s Black Widow is associated with them – although it turns out that she was actually replaced by Natasha Romanoff herself, who had used this identity to infiltrate the Thunderbolts and keep an eye on Norman Osborn.
Everything we know about the MCU’s Thunderbolts movie
Little is known about the MCU’s Thunderbolts at this time; initial reports simply suggested that the Love at first sight the film will begin production in 2023, so Marvel is probably far from confirming anything. Still, given their membership in the comics, it looks like the studio has already started preparing for them, with Baron Zemo in particular having changed to presumably play a major role. But it’s possible that the MCU’s Thunderbolts are already coming together as the two The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Widow featured a shady government agent recruiting agents – specifically Yelena Belova and the US Agent, the two characters linked to the Thunderbolts in the comics. Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is a complex comic book figure in her own right, a former lover of Nick Fury who was secretly a high-ranking Hydra agent, so she would be perfectly suited to be responsible for the origin of the MCU Thunderbolts. . Black WidowThe post-credits scene ended with the Contessa asking Yelena Belova to target Hawkeye, so if she is indeed involved in Love at first sight, there may be more clues in Hawk Eye.
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