The primary part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had a easy mission: construct as much as the creation of the Avengers. The subsequent two phases went additional by setting the stage for Thanos and his quest for the Infinity Stones, culminating in one of many greatest films of all time in Avengers: Endgame. Whereas MCU Part 4 is a mixture of Disney+ TV exhibits and theatrical film releases, there hasn’t been a longtime narrative purpose simply but. So what are they constructing in direction of?
One perception is that we’re getting an MCU incarnation of the Thunderbolts or its sister workforce, the Darkish Avengers.
The Thunderbolts first confirmed up in 1997, created by Kurt Busiek. Within the aftermath of the Onslaught occasion, the Implausible 4 and Avengers had been seemingly vaporized. Not solely had been these two main groups gone, however they had been the superheroes individuals trusted essentially the most. What remained was the likes of Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Hulk. Not precisely media sweethearts.
To fill this heroic void, Baron Zemo got here up with a scheme the place he took members of the Masters of Evil, dressed them up with faux superhero identities, and had them acquire the general public’s belief in hopes that it will result in world domination. Regardless of being a ruse, sure members of the Thunderbolts got here to appreciate they wished to actually be heroes and opposed Zemo. Hawkeye finally took over the workforce and so they turned a bunch of outlaw heroes combating for redemption. A reformed Zemo quickly took the reins once more, as soon as once more attempting to take over the world…however this time for the great of all humanity.
The Thunderbolts then turned a government-run workforce and acted as Marvel’s counterpart to DC’s Suicide Squad. New chief Norman Osborn politicked his method into operating the Avengers, the place he copied Zemo’s outdated concept of dressing up villains as heroes. And so, the Darkish Avengers had been born, that includes such members as Bullseye pretending to be Hawkeye and Venom pretending to be Spider-Man. Not like the Thunderbolts, the Darkish Avengers had been an instance of failed redemption on all fronts and the workforce crumbled. As soon as Osborn was ousted, Luke Cage took over and the group turned far much less corrupt.
The Thunderbolts workforce has been reborn repeatedly. It’s been seen as a power of fine, a power of evil pretending to be good, and a power of evil taking down worse threats. And now it appears to be like to be coming to the MCU.
Let’s take a look at who will likely be and who could possibly be main gamers to this plot down the road:
Valentina Allegra de Fontaine
Within the comics, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine was a triple agent who continually both labored for SHIELD or towards it whereas being an on-again/off-again love curiosity of Nick Fury. So she’s excellent for no matter they’re doing along with her as she performs up a extra curious model of Fury’s iconic go to to Tony Stark’s mansion from the Iron Man post-credits.
We don’t know who Valentina works for and the way excessive up the ladder she is, however she does look like organising one thing. No matter her Thunderbolts-like workforce known as, we’re left questioning why they’ll exist and what number of films and TV exhibits will now we have to take a seat by way of earlier than we lastly get a solution.
John Walker’s function in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was one of many extra fascinating components of the present, even when they didn’t fairly land the ending. The US authorities’s try at a brand new Captain America meant nicely, however he was solely the appropriate particular person for the job on paper. Too haunted by his army exploits, too annoyed by not getting the respect he wished, and feeling insufficient because of not being an excellent soldier, Walker injected himself with a black market serum that gave him the bodily enhance he wanted. It additionally helped drive him over the sting when Walker’s finest good friend and associate Battlestar died throughout a mission and he bought a bit too violent while in public.
Disgraced and discharged from his place, Walker was visited by Valentina, who gave him a brand new lease on life as US Agent. Valentina’s individuals understand that somebody with Walker’s skills shouldn’t be discarded so simply. Take away the concept he’s tarnishing a legacy and somebody like him could possibly be very, very helpful.
Within the comics, a wheelchair-bound Walker acted as a warden on the Raft, Marvel’s supervillain jail and, for a time, the headquarters for the Thunderbolts. He did lead the workforce very, very briefly when it was retitled Darkish Avengers, however the sequence was cancelled instantly after and it was quietly forgotten about. Nonetheless, the journey did enable him to regrow his lacking limbs!
For the MCU, this does recommend that this workforce received’t be a publicly-celebrated unit. You need to use US Agent to kick ass all you need, however I doubt Valentina desires a media highlight on him in any method.
As shown in the post-credits for Black Widow, Yelena Belova has been working for Valentina for at the least a short time. She’s a paid murderer and she or he’s going to be going after Hawkeye within the close to future on his upcoming Disney+ sequence. Very similar to US Agent, she’s a darker alternative of an Avenger who has been taken off the board. Possibly not as simply manipulated as Walker will doubtless be, although.
The Yelena model of Black Widow was a member of the Thunderbolts within the comics…kind of. It will definitely turned out that it was actually Natasha disguising herself as Yelena for the sake of doing undercover work towards Norman Osborn. Properly, I believe we will agree that they received’t be doing that twist any time quickly.
“Now we have a Hulk.”
In the event that they’re constructing a roster stuffed with Avengers knockoffs, it appears reasonably suspicious that Emil Blonsky is immediately changing into related once more. Not solely is he alleged to be coming again for the She-Hulk present, however he has a cameo in the Shang-Chi trailer the place he’s taking up Wong in an underground cage combat.
Abomination is somebody that the federal government wished on the Avengers from the very starting, even regardless of the harm he prompted in Harlem. He’s not in jail and the occasions of She-Hulk might find yourself working in his favor legally. The cage combating might recommend that he’s a bit aimless, however for a soldier who loves nothing greater than to combat, Valentina’s workforce is perhaps the proper place for him.
By way of the comics, Abomination by no means had something to do with the Thunderbolts. Although now that I give it some thought, the Thunderbolts sequence did a one level give attention to super-powered people participating in underground combat golf equipment. Hm…
Varied Thunderbolts Leaders
As talked about, there have been quite a lot of totally different variations of the Thunderbolts and the workforce has had a handful of various leaders to push the main focus in numerous instructions. 4 of these leaders occur to have latest roles within the MCU: Baron Zemo, Hawkeye, the Winter Soldier, and Basic Ross. It’s additionally very doable that the workforce is known as after the latter contemplating his nickname is “Thunderbolt Ross.”
Luke Cage and Wilson Fisk are additionally notable Thunderbolts leaders, however the wonky relationship with the Netflix exhibits makes them unlikely to become involved.
Hawkeye and Bucky might simply take over the operation and add slightly purity to the state of affairs. But when Baron Zemo will get concerned? Man, that could possibly be unpredictable and fascinating.
With Norman Osborn accountable for issues, Ghost was thrown into the Thunderbolts and have become a serious recurring member. Contemplating he was blatantly written as being Marvel’s Rorschach, it wasn’t he greatest deal when the MCU gender-swapped him and gave him a unique persona. The model from Ant-Man and the Wasp continues to be fairly nihilistic on the subject of authority.
Ghost has been an enormous query mark for the reason that mid-credits scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp. The heroes had been attempting to mine the quantum supplies that might normalize Ghost and heal her, just for Thanos’ snap to kick in. We don’t even know if Ghost went away as a result of snap, nevertheless it’s doable that she was deserted by those that stated they’d assist her and that might push her in a really harmful place.
Contemplating her previous as a SHIELD weapon, she’d make for an fascinating member of the group.
Taskmaster is lots like Ghost. Not simply in that she’s a gender-swapped model of the comedian unique with a different personality, history, and mission however in the identical character arc of going from villain to somebody with a brand new lease on life and alternative to be extra. Taskmaster was last seen being rescued by a military of liberated Black Widows. Together with her personal future to determine, she’s mainly in the identical boat as Yelena, so it’s totally plausible that she too is perhaps working for Valentina.
Additionally, Taskmaster solely only recently joined the Thunderbolts within the comics. That could possibly be an intentional try at synergy. Marvel’s been pulling that sort of factor for years.
White Imaginative and prescient
WandaVision ended with the complicated destiny of Imaginative and prescient’s reanimated physique. SWORD was capable of awaken Imaginative and prescient, now with out his recollections, persona, or colour scheme. White Imaginative and prescient fought a magical assemble of his unique self (AKA “WandaVision”) and allowed his recollections to be reinstated. After that, he peaced out and flew off to components unknown.
Scarlet Witch is supposed to be a serious participant in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, however I’m not anticipating White Imaginative and prescient to be part of that. It will make sense for White Imaginative and prescient to pop up as a part of a bunch of grim doppelgangers. Even when he’s only a darkish doppelganger of himself. I think about the man wants one thing constructive to do whereas holding a low profile.
Talking of Doctor Strange…
Bear in mind when Mordo turned so disillusioned with the Historical One which he crippled a person for the sake of creating a degree about how a lot sorcerers suck? Then he was all, “Haha, I’m going to do away with all magic customers!” Yeah, that was about 10 years in the past in line with the MCU’s chronology. Good hustle, man.
The entire Multiverse of Insanity factor makes me marvel how a lot of a job Mordo should play in it. And that’s positive as a result of you understand what? I guess Valentina would like to have somebody like Mordo on her roster. Not solely would she have a Dr. Unusual counterpart, however eliminating all magic on Earth looks like the sort of factor a shadowy operative may get behind.
The Spider-Man/Sony deal mucks this up, particularly in the event that they’re pushing for some sort of Sinister Six state of affairs, however since Spider-Man: Homecoming, I’ve at all times thought Vulture could be an ideal member of the MCU Thunderbolts.
See, the factor about Vulture is that the Michael Keaton model is completely nothing just like the Mr. Burns lookalike comedian model outdoors of combating Spider-Man and being able to fly. The truth is, MCU Vulture has much more in widespread with Abner Jenkins. Jenkins began off as blue collar working man who later used his engineering genius to turn out to be a Spider-Man supervillain because the Beetle.
As a founding Thunderbolts member, Jenkins turned MACH-I (renaming himself after many armor updates) and was one of many first to appreciate that perhaps he was higher off being man. He even led the workforce for slightly bit. Contemplating how sympathetic and likeable MCU Vulture has been, some sort of Thunderbolts/Darkish Avengers state of affairs might assist redeem him down the road.
These But to be Launched
Similar to MACH, there are particular key members of the comics Thunderbolts who’ve but to point out up within the MCU. Maybe we’ll see them quickly sufficient. As an illustration, there may be hypothesis that Moonstone will in all probability be a villain within the Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels. Not solely does she have related powers because the heroine, however she additionally posed as her in Darkish Avengers.
The Fixer/Techno is one other huge one because the workforce’s resident tech man and constant Zemo henchman. Atlas, who has size-changing powers, is definitely somebody who can present up within the subsequent Ant-Man film. Jolt is…truly, we actually don’t want Jolt.
The largest identify to not present up is Songbird. Previously the villain Screaming Mimi, Melissa Gold is virtually the guts and soul of the Thunderbolts. She’s the one who got here out of it higher than anybody to the purpose that she was even an Avenger for a short time. If you wish to put collectively a cynical Avengers knockoff and have somebody flip it into one thing optimistic, Songbird is the one it’s worthwhile to throw in.