The lineup for the anti-hero superhero team film Thunderbolts has been announced by Marvel Studios during their presentation at the D23 Disney fan convention today. Since the project was first announced over the summer at San Diego Comic Con, fan speculation has been rife as to who will land a spot on the team. But now we know that the group will consist of the following –
- Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Black Widow Natasha Romanov’s adopted sister who was introduced in the Black Widow film. She was last scene in the Disney+ series Hawkeye.
- Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), aka the Winter Soldier. He started off as Steve “Captain America” Rogers’ best friend in the 1930s and `40s before apparently dying on a mission alongside Rogers during World War 2. It was later revealed that he was actually captured by the Russians who experimented on him and turned him into an assassin that they kept in suspended animation until needed. In modern times, Steve was able to see to it that Bucky’s conditioning at the hands of the Soviets was broken, allowing him to try and lead a life on his own.
- Red Guardian (David Harbour). A Soviet agent who was given a moderate amount of super strength in an attempt by the USSR to replicate the Super Soldier serum that created Captain America. He was a deep cover agent in the United States for several years in the 1990s, raising Natasha and Yelena as his daughters.
- US Agent (Wyatt Russell). The man originally assigned by the US government to take up Captain America’s shield following Cap’s “disappearance” after Avengers: End Game. However, he was psychologically unsuited for the job and was not only stripped of the shield but court-martialed out of the military. (All of this happened in the The Falcon And The Winter Soldier series on Disney+.)
- Ghost, aka Ava Starr (Hannah John Kamen). Left molecularly unstable due to an accident that killed her parents, Starr crossed paths with Scott Lang, aka the Ant-Man in an attempt to cure her condition.
- Taskmaster, aka Antonia Dreykov (Olga Kurylenko). Daughter of USSR General Dreykov who ran the Russian Red Room program that created the Black Widow assassins, Antonia has photographic reflexes that allow her to mimic opponents’ fighting styles.
- Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis Dreyfus). A mysterious woman who has been seen recruiting both US Agent and Yelena Belova for a mysterious organization. Presumably, the film will give us more insight to whom she and presumably the Thunderbolts are working for.
In the original comic series, the Thunderbolts were a group of supervillains masquerading as a new superhero team, stepping up to fill in the vacuum left after a number of prominent heroes had disappeared. After a few guest appearances in other titles, they debuted in their own book, where their true intentions and identities were revealed on the lastpage of the first issue. But despite their villainous origins, most of the members of the Thunderbolts discovered that they actually liked being good guys, and so they strived to be better people and heroes.
Thunderbolts is set to be the final film of Marvel’s Phase 5 cycle of films and will hit theaters on July 26, 2024.