The MCU Is Already Introducing A Thunderbolts Replacement Team In Wild Marvel Theory

  • Theories suggest that Thunderbolts* will end with the whole team dying, which would open spots for new anti-heroes in future movies.
  • Instead of the Dark Avengers, the MCU's Thunderbolts could be replaced by Thaddeus Ross' version of the red-themed Thunderbolts from the comics: Deadpool, the Punisher, Elektra, Venom, the Leader, and Ghost Rider.
  • Coincidentally or not, Deadpool, the Punisher, the Leader, and Red Hulk are starring in Phase 5 projects, while Venom, Elektra, and Ghost Rider are likely to appear sooner rather than later.
The MCU's first Thunderbolts* team could be replaced by a new squad of anti-heroes, as suggested by a tragic Marvel fan theory. In Marvel Comics, Baron Helmut Zemo transformed his Masters of Evil into the Thunderbolts to fill in the void left by the Avengers and get fame out of it. After Zemo's teammates changed their minds and started acting as genuine superheroes, Marvel Comics' Thunderbolts team went through many changes. Dozens of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains have joined and left the team throughout the years, and the team's goals have evolved, jumping back and forth between heroism and villainy.
In Phase 5, the MCU's Thunderbolts* movie presents a very different version of the team. Seemingly created by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, the Thunderbolts seem to work as black ops mercenaries who exchange their services for redemption. Every member of the Thunderbolts* team has previously committed serious crimes, and Val will likely use their guilt as leverage to keep them under her thumb. However, the Thunderbolts' initial mission may not be the first of many, as Val may have her own secret plans for the team.
Thunderbolts* Asterisk Theory Suggests The First Team Doesn’t Make It The Mysterious Asterisk In The Thunderbolts* Title Might Have A Tragic Meaning The MCU's Thunderbolts are physically quite vulnerable. Bucky Barnes, Yelena Belova, John Walker, Alexei Shostakov, Ava Starr, and Antonia Dreykov are great hand-to-hand fighters, each with their own special skills and weapons. Yet, none of the Thunderbolts surpass the power level of Avengers like Captain America or Spider-Man. Apart from their shady background, Valentina Allegra de Fontaine may have chosen this Thunderbolts line-up because she considers them to be expendable — they can get the job done and get eliminated afterward without much public backlash.
Ahead of the movie's 2025 release, theories about the asterisk in the Thunderbolts* title vary. Some of them interpret it as a hint at the movie's ending, where every member of the team dies. Since Val may still want a team that can help her gain power and influence, the Thunderbolts may just be the first step towards the Dark Avengers, where every member is a villainous parallel of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. However, there's a similar scenario with a different team, and it seems like Marvel is introducing the perfect characters for it precisely at the same time as the Thunderbolts' MCU debut.
Ross’ Red Thunderbolts Are Taking The Spotlight In The MCU Marvel's Most Lethal Thunderbolts Team Is Taking Shape In Phase 5 Close In the comics, General Ross assembled a team to kill the mutant Domino, whose knowledge of Ross' Red Hulk persona represented a huge threat to his reputation. Thus was born "Code Red", a villainous team composed by Deadpool, the Punisher, Elektra, Crimson Dynamo, and Thundra. A few years later, Ross decided to assemble a team of deadly assassins who could help him eliminate the targets he can't neutralize on his own. Ross brought Code Red back together and renamed the team the "Thunderbolts", replacing Crimson Dynamo and Thundra with Agent Venom and eventually Ghost Rider.
Three key members of Ross' Thunderbolts team are getting big roles in Phase 5 projects
Just as Ross becomes Red Hulk in Captain America: Brave New World, three key members of Ross' Thunderbolts team are getting big roles in Phase 5 projects. Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool is joining the MCU in Deadpool & Wolverine, Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle a.k.a. the Punisher is being incorporated into the proper MCU in Daredevil: Born Again, and Tim Blake Nelson is returning 17 years after The Incredible Hulk to portray Samuel Sterns' transformation into the Leader, who briefly joins Ross' Thunderbolts before getting into a deadly feud with the Punisher and getting sent straight to hell by Mephisto.
Where The Rest Of Ross’ Red Thunderbolts Can Be Introduced Three Other Members Of Ross' Thunderbolts Team And One Of Their Enemies Are Likely To Join The MCU Soon Close With Red Hulk, the Punisher, Deadpool, and the Leader getting big roles in the MCU's Phase 5, only three other members of Thaddeus Ross' Thunderbolts team are left to make their official MCU debut. Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock is getting his last movie in Sony's Spider-Man Universe with Venom: The Last Dance. However, the symbiote could continue his own journey in the MCU after Spider-Man: No Way Home's post-credits tease, which could be paid off not only with Tom Holland's Spider-Man bonding to the symbiote, but also with other, more villainous characters becoming the MCU's Venom.
Related A Deadpool & Spider-Man MCU Crossover Can Continue No Way Home's Post-Credits Scene In The Best Way Possible Deadpool and Spider-Man"s MCU crossover can come sooner than expected, with Venom"s symbiote offspring adapting a classic Marvel Comics storyline.
Elektra isn't confirmed to appear in Daredevil: Born Again, but a brief cameo or a supporting role in Daredevil or the Punisher's next MCU appearances would confirm her existence in the MCU. And while Ghost Rider doesn't have any MCU project in the works, Ryan Gosling's interest in the character could motivate Marvel to develop a Ghost Rider project sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the Thunderbolts' temporary ally Mephisto has been rumored to appear in Ironheart, but even if he doesn't, the devilish villain could appear alongside the Spirit of Vengeance in a Ghost Rider movie or show as well.
What A Thunderbolts* Sequel Could Be About President Ross' Lifelong Motivations Can Materialize In The Form Of A Powerful Villain Team Custom Image by Nicolas Ayala If theories about Thunderbolts*' tragic ending are accurate and the first version of the team does get eliminated, President Ross could see Val's Thunderbolts project as an ideal opportunity to appease his lifelong thirst for power. After failing to replicate Bruce Banner's Gamma experiment on his own brand of super soldiers, after Emil Blonsky both defected and wasted his immense power, after failing to control superheroes through the Sokovia Accords, and after possibly failing to control superheroes as President of the United States, a Hulked-out Thaddeus Ross could try to hunt down superheroes and vigilantes alongside other villains.
In the comics, Red Hulk accepts Captain America's invitation to join the Avengers for a brief period.
With just the right amount of money or power, Ross could hire Val to work as a casting agent of sorts for his own villain team. This time, the powered-up Ross would set his sights on the most dangerous criminals and anti-heroes willing to work for him. Depending on President Ross' arc in Captain America: Brave New World, a Thunderbolts* sequel could follow the new team as they secretly do the dirty work for President Ross, or they could help Ross exact revenge on the superheroes who ruined his political career.
Thunderbolts (2025)
Director Jake Schreier Writers Lee Sung Jin Cast Sebastian Stan , Wyatt Russell , Julia Louis-Dreyfus , Tim Roth , Daniel Brühl , Florence Pugh , David Harbour , Olga Kurylenko , Harrison Ford Release Date May 2, 2025 pcoming Marvel Movies
Release Date
Deadpool & Wolverine
July 26, 2024
Captain America: Brave New World
February 14, 2025
May 2, 2025
The Fantastic Four
July 25, 2025
November 7, 2025
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
May 1, 2026
Avengers: Secret Wars
May 7, 2027


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