Who are the Thunderbolts? Exploring origins amidst project announcement for MCU

The Thunderbolts have been set up in the MCU for a good while now (Image via Marvel Comics)
The Thunderbolts have been set up in the MCU for a good while now (Image via Marvel Comics)

The Thunderbolts are finally making their way to the MCU, as a new report detailing it has been dished out. Jake Schreier is set to direct the film, with Black Widow writer Eric Pearson in charge of the script.

Not much is known about the plot, aside from the fact that crucial franchise players will already be a part of it.

The Thunderbolts have been set up in the MCU for a while now. The supervillain group has had one-too-many teases, and it looks like Marvel and Kevin Feige are finally ready to pay them off.

But who is a part of this group, and who can we expect to be in this film? Let's find out.

Exploring origins of Thunderbolts amidst MCU project announcement

Now, there are two versions of the Thunderbolts. One was formed by Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, aka the Red Hulk, while Baron Zemo created the other.

If anything, we can expect the MCU to merge these two sides as both characters have been a massive part of it.

The group from the comics (Image via Marvel Comics)
The group from the comics (Image via Marvel Comics)

Red Hulk's group was created by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon and was featured first in a comic series of the same name back in December 2012. The group featured characters like Agent Venom, Deadpool, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Mercy, Punisher, and the Red Leader.

The group here was formed after the Phoenix War. Thunderbolt Ross wanted to create a side ready to get their hands dirty for the greater good. So he assembled a strike force featuring Marvel's most morally ambiguous characters and made the Thunderbolts.

The anti-heroes here had one motto: if they cannot be cured, they must be killed.

On the other hand, Baron Zemo's group was quite different. Created by Kurt Busiek and Marke Bagley and making their debut in Incredible Hulk #449 in November 1996, the side consists of characters like US Agent, Taskmaster, Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Luke Cage, Hawkeye, Norman Osborn, and a bunch of other heroes and villains.

Baron Zemo changed his identity to Citizen V so he could do some good and gain access to public resources. Formed initially as the new masters of evil, this is very much still a supervillain group. The idea was for the team to do good so the authorities could trust them.

The original Thunderbolts group saw Zemo trying to save Goliath, so he would recruit Beetle, Fixer, and the Screaming Man to lend him some help.

Throughout the years, there have been many team incarnations, with Zemo even joining Ross' group. The group in the comics is basically an anti-thesis of what the Avengers are supposed to be.

We don't know what might happen here with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Last year, William Hurt tragically passed away. He portrayed the role of Thaddeus Ross in the MCU films. So, we are unsure how the team might work out over here.

However, we can expect to see a blend of both versions. We already have many key players like Zemo, Winter Soldier, Abomination, Taskmaster, Yelena Belova, US Agent, and more. With Valentina Allegra de Fontaine being introduced here as well, we can expect her to take up the leadership of the Thunderbolts as well.

But, we won't know until many years as the project hasn't even begun production. Until then, let's wait and theorize about the Thunderbolts.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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