According to a new rumor, Marvel Studios is rewriting its upcoming Black Widow sequel.
Black Widow's Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Antonia Dreykov's Olga Kurylenko/Taskmaster are all confirmed for Thunderbolts which Marvel Studios Director of Visual Development Andy Park once described as "a Black Widow sequel."
However, recent news and rumors suggest this Phase 5 ensemble is currently being retooled.
Why Marvel is Reworking Black Widow Sequel
Back in March, Marvel Studios hired Lee Sung Jin to "rewrite" the Thunderbolts, replacing its previous writer, Black Widow's Eric Pearson.
Jin is known as the creator and showrunner for Netflix's Beef.
On The Hot Mic podcast with John Rocha, industry scooper Jeff Sneider relayed a rumor about why this Thunderbolts rewrite was necessary, saying, "it had a similar problem to what Suicide Squad had:"
"I heard that they scrapped the other guys draft. One of the problems with that 'Thunderbolts' draft was that it had a similar problem to what 'Suicide Squad' had, the David Ayer one, in that it was too focused on the 'Black Widow' characters who are going to be in 'Thunderbolts' and it wasn't an equal enough [balance] for the team. It just very much emphasized the characters we already knew."
In addition to Thunderbolts' Black Widow cast, the 2024 film starred Bucky Barnes' Sebastian Stan, Ant-Man 2's Hannah John-Kamen, Wyatt Russell's John Walker from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Val.
Warner Bros. released the DCU film Suicide Squad in 2016, which also featured a team of antiheroes and villains.
But despite an all-star cast and popular marketing campaign, the film was not well-received, leading to James Gunn releasing his version, The Suicide Squad, in 2021.
Thunderbolts Should Be More Than Black Widow 2
Marvel recruiting Lee Sung Jin to rewrite the script was already a red flag. The move suggested the studio wasn't happy with Thunderbolts which is expected to begin filming soon.
While Sneider's information is only a rumor, it's not hard to believe that the initial script was too Black Widow-centric.
Not only did Andy Park refer to it as a quasi-like Black Widow sequel, but Florence Pugh and David Harbour are massive talents and practically stole every scene they were in back in 2021.
Having them reunited but working alongside Antonia Dreykov's Taskmaster - as well as yet another Black Widow alum, Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Val - could easily be a film by itself.
However, Thunderbolts needs to be more than a Black Widow spin-off. And, Marvel Studios certainly needs to avoid what happened with the 2016's Suicide Squad, especially since their similar premises make comparisons unavoidable.
For now, only time will tell if Lee is able to bring balance to the Thunderbolts cast and its script. But if all stays on schedule, fans should be seeing and hearing more once production gets underway.
Thunderbolts arrives in theaters on July 26, 2024.