Marvel Studios president of physical and post-production, visual effects, and animation production Victoria Alonso previously confirmed that the studio has 31 projects in development, and it seems that one of them could be the long-rumored Thunderbolts film.
Back in 2015, it was initially rumored that the villainous group would be getting a Netflix series. However, the project didn't pan out, and it took a while before new developments surfaced online.
The team gained traction once again when a certain Roger Wardell, who has been accurate with some of his scoops in the past, shared on Twitter that the MCU version of the Thunderbolts would include Baron Zemo, Ghost, Justin Hammer, General Ross, and the Abomination.
It was only during Phase 4 that Thunderbolts received a consistent amount of buzz due to the arrival of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. During the Disney+ series, Val mysteriously recruited John Walker, and the trend continued in Black Widow's post-credit scene when she appointed a mission to Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova.
Now, a new rumor may shed some light on the villainous group's imminent arrival to the larger MCU.
The MCU's Thunderbolts Will Arrive soon?
Geeks Worldwide shared that Marvel Studios is reportedly producing a Thunderbolts movie, with production slated to begin in 2023.
For those unaware, the Thunderbolts are a group of reformed Marvel villains working together to do something heroic but are actually the Masters of Evil in disguise. Despite being full-blown villains, they eventually redeem themselves to transition into heroes.
Marvel's Version of Suicide Squad
Many would agree that it would make sense for Marvel Studios to bring all its powerful and intriguing villains together in one project, especially considering the storytelling potential that each character possesses.
In the pages of Marvel Comics, Baron Zemo formed the Thunderbolts due to his desire for world domination. The group posed as heroes to sway public opinion, but the Avengers defeated them. The original roster includes Zemo, Goliath, Moonstone, Fixer, and Songbird.
In the MCU, Zemo would still make narrative sense to become the team's leader, but his motivation in forming the team could be drastically different due to his established character arc.
Given that the state of the Avengers is unknown to the public eye, it's possible that Zemo would step up and recruit past villains to stop a dangerous enemy that could threaten the lives of innocents. On the flip side, there's also a chance that Zemo's team could end up duking it out against Val's own Dark Avengers.
Zemo's Thunderbolts team could include Black Widow's Taskmaster, The Incredible Hulk's the Abomination, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's Batroc the Leaper, and Iron Man 2's Justin Hammer. It is likely that more unseen villains in Phase 4 could be added.
Given that production is set to start sometime in 2023, it seems that Marvel Studios is carefully mapping out the roster and the storyline for Thunderbolts. During Phase 1, Marvel introduced the original members of the Avengers in different films, and it looks like the same approach could be utilized for the villain group.