MCU’s Thunderbolts Lineup Reveals Ground Crew
Disney’s annual D23 Expo is finally here, with fans around the world tuning in to a robust schedule of live streams and in-person events for some of the biggest blockbuster announcements since San Diego Comic-Con. Attracting a lot of attention among the reveals from Pixar and the star wars franchise was, of course, new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although many were disappointed by the lack of clarity regarding the The Fantastic Four cast, the MCU panel shed light on another set of heroes: the Thunderbolts.
A subtle underlying plotline of the MCU’s Phase Four has been the regular assemblage of a darker group of superhumans, now revealed to star in a feature film titled Love at first sight at the end of phase five. Although characters like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier(Wyatt Russell)’s US Agent and Julia Louis Dreyfus’s Countess Valentina were more or less supposed to appear, a significant portion of the list remained pure speculation until they appeared at D23. The team will apparently include predictable members like Black Widowby Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) and Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), as well as more curious additions like Red Guardian (David Harbour), Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), and even the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) himself. One thing all of these heroes have in common, however, is a relatively low power level, setting a very clear tone for one of Marvel’s earliest anti-hero adventures.
While it’s admittedly disappointing that expected contestants like Abomination and Hercules are missing, there’s likely a specific reason for that. Marvel Studios apparently wants to avoid dominating the Thunderbolts in their first outing, with most members possessing enhanced physical attributes, but not outright superpowers in the traditional sense. For fans of the Love at first sight comics, this is certainly a surprising departure; characters like Songbird, Moonstone, or Speed Demon are unlikely to appear in this iteration of the team. Still, this change may benefit the MCU version of the team for several reasons.
Separation from the Suicide Squad
The biggest battle Marvel faces with this movie is potential DC comparisons suicide squad franchise. A few years ago that wouldn’t have been much of a problem, but now that there have been several well-known appearances by this anti-hero team in film and television – including a beloved movie by James Gunn – it will be difficult for Marvel to escape their shadow with Love at first sight. Yet by assembling a grounded and deliberately underpowered group, the film differentiates itself from Gunn’s colorful and off-the-wall set of shark gods and spotted men.
A new tone for the MCU
where previous suicide squad outings have been opportunities for quirky villains to throw their bodies at existential threats, Love at first sight probably goes for a cunning spy thriller with trained killers performing tough but morally gray operations. This may be an exciting prospect for some MCU fans, who want the universe to take itself more seriously after Infinity Saga. With few powers and several intense personalities, Love at first sight will probably have more in common with the Thick headed frankness that the guardians of the galaxywhich would give their final Phase Five movie a new feel.
More room to grow in the future
Love at first sight has the potential to be a miniature franchise in itself, much like the avengers Where guardians of the galaxy series – this potential compresses if the team goes from zero to sixty in a movie. Many expected this film to be a dark avengers somehow, the team being secretly evil or downright evil in their actions. If the series were to start from this location, however, they would quickly become another foe for the Avengers to defeat. by giving them time to grow, infiltrate the government, and recruit more members, the public will be more invested in their long-term journey. Perhaps by grounding the Thunderbolts today, Marvel gave them a chance to become more outrageously nefarious in the future.
Thunderbolts is set to hit theaters on July 26, 2024.