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Marvel's Thunderbolts movie is the biggest MCU news of the day — here's why

Thunderbolts title card
(Image credit: Marvel Studios via Twitter)

Thunderbolts isn't a name everyone knows, but it will be. Today, at the D23 Marvel event, we got a lot (though I wanted more), and the casting news about this upcoming Marvel Phase 5 movie is the biggest news of the day.

Thunderbolts, which is positioned to be Marvel's summer 2024 blockbuster film looks like it's going to follow some very familiar — and smart — formulas. And that's all tied to who's in the cast. The official artwork shared at D23 (which Marvel shared as most of the cast took the stage) is the kind of murderer's row of scene stealers that could and should amount to an utter delight of a movie.

But, I hear you ask, who are the Thunderbolts? Why should I care? Well, dear reader, that's what I'm here to explain.

Thunderbolts' cast of characters looks perfect

The photos said it all, including one shared by Jamie Jirak (opens in new tab) of ComicBook.com. This movie has a who's who of people who are sure to annoy each other. Thanks to a Marvel (opens in new tab) post, we can confirm who's been announced so far.

  • Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova
  • David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian
  • Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine
  • Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes
  • Wyatt Russell as John Walker/U.S.Agent 

The art also showed Taskmaster, but Marvel's post didn't mention if Olga Kurylenko will be reprising that role or not. 

Yes, we're getting a movie where Yelena and her adoptive dad Alexei are back, and if that's not enough, Bucky and John Walker have to work together. I'll admit that Ghost isn't the most exciting character, but when you have all of the above — with Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine trying to make them all coexist? 

Hats off to Marvel. It feels like they found another way to do the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy movies, where a collection of misfits have to work together. Consider this Marvel's The Suicide Squad. James Gunn's version, not the original.

Off the cast alone, I get the feeling this movie is going to be amazing. Of course, I am thinking all of this because I've seen both Black Widow and Falcon & The Winter Soldier, MCU projects that even I'm not 100% behind.

It should be noted that the late William Hurt would have probably reprised his role of Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross, since he's the reason why they're called the Thunderbolts in the comics.

Thunderbolts release date and MCU timeline location

Thunderbolts arrives in theaters on July 26, 2024, right after Captain America: New World Order (May 3, 2024).

These are the last two pieces of Marvel's Phase 5, which will be followed by a TBA fall 2024 release and Fantastic Four on Nov. 8, 2024.

Thunderbolts potential plot

No official synopsis is available yet. Right now, I'll go back to talking about The Suicide Squad, because that feels like the best movie to examine for figuring Thunderbolts out.

The Thunderbolts cast (save for don't-call-her-Val) is a group of mixed-up folks who can do some damage. It seems like someone, likely Ms. Allegra de Fontaine, has recruited all of them to do some dirty work. This is likely being done on one of a few conditions. Either they're being blackmailed or (as seen by Yelena's interactions with her new boss) getting paid well for it.

As the MCU has shown in such projects as The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and She-Hulk, the question of "how do these people make a living to support themselves?" is never quite answered. Thunderbolts could show off the uglier side of surviving in this current world.

Thunderbolts outlook

Honestly, folks, we got a lot of Marvel stuff today, but it was all stuff we knew about in full detail (Secret Invasion) or curiosities that don't do enough for me (Werewolf by Night).

Thunderbolts, however, may be the best new cross-over MCU film we'll get for a while, and I'm really excited to see these misfits in action.

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.