Thunderbolts is one of the most intriguing Marvel movies on the upcoming MCU slate. First announced in June 2022, the project has been shrouded in mystery, but fans of the comics will know it will unite some of Marvel's best anti-heroes on screen for the first time.
But when should MCU fans be expecting the Thunderbolts movie, who exactly will be in this rag-tag team of crimefighters, and what will they be doing?
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Keep calm, because here's everything you need to know before Thunderbolts comes storming onto the big screen.
Thunderbolts release date
Marvel’s Thunderbolts was scheduled to hit cinemas on 20 December 2024 having been pushed from 26 July, 2024. Unfortunately, fallout from the SAF-AFTRA strike has meant that has had to change again, with Thunderbolts now releasing on Friday, 25 July 2025.
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The team-up flick will be the penultimate instalment of MCU's Phase 5, followed by The Blade starring Mahershala Ali in November 2025.
Kevin Feige and the hierarchy of the MCU are pulling no punches when it comes to the cast for the Thunderbolts team, starring a who’s-who of Marvel fan favourites.
Florence Pugh will be reprising her role as Yelena Belova alongside Black Widow co-star David Harbour who will be returning as Alexei Shostakov a.k.a Red Guardian. Olga Kurylenko’s Taskmaster will also return from the opening film of Phase 4, in what we can only hope is larger role for such an interesting character.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier stars Sebastian Stan and Wyatt Russell will reprise their roles as Bucky Barnes and US Agent John Walker, respectively. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kevin Feige referred to Bucky as the “de facto leader” for the group.
Hannah John-Kamen also returns after her outing in Ant-Man and the Wasp, flitting back onto our screens as Ghost/Ava Starr.
Pulling the strings for the team will be the enigmatic Val, played by the delightful Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who as we saw in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: is now the Director of the CIA.
Harrison Ford will be making his second MCU appearance as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, following his debut in Captain America: New World Order, also slated for release in 2024.
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The Indiana Jones and Star Wars star is replacing William Hurt following his passing in March 2022. Hurt first appeared as Ross way back in 2008, when Edward Norton played our favourite green rage monster in The Incredible Hulk, but by New World Order he has risen to the rank of President of the United States of America.
Two more additions to the main cast were reported recently by Deadline, first stating that Ayo Edebiri of 2022’s hit kitchen-drama The Bear would be joining in an undisclosed role. And more recently, The Walking Dead and Nope star, Steven Yeun, would also be joining in a role significant to the MCU moving forward.
Who is making Thunderbolts?
Behind the scenes, Thunderbolts will be directed by Jake Schreier, who previously helmed Paper Towns starring Cara Delevingne and directed episodes of Netflix's recent hit series Beef.
Initial drafts of the script were penned by Eric Pearson, a veteran within the MCU, having written the Black Widow screenplay, as well as Thor: Ragnarok alongside Craig Kyle and Christopher L. Yost.
In March 2023, it was revealed that Lee Sung Jin (Beef) would be taking another pass at the Thunderbolts script, taking over from Pearson.
What is the plot of Thunderbolts?
Very little is known about the movie so far, and that includes the plot. We have the briefest of synopses to go on, with the film being described as “a group of antiheroes goes on missions for the government.”
Based on that, we could expect Thunderbolts to be akin to DC’s Suicide Squad (you can choose which iteration comes to mind), but without explosive implants in our protagonist’s craniums.
Given the proximity between Thunderbolts and Captain America: New World Order, along with the overlapping cast, there’s a good chance that the plots might tie together. However, so far very little is known about Sam Wilson’s film debut as Cap.
Still, new information is surfacing all the time. In late August, the movie's director teased that Thunderbolt's plot hopes to shake things up in the MCU - but he was curiously tight-lipped when it came to divulging more information.
"I can't say what it is, but I can say that there is something different," explained Schreier via IGN. "And I think that, again, when you look at something like Beef, there's a specificity of character that then makes the whole thing feel more universal because it comes from something so personal.
"I think that something that was exciting about Thunderbolts is it's not a sequel," he added "It's a new story, and it's a set of characters that maybe we've met a little bit in the MCU before, but this is a very new take on who they are and what brings them together. Probably not what people are expecting from it, but I guess I can't really say more than that."
These themes were reiterated during an interview Russell gave in late November whilst promoting his new show Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. Admitting that the project hasn't started shooting yet due to strike-related delays - and that he's yet to read a finished script - he assured fans that he had "confidence it’s gonna be good."
He continued, commending the project's cast and its director Schreier.
"I know everybody is sort of on this Marvel train right now of things not going so well," Russell began. "I know Jake so well and I know how smart Jake is and how much he cares about making something interesting and different and utilizing everyone’s talents to the best of their ability. And the story that I think they’ve come up with is really interesting — I know parts of the story and how the story works, I can’t talk about it. But it’s not a straightforward Marvel movie as you’ve seen in the past."
He continued, adding: “I think that it’s gonna be a lot of fun but I think it will be something that hopefully Marvel fans will look at and go, ‘Oh OK, this is a little different, let’s go hard at it.’ And as far as how we are approaching it, it’s time to go to work a little bit, it’s time to make a good Marvel movie, so let’s do that and work hard at it and don’t take things for granted.”
Is there a trailer for Thunderbolts?
No. A Thunderbolts trailer is unlikely until much later this year, possibly even early 2024. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Marvels and Captain America: New World Order all to come before Thunderbolts, Marvel won’t be in any rush to get the promotion campaign going just yet.
The only glimpse of Thunderbolts we have so far is the line-up picture released along with the initial announcement in June 2022.
Marvel’s Thunderbolts will be hitting cinemas on Friday, 25 July 2025.