Thunderbolts: Release date, cast, plot theories & more

Cameron Frew

The upcoming MCU superhero movie based on the comic book series of the same name is finally drawing near. Here’s the Thunderbolts release date, scoops, the cast list, and the team explained.

Acting as one of the main events in Phase 6, Thunderbolts will see a group of morally questionable supers come together for a Suicide Squad-esque mission.

Competing with new Marvel movies like Deadpool 3, Thunderbolts sees potential supervillains turn over a new leaf under the thumb of Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.

We’ve been around the block a few times, though, so we know nothing will go to plan.

Thunderbolts release date

Thunderbolts will be released in cinemas on May 2, 2025.

It was originally supposed to be the final movie in Phase 5 before Fantastic Four kicked off Phase 6. Following a rejig, Thunderbolts will arrive after F4 and before Blade.

Florence Pugh confirmed filming had begun while attending the Dune 2 premiere in New York.

Thunderbolts cast

Florence Pugh and Sebastian Stan lead the Thunderbolts cast, with Wyatt Russell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and more.

The Thunderbolts cast:

  • Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova/Black Widow
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine
  • Olga Kurylenko as Antonia Dreykov/Taskmaster
  • Wyatt Russell as John Walker/US Agent
  • Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
  • Hannah John-Kamen as Ava Starr/Ghost
  • David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian
  • Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Captain America
  • Harrison Ford as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross

The core line-up consists of MCU veterans, except for franchise newcomer Harrison Ford. That said, Ford is portraying an established character: General Ross, previously played by the late William Hurt.

Thunderbolts was briefly slated to introduce another fresh face to the MCU: Steven Yeun. The Walking Dead alum would’ve portrayed Superman pastiche the Sentry, however, he exited the production in January 2024. Top Gun: Maverick’s Lewis Pullman replaced him.

Thunderbolts plot

There’s currently no plot synopsis for Thunderbolts. That said, several earlier MCU outings include narrative beats designed to set the stage for the movie.

Valentina and US Agent in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. There's no Thunderbolts release date.
Valentina and US Agent are slated to return in Thunderbolts.

In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, would-be Captain America John Walker is recruited by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine and rebranded as US Agent. This explains Walker’s return under this new moniker in Thunderbolts.

Similarly, 2021’s Black Widow includes a scene in which Valentina is shown acting as Yelena Belova/Black Widow’s handler. Val will play a pivotal role in forming the Thunderbolts, something Harbour more or less confirmed in an interview with Collider.

Harbour also talked up Thunderbolts’ character-driven story, including the relationship between him and his on-screen daughter, Pugh. “One of the things you’ll probably know is that the ‘me and Florence’ dynamic will be in there and explored in a way that’s really cool,” he said.

“But all these guys, Sebastian’s character, Wyatt’s character, I just love this mercenary element in the MCU,” Harbour continued. “And I like these guys who are a bunch of losers or a bunch of guys who can’t quite get it right.”

The Bear showrunner Joanna Calo penned the script, so the film is sure to be an intense roller coaster with a lot of heart, even if it’s filled with bad guys.

Is there a trailer?

There’s no Thunderbolts trailer yet. We should get one in early 2025.

Thunderbolts explained

The Thunderbolts are Marvel’s answer to DC’s Suicide Squad: a team of villains and antiheroes fighting on the side of the good guys.

A Thunderbolts comic book cover.
The Thunderbolts have evolved since 1997.

The original Thunderbolts line-up made its comics debut in a 1997 issue of The Incredible Hulk and went on to headline their own, self-titled series. This incarnation of the team was actually the Masters of Evil operating under superhero aliases, as part of one of Baron Zemo’s evil schemes.

However, the baddies soon discovered they enjoyed being heroes and revolted against Zemo. And while the team’s roster has changed over the past 20-plus years, the Thunderbolts’ status as a home for reformed baddies remains a constant.

The team started with the following members:

  • Baron Zemo
  • Beetle
  • Fixer
  • Goliath
  • Moonstone
  • Screaming Mimi

Zemo’s successors in the leadership role include:

  • Clint Barton/Hawkeye
  • Norman Osborne/The Green Goblin
  • Luke Cage
  • Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier
  • Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin
  • Thunderbolt Ross

In terms of members, the following villains have been associated with the Thunderbolts:

  • Taskmaster
  • Venom
  • Ghost
  • Crossbones
  • Juggernaut
  • Doctor Octopus
  • Abomination.

Several superheroes, including the Punisher, US Agent, Elektra, Nighthawk, Deadpool, Ghost Rider, and Ant-Man (Eric O’Grady) have ties to the team, as well.

Thunderbolts leaks and theories

Thunderbolts leaks claim the film is basically Marvel’s suicide squad.

DanielRPK claimed the plot is “Yelena, US Agent, Ghost, and Taskmaster are sent by Val to kill someone in a vault. They realize they’ve been set up and were meant to die on this mission. So they team up against their boss to take her down.”

Sounds legit. We don’t imagine Val will have many allies by the end, whatever happens.

The Thunderbolts release date is nearing, until then, there are upcoming Marvel movies. Stick with us to learn about Avengers Secret Wars, Avengers 5, and Captain America 4.

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