The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe just got a little clearer and fans are probably going to be shocked. Marvel Studios is reportedly developing a movie based on the comic Thunderbolts and director Jake Schreier has been tapped to bring it to life.
Deadline broke the news of the project and says that Eric Pearson (Black Widow) is writing what’s believed to be a supervillain team-up film, not unlike DC’s The Suicide Squad. And though the cast of characters remains a mystery, the title of the comic is based on the nickname of Thaddeus Ross, played by the late William Hurt in the films, who put together the villainous team. io9 has reached out to Disney for comment or clarification and will update the story if and when we hear.
The trade also notes that several of the recent MCU entries, such as Black Widow and The Falcon and Winter Soldier, have included villains who were left seemingly with nowhere to go storywise. So, speculation is that this movie is where those characters could come back. Characters like Yelena Belova or Taskmaster from Black Widow, Baron Zemo and US Agent from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Ghost from Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Abomination from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. None of those characters are confirmed but educated speculation says they’re prime candidates, and Marvel has apparently begun to reach out to the as-yet-unknown actors who would appear in the movie and asked them to keep next summer free to shoot.
Schreier is a relatively new name on the scene having directed two films in recent years, including the Sundance hit Robot and Frank as well as the Cara Delevingne-led rom-com Paper Towns. Neither of those films scream “MCU” but they’re both solid, character-driven films that show command of the form. If Marvel thinks he can pull it off, who are we to say otherwise?
We’re likely to hear more about Thunderbolts in the coming weeks, possibly at San Diego Comic-Con if Marvel shows up this year, or definitely at D23 Expo, where Marvel is confirmed to have a big presentation.
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