Marvel Studios and Disney are set to give some of their shadier heroes (and some villains) their moment in the spotlight with the Thunderbolts movie that's currently in development.
For the uninitiated, Thunderbolts is a team of morally dubious characters who are working to redeem their public image after falling on the wrong side of the law. If this all sounds a bit familiar, then you wouldn’t be the only one to draw comparisons between the Thunderbolts and DC Comics own similarly-themed ragtag group of wrong 'uns, the Suicide Squad.
While the House of Mouse and Marvel are following in the footsteps of Warner Bros. and the DC Extended Universe by bringing their shady squad of antiheroes and rogues to the silver screen, it's fair to say that the MCU has a vastly stronger roster of characters to chose from than their DC counterpart.
With Paper Towns' Jake Schreier on directing duties and Agent Carter's Eric Pearson penning the screenplay, the belief is that Thunderbolts will start filming in Summer 2023. Taking a look at the potential candidates for this infamous team, then, here are eight familiar MCU faces who are extremely likely to turn up in this picture as and when it makes its way to the big screen.
8. Baron Helmut Zemo
In the first iteration of Thunderbolts back in 1997, the group was led by the evil Baron Helmut Zemo as they ditched their villainous pasts and became crime-fighting heroes. However, the rest of the team (Beetle, Fixer, Moonstone and Screaming Mimi) were being misled by Zemo the whole time.
Zemo had sinister ulterior motives and had never truly ditched his villainy, but eventually the rest of the Thunderbolts confronted him and, after defeating the tyrant, they started again as genuine heroes.
Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Zemo was the catalyst for the Avengers’ Civil War after he framed Bucky Barnes for the death of T’Chaka, leader of Wakanda. Years later, he was broken out of jail by Bucky and Sam Wilson in events seen in Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Teaming up with the heroes, Zemo’s actions in the show gave him an element of redemption as made amends with Barnes but was ultimately taken by the Dora Milaje to continue serving his sentence in high-security prison, The Raft. Having been featured as the main villain of Captain America: Civil War, Zemo is more recognisable than most other Thunderbolts candidates and would be a convincing example of someone looking to redeem themselves for past crimes.