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Thunderbolts: which MCU characters should be on the team?

We've been through all the villains who menaced the Avengers to try and work out which MCU characters should be in Marvel Studios Thunderbolts movie

Thunderbolts members: Winter Soldier

Which MCU characters should be on the Thunderbolts? Marvel Studios has announced that it’s working on a new exciting team-up action movie, the Thunderbolts. Unlike the Avengers, though, who are comprised of Earth’s mightiest heroes, the Thunderbolts is a team made of deadly villains.

Originally introduced in the pages of The Incredible Hulk, the Thunderbolts are a group of supervillains working with the government to reform their not-so-good names. For a while now, Marvel Studios has been teasing the team’s MCU debut, with the character Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine attempting to recruit super-powered individuals for an unknown organisation.

Could this be the Thunderbolts? We think in the balance of probability, it probably is. So if Valentina’s creating the Thunderbolts, which MCU characters should be on the Thunderbolts? Well, to answer this question, we’ve been through all the Marvel movies in order (and the TV series as well) to examine which villains might want a shot at redemption, which are team players, and who might lead this team of wannabe superheroes into battle.

Which MCU characters should be on the Thunderbolts?

  • Ghost
  • Abomination
  • Taskmaster
  • Yelena Belova
  • US Agent
  • Zemo
  • Winter Soldier

Thunderbolts members: Ghost


While Ghost, aka Ava Starr, wasn’t an outright villain in Ant-Man and The Wasp, we can see her returning as a member of the Thunderbolts. After all, she committed plenty of crimes while trying to cure herself, so we can see her wanting some redemption, plus her intangibility would make her a useful team member.

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It also helps that in the Marvel comics, Ghost has been a member of the Thunderbolts twice – first during normal Osborn’s tenure as the head of world security (it’s complicated). Then they were on a new version of the team after the Dark Avengers attacked New Asgard (it’s even more complicated).

Thunderbolts members: Abomination


Despite debuting in a movie that Marvel Studios does its best to ignore, Emil Blonsky, aka Abomination, has recently made a few appearances in the MCU. The misshapen brute made a cameo in Shang-Chi and is set to return properly in She-Hulk, so why not the Thunderbolts?

With his Hulk-level strength and tactical abilities (yes, he’s still smart even though he looks like one of Shrek’s bogies), he’d be a great addition to the team. Plus, he’s worked with the military before, so you’d expect him to be able to follow orders.

Thunderbolts members: Taskmaster


Few Marvel characters have as tragic a backstory as Taskmaster, aka Antonia Dreykov. Antonia was seriously wounded when Black Widow tried to assassinate her father, General Dreykov, leader of the Red Room who trained Black Widow.

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Following the attack, Antonia had a chip placed in her head that made her completely obedient to her father but also gave her the ability to effortlessly copy the fighting style of anyone she observed. Dreykov renamed his daughter Taskmaster and used her as his personal assassin, eradicating anyone who stood in his way.

Last we saw Antonia, she had been freed from her father’s control and was being cared for by the Black Widows. Perhaps another Black Widow, one who joined the Thunderbolts, might ask her to join the team?

Thunderbolts members: Yelena

Yelena Belova

Speaking of Black Widows who might join the Thunderbolts, we can’t forget Yelena Belova. While the events of Hawkeye may have her questioning Valentina’s motives, we have seen that Yelena was willing to work with her. Perhaps they’ll team up again, and who wouldn’t want a Black widow on their team?

The MCU’s Black Widows have all been capable spies, deadly assassins, and loyal to their friends. Just the type of person you want backing you up when you’re taking on threats so terrible you don’t even want the Avengers involved.

Thunderbolts members: US Agent

US Agent

The supermarket’s own-brand version of Captain America. John Walker may have failed in his duty as the new ‘Star-Spangled Man With a Plan’, but he seems the most likely contender to join the Thunderbolts at this point.

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We’ve already seen Valentina recruit him, giving him a spiffy new suit in the process, and we know that despite being less stable than a three-legged coffee table, he is a capable fighter and tactician.

We spoke to Wyatt Russell who plays Walker who told us he’s not got the call yet, but he would say that wouldn’t he!

Thunderbolts members: Zemo


To be honest, we just want more Zemo in general. While he was a decent enough bad guy in Captain America: Civil War, the character really came to life in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier once he popped on his purple balaclava.

In all seriousness, though, despite lacking super powers, Zemo’s intelligence and strategic mind made him one of the Avenger’s deadliest foes, and he’s handy in a fist fight. Plus, he’s not really a bad guy. He just really doesn’t like people with superpowers.

In the comics, Zemo was a founding member of the original Thunderbolts team and their leader, so his inclusion in the MCU version of the team would be a nice wink to fans.

Thunderbolts members: Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier

Every superteam needs a leader, and we can’t think of any MCU character better suited to lead the Thunderbolts than Bucky Barnes. Barnes is powerful enough to keep this team ne’er do wells in line and is a match for Captain America when it comes to battle strategy.

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We can also imagine Bucky, who’s dealt with his own inner demons, will empathise with the villain’s attempts to reform, and if they get out of line, he can just sock ’em with his vibranium arm.

Like others on this list, Bucky’s comicbook counterpart has a history with the team, leading a new incarnation of the Thunderbolts during the second superhero civil war. Yes, they really did a Civil War II.