Recently, James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, hosted a Q&A about the movie and all things Marvel.
During the Q&A he was asked what non-GotG Marvel character he would like to bring to the big screen. His answer?
James Gunn: "Thunderbolts"
Thats a pretty flat answer. Gunn said it almost right away, with no other comments. If I were asked that question, I'd probably give an answer such as: why not do a Thunderbolts movie? It might mean nothing, or it might mean something! What if James Gunn didn't want to discuss it further because Marvel is already planning a Thunderbolts movie and he doesn't want to give anything away?!
I know that's a stretch, there's no denying that. But, hey, you know...what if?
The Thunderbolts team has changed constantly over the years. Originally formed by Baron Zemo, the team is often comprised of villains, heroes, and anti-heroes.
Some of the bigger names of the team in the past are Black Widow, Hawkeye, Luke Cage, Venom, Deadpool, Elektra, Ant-Man, Punisher, Man-Thing, etc. For more information on the Thunderbolts, CLICK HERE!
One name sticks out above all else. General Thaddeus E. Ross. Wait, who?
Remember General Ross from the 2008 Incredible Hulk movie? It's probably the most forgettable film of the franchise, considering Edward Norton was switched out with Mark Ruffalo for the Avengers in 2012. Regardless, General "Thunderbolt" Ross exists in the MCU. That's right, his nickname is Thunderbolt.
Remember the scene at the end of Incredible Hulk where Tony Stark came to visit General Ross in a bar? Tony basically repeated to Ross what Nick Fury told him at the end of the first Iron Man. Was Tony helping Nick out? Doing some recruiting? Or was Stark making a team of his own?
Stark: What if I told you we're putting a team together?
Ross: Who's we?
Stark: *Snarky look*
Tony really doesn't seem to like most of his fellow Avengers. He's constantly bickering with Captain America. Black Widow infiltrated Stark Industries and made him look dumb. Hawkeye was a brainwashed rebel in Avengers. The first thing Thor does when they meet is fight Iron Man. The only real friend Tony has is Banner, and as we can see in the Avengers 2 trailer, they aren't getting along right now.
Tony is afraid of these people. The Avengers are dangerous, and SHIELD isn't really doing so hot at keeping them together. Also SHIELD is mean to Tony, originally denying him to be an Avenger in the first place.
Could that narcissism lead to Tony working with General Ross? It's possible! Tony hires Ross to form a spin off team of the Avengers of his own, for the government, not SHIELD. This team would operate in the shadows, recruiting new members as they go along. Since their operation is in the dark, most potential recruits are reformed criminals and anti-heroes.
Who in the current MCU is already fitting that description and might want to be redeemed for their crimes and actions by joining a team of superheroes?
Deathlok has been on Agents of SHIELD for a while now, and his story arc is one of my favorites on the show. He was being forced to commit crimes and work for evil, but has recently broken from his captors grasp and run off. He wants to redeem himself for his crimes so that he might be able to face his son again.
Ant-Man is joining the MCU in in July, 2015. Already we know what his story will be about. It appears apparent from the trailer that Scott Lang is a criminal who steals the Ant-Man suit from inventor, Hank Pym. Pym turns it around and wants to help Scott redeem himself for his actions. He asks Lang to be the Ant-Man, and be a hero for his daughter. (And yes Ant-Man is in the main group photo for the article on Red Hulks shoulders)
That's who's here already! Now who is joining the MCU that potentially has a rocky past and previous crimes to make up for?
Daredevil is joining the MCU via Netflix this year. It's safe to assume that Elektra will be joining as well, considering her big connection to Matt Murdock. It was heavily rumored that Rosario Dawson's character would actually be Elektra, but now it's being said that Dawson will be playing Claire Temple, a doctor working in Hells Kitchen. Regardless of who's playing her, Elektra is known for her murderous past. We'll see when Daredevil hits Netflix later in the year.
It's already been stated that when his Netflix series drops, Mike Colter will be playing Luke Cage. The official description of the show via IMDB is "Given superstrength and durability by a sabotaged experiment, a wrongly accused man escapes prison to become a superhero for hire." It seems that Cage makes a perfect member of the team and I can even see him as one of the more heroic members and a team leader.
Now, it's safe to say that when a new team is introduced a new character will be as well. Who do you think might join the MCU to be a part of the Thunderbolts team?
There isn't a Marvel fan out there that isn't waiting for Punisher to make an appearance in the MCU. While he's had his own movies in the past, none of them are considered canon with Marvel's current movies. It's safe to assume that someone named "The Punisher" has past crimes he feels he needs to make up for. Frank Castle would really be an awesome addition to the MCU, and is certainly a game changer.
I'm sure that some Marvel movie fans don't know this, so I'll explain who Red Hulk is. General Thaddeus Ross dedicates his life to hunting down and killing Bruce Banner a.k.a. The Hulk. Eventually, after many failures to stop Hulk, General Ross himself decides to take drastic measures and turns himself into what he hates most in the world, a Hulk! He becomes Red Hulk, and uses his new-found powers to his advantage. So the General from Incredible Hulk (2008) eventually turns into a Red Hulk himself!
Considering General Ross forms the team for Stark, it would make sense for them to be called the "Thunderbolts." He could lead the team and make an army ready for a fight against the Avengers, who Tony Stark might be planning on betraying. Would this happen in Marvels Civil War? It certainly makes for a much larger scale war for the film! Or it could be a plan for Tony to have an Avengers team for after Avengers 3: Infinity Wars.
The team might also have its own agenda. Considering it's comprised of anti-heroes and former criminals, it wouldn't make sense to have them go up against the World's Mightiest (and most loved) Heroes! Perhaps Hydra resurfaces? Or maybe AIM?