By GARY COLLINSON
After years of rumours and speculation, it seems that Marvel Studios is finally ready to assemble the Thunderbolts, with word breaking tonight that Jake Schreier (Robot & Frank, Paper Towns) has signed on to direct from a script by Eric Pearson (Black Widow).
According to Deadline, Marvel has been quietly focussing on a director search for Thunderbolts these past few months, and has also been reaching out to specific Marvel Cinematic Universe acting talent about keeping their schedules open for a summer 2023 shoot.
There have been several different incarnations of the Thunderbolts in Marvel Comics, with Baron Zemo forming the original team of villains posing as superheroes following the death of the Avengers. Later versions have been similar to DC’s Suicide Squad in that they feature villains and antiheroes recruited for missions by the government. General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross has led the team in his Red Hulk guise, although sadly the late William Hurt will not have the opportunity to form the team or bring Red Hulk to the screen.
There are however a number of MCU veterans who could potentially fit the bill for the team including the likes of Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), The Abomination (Tim Roth), Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), US Agent (Wyatt Russell) and Black Widow’s Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), while Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is presumably going to play a pivotal role in proceedings. However, no talent deals are believed to be in place as yet.