Florence Pugh To Lead The Thunderbolts?

Will Florence Pugh be leading the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of the Suicide Squad in an upcoming movie?

By Nathan Kamal | Published

florence pugh

It cannot be denied that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going through a lot of changes. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame in 2019 and the retirement/death of three-fifths of the original Avengers, it seems the next Phases are all about building up new characters and new teams. One of the most highly anticipated of the latter in the Thunderbolts, the morally ambiguous super-team confirmed to be starring in their own film soon. While there has not yet been an official confirmation from the famously leak-averse Marvel Studios, rumors are getting louder and louder that Florence Pugh will lead the Thunderbolts as her character Yelena Belova. 

A recent episode of the podcast The Town featured Deadline writer Justin Kroll, who claimed that Thunderbolts (the movie) is being set up to star some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe characters who have been introduced as somewhere between Steve Rogers-level Principled Good and Mephisto-level Diabolic Evil. According to Justin Kroll, this will include Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, the younger sister of the late Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Wyatt Russell as John Walker/US Agent, and perhaps even Daniel Brühl as Helmut Zemo. Florence Pugh would be the leader of the team, although the team’s mission and purpose still remains vague. 

This would make a great deal of sense, as there have been numerous hints in recent Marvel installments that a team is being assembled outside of the public eye that could challenge the Avengers. In an end-credits scene to Black Widow (in which Florence Pugh was introduced as Yelena Belova), the grieving sister of Natasha Romanoff was approached by Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (Julia Louis-Drefyus) who seemed to be playing her against Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Similarly, the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series saw Wyatt Russell’s John Walker being recruited to some end by the Contessa. If we see a full-on Thunderbolts team (often theorized as a mirror-image “Dark Avengers”) composed of Florence Pugh/Black Widow, Wyatt Russell/US Agent, and maybe even Tim Roth as Abomination, ie, Evil Hulk, it would resolve a whole lot of building subplots.

It would also make sense to install Florence Pugh as the leader of the Thunderbolts team within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as she is currently one of the fastest-rising movie stars in the world. Florence Pugh is currently set to star as Princess Irulan in the upcoming Dune 2 film from Denis Villeneuve, alongside returning actors Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, and Javier Bardem. She will be joined by fellow newcomers Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV and Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen.

Additionally, Florence Pugh will also be starring in the increasingly controversy-ridden Don’tWorry Darling, a science fiction thriller from Olivia Wilde. She will be starring in that film with Harry Styles (who replaced Shia LaBeouf, who left under contended circumstances), Chris Pine, and Olivia Wilde herself. Florence Pugh last appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the Disney+ series Hawkeye, so we will just have to wait and see how this Thunderbolts thing pans out.