Marvel Must Cancel Thunderbolts Before It’s Too Late

By Zack Zagranis | Published

Ayo Edebiri Thunderbolts

Should Marvel cut its losses and cancel the upcoming Thunderbolts movie outright? It’s starting to look like that may be the studio’s best option. Between cast departures, shooting delays, and the whole “Who is this for?”, Marvel’s version of the Suicide Squad appears to be DOA.

Marvel Should Pull The Plug On Thunderbolts

Thunderbolts—a movie about a team of villains and antiheroes sent on a clandestine mission—was first announced at the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con by Marvel guru Kevin Feige.

As Julia Louis-Dreyfus revealed early last year, the film was originally intended to begin shooting in June 2023. Since then, however, it has hit so many snags that the production feels on life support.

Maybe Disney should do the humane thing and pull the plug.

Production Issues?

val black widow post credits scene

We know movies have come back from the brink of disaster. The original Star Wars was plagued with production problems, as was the former highest-grossing film in the whole world, Titanic.

The difference between Thunderbolts and those movies is that when Star Wars is delayed by the first rainstorm in Tunisia in 50 years, it’s bad luck.

When the Thunderbolts script is going through rewrites only a few months before shooting is supposed to start, that’s bad planning.

Of course, it didn’t help that shortly after screenwriter Lee Sung Jin started reworking Eric Pearson’s original script, the Writer’s Guild of America went on strike, followed by SAG-AFTRA. The strike can’t be blamed for all of the movie’s problems, however.

Additions, Departures, And Spoilers

harrison ford

For one thing, actor Steven Yeun’s departure. The actor announced that he was quitting the Thunderbolts well after the SAG-AFTRA strike was over and done with.

The strike also had nothing to do with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman spoiling who Yeun would be playing in the film, Marvel powerhouse Sentry.

That makes two of the film’s big reveal’s spoiled before the movie even starts production. Harrison Ford’s Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross has been all but confirmed to be transitioning into the Red Hulk at some point during the movie.

Neither leak has Marvel Fans soiling their drawers in anticipation of Thunderbolts—not a great sign.

Copycat Characters

david harbour thunderbolts

Meanwhile, we reported recently that actress Hannah John-Kamen had exited the production with her character Ghost seemingly written out of the film.

Yet another strike against Thunderbolts, as Ghost was one of the only members on the team with a cool power rather than just being a super soldier trained to fight real good.

The movie’s ensemble cast is full of copycat characters with similar abilities, making for a rather boring premise, at least action-wise.

At least both Suicide Squad films had the sense to include characters with varying abilities/gimmicks. Thunderbolts has Red Guardian (Russian Captain America), U.S. Agent(roid rage Captain America), Winter Soldier (metal arm Captain America), Yelena Belova (Black Widow 2.0), and Taskmaster (mute Black Widow).

Ghost would have given the team a little more diversity power-wise, and losing her is a stinging blow to the film.

A Page From DC?


So what should Marvel do with this undercooked Turkey of a superhero movie? Believe it or not, they should take a page from rival studio DC—or rather DC’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

Kevin Fiege needs to pull a David Zaslav and write the Thunderbolts off as a loss (much like we saw with Batgirl). With the film’s release recently being pushed back to mid-2025, there is plenty of time for Marvel to replace Thunderbolts with something better.

Better Concepts Available

hailee steinfeld hawkeye

Maybe a multiverse story with a similar style team. The universe-hopping Exiles—a team of mutants made up of members from all different universes—would work perfectly.

It could even be another way to integrate mutants into the MCU. Or Marvel could fast-track the Young Avengers movie they teased at the end of The Marvels.

Either concept would give the studio another team to work with other than the main Avengers and would be a much better choice than Thunderbolts.