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Marvel’s ‘Thunderbolts': Florence Pugh, Sebastian Stan and David Harbour to Lead Antihero Team Up

Some other familiar bad-good guys also join the cast

Marvel has unveiled the cast of its upcoming “Thunderbolts” movie, and it’s exactly who we expected (and we’re not complaining).

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the Suicide Squad — don’t hate, we’re just describing facts here — will be staffed by Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Red Guardian (David Harbour), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell) and Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen).

And to top it off, as suggested by her machinations in “Black Widow” and “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is around, likely as the team’s handler. Which makes sense. You wouldn’t keep having her show up like Samuel L. Jackson used to do unless she’s gonna be the new Nick Fury.

You’ve seen all these characters before: Yelena debuted in “Black Widow” as Natalie’s sister while David Harbour’s Red Guardian appeared in that film as their Russian father figure; Bucky, of course, has been an MCU staple since “Captain America: The First Avenger”; Taskmaster was the “villain” of “Black Widow” but ultimately ended up being under some form of mind control; U.S. Agent debuted in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” as the government-approved replacement for Captain America; and Ghost was the Big Bad with a tragic backstory in “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

Created by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley in 1997, Thunderbolts were introduced as a new group of heroes to replace the Avengers, believed to be dead at the time. It turned out they were all actually evil and working for Baron Zemo — but eventually they rebelled against Zemo and became good guys, or tried to anyway, under the leadership of Clint Barton/Hawkeye.

The lineup has changed over the years but generally the team is always made up of antiheroic characters capable of redemption. The Marvel Cinematic Universe version doesn’t yet have any actual villain-villains on the team, unless of course U.S. Agent does a full face-heel turn. But we fully expect Marvel will eventually announce the return of Zemo (Daniel Brühl); how could they not, after his weird awkward club dancing won the hearts of fans everywhere?

The news was announced Saturday during Marvel’s portion of D23 Expo 2022.

Jake Schreier is set to direct with Eric Pearson (“Black Widow”) writing the script. Kevin Feige is producing. The film is set for July 26, 2024.