Who Will Be the Villain of Marvel’s Thunderbolts?
Marvel’s Thunderbolts is gearing up to be another exciting entry into the ever-expanding MCU. However, who will be the main villain in the film?
Marvel’s version of The Suicide Squad is coming in July 2024. Thunderbolts are a group of supervillains recruited to go on missions for the government. Unfortunately, not much is known regarding the details of the film. Besides the lineup of the supervillain team, the only other known fact is that it will be the closing film of Phase 5. Including an announcement of Steven Yeun joining the cast, the pieces of the film are starting to fall into place. However, with the cast being assembled, certain questions remain unanswered.
From what viewers know about the film, a member of the team seems to be missing. Will Daniel Brühl’s villainous Baron Zemo make an appearance? The character has been involved in numerous actions of villainy in the universe. Zemo is someone who is good at being behind the scenes and pulling strings. His actions in Captain America: Civil War showcased his superior villainous intellect. The lack of conversation regarding him in the film could be for a specific purpose. Zemo could be an “enemy” that the Thunderbolts must take down. On the other hand, he might not be the only enemy the team has to face.
Thunderbolts Needs to Introduce Sentry
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to introduce its version of Superman. Since Thunderbolts will end Phase 5, it is a perfect place to introduce Sentry. Phase 5, at its core, must focus on establishing the menace of Kang the Conquerer and new heroes to fight him. With Thunderbolts closing Phase 5, each film needs to solidify Kang as a threatening presence. Thunderbolts could show Sentry being a potential asset. The delivery of Sentry has tremendous promise, especially with the film that precedes Thunderbolts.
Captain America: New World Order is set to be released right before Thunderbolts. While the film will deal with Sam Wilson becoming a respected hero, it should also deal with him facing opposition. Those in power could view Sam as a weak hero who cannot truly protect the American people. A character like Thunderbolt Ross (Harrison Ford) could look into creating a hero they can control. Sentry needs to be the government’s alternative hero to the likes of Sam’s Captain America. The story should include numerous action sequences that showcase the power of Sentry. Once those in power see he cannot be stopped, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine needs to intervene. Having her appear, even in an after-credits sequence, would be a perfect set-up for Thunderbolts.
Thunderbolts should begin with the government being out of options in stopping Sentry. Having no options will leave them with having to send in the Thunderbolts to try and stop him. Simultaneously, Sentry must be on the run from all those chasing him. Having Sentry in hiding would be a perfect way to introduce Zemo in the story. Zemo’s manipulative personality could put Sentry in a subservient position. Having these two characters team up could lead to a brutal third-act battle.
Baron Zeme Needs to Pull the Strings
Baron Zemo broke The Avengers apart over the events of Captain America: Civil War. In Thunderbolts, Zemo needs to take his mission a step further. With how the system mistreated him, Zemo will want to tear it all down. He could see the character of Sentry as his “golden ticket” to enact his master plan. Making Thunderbolts the sole opposition would create real-world stakes. This group of misfits may not truly have what it takes to save the world.
By the time of the film, the next Avengers team should not be assembled. Instead, Thunderbolts should focus on these villains working together to become a “team.” Zemo needs to put them through a psychological gambit, with their only chance of victory being through death. While the film should end with them learning to work together, the Thunderbolts should still lose. Zemo needs to come out thinking he has won and conquered the planet. The real victory of the film needs to be Zemo and Sentry thinking they have won, only to be stopped by the arrival of a menacing conqueror.
Both Baron Zemo and Sentry need to come face-to-face with Kang the Conquerer. Zemo and Sentry’s actions have to leave the floodgates open for Kang to conquer Earth. The interactions between these characters could be humorous but also terrifying. Kang’s persuasive powers could win over both Zemo and Sentry and see the promise of both characters, making them potential assets in his army. This could also be the moment at which Sentry becomes a hero. Either way would be a logical set-up for the universe to unite against Kang the Conquerer. The Thunderbolts could be another asset in the universal war against this tyrant.
There can be more than one villain within the Thunderbolts. This group of villains needs to learn how to become an actual team. One of the few ways they can learn is by losing against a nearly unbeatable threat (Sentry). Even if the team loses, the emotional crux of the story can be that they learned to work together. Their loss leaves the door open for the Kang Dynasty to reign supreme. Instead of just one villain in Thunderbolts, the potential is there for multiple antagonists. At the same time, the film can establish a team and point out a clear direction for the MCU’s future.