Who Are The Thunderbolts? A Guide To Each Member Of The Newest Marvel Team

During Marvel Studios' presentation at this year's D23 Expo, Kevin Feige and co. showed plenty of exciting footage and made some major announcements. One of the biggest revelations from the panel was the official line up for the team featured in "Thunderbolts."

The Phase Five finale, written by "Black Widow" scribe Eric Pearson and directed by "Robot & Frank" filmmaker Jake Schreier, is being called Marvel's answer to "The Suicide Squad." Like DC's reluctant team of villains, the Thunderbolts are also a collection of rogues dabbling in super heroics. However, they started as a front for the Masters of Evil to pose as heroes during a time when the Avengers were presumed dead. Eventually, rather than real villains, the team was made up of reformed evil-doers and other figures looking for redemption. And that seems to be the version we're going to see in the MCU.

Thanks to /Film's Ethan Anderton, who's on the ground at D23, we know exactly who will make up the roster of this debuting team. And as a refresher for True Believers, we'll go down the list and jog your memory so can know the ins and outs of these heavy hitters ahead of their big screen debut as a unit. After all, you can't know the players without a program, right? Without further ado, here's the starting line up for your live-action Thunderbolts!

Winter Soldier

When it comes to redemption in the MCU, James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes is at the very top of the list of people looking for exactly that. Captain America's old friend found himself brainwashed by Arnim Zola and utilized as the top HYDRA assassin throughout the 20th century. Thanks to his pal Steve Rogers, Barnes was able to break free of the mind control and attempt to regain a semblance of a normal life while atoning for all the unspeakable acts that he committed while he was under HYDRA control. As we saw in "Captain America: Civil War," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Falcon and the Winter Soldier," there are varying degrees of success when it comes to his atonement. But with Sebastian Stan set to reprise his role in "Thunderbolts," the Winter Soldier can continue on his path of repentance while doing some good in the world.

U.S. Agent

Following Steve Rogers' "retirement" in "Avengers: Endgame," John Walker of the United States Army's 75th Rangers Regiment was chosen by the American government as the next Captain America in the 2021 Disney+ series "Falcon and the Winter Soldier." 

Portrayed by Wyatt Russell of "22 Jump Street" and "Everybody Wants Some" fame, Walker pursued Karli Morgenthau and the Flag Smashers alongside Lemar Hoskins AKA Battlestar. However, when the pressure to live up to the mantle's legacy started to get to him, Walker took the last remaining dose of Wilfred Nagel's Super Soldier Serum in order to give him the advantage he felt he needed to fully be the new Captain America. But with his newfound strength, he resorted to a much more violent approach to his mission after the death of his partner in the field, which led to Walker brutally murdering a surrendering foreign national in a very public fashion.

By the end of the series, he was stripped of his title and discharged from the army, but Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine approached the disgraced hero with the new codename U.S. Agent and a new mission that we now know to be the Thunderbolts.

Valentina Allegra de Fontaine

Not much is known about the character played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but she's essentially the next generation of Nick Fury. The mysterious woman known as the Contessa works for an organization that is interested in people with superhuman abilities. As we saw in "Falcon and the Winter Soldier," she recruited John Walker to her cause and dubbed him U.S. Agent. Later, we saw her again in "Black Widow" with Yelena Belova in the preset day. De Fontaine caught up with the former Red Room operative at the grave of Natasha Romanoff to give Yelena a new mission. The target was revealed to be Clint Barton and this exchange propelled us right into the events of "Hawkeye." After this, she likely goes off to recruit the rest of the names on this list for her developing team.

Yelena Belova

Speaking of the Contessa's second recruit, it's a no-brainer that Belova would be a part of the Thunderbolts. Florence Pugh's international super spy is likely to take up the mantle of Black Widow after the death of her sister. And though many hoped that she would follow in the footsteps of Natasha Romanoff by pairing up with a partner named Hawkeye, as Yelena and Kate Bishop became very friendly after the events of Bishop and Barton's recent Disney+ show, it's possible that she could still do all of the above as the Multiverse Saga progresses. 

Hopefully with all her new responsibilities as the leader of the Thunderbolts, she'll have time to catch up with her old friend over some mac and cheese with hot sauce. But her cooking skills aren't what make her an ideal leader for this team. While she's looking to leave her past as a brainwashed assassin behind her, Yelena is still a stone cold killer trained by the Red Room when she has to be. 

Red Guardian

With Pugh's Belova onboard, she will likely put in a good word for the next member on the roster because her father figure Alexei Shostakov, aka the Red Guardian, will also be on the team. Played by "Stranger Things" star David Harbour, the crimson-clad shield-wielder was the Soviet Armed Forces' answer to Captain America. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian super soldier was sent deep undercover to pose as an American family man in order to infiltrate and destroy a section of S.H.I.E.L.D. that was controlled by HYDRA. Although, after completing his mission, he ended up in prison until his Black Widow daughters were able to free him years later. It's unclear what he's been up to since the events of "Black Widow," but we're almost certainly going to find out in "Thunderbolts."


In addition to Yelena and Alexei, another figure from Black Widow's past is set to play a part in the Thunderbolts. Fellow Red Room operative Taskmaster is the next person to get a spot on the team. Played by Olga Kurylenko (along with Andy Lister in the suit and Crispin Freeman providing the augmented voice), Antonia Dreykov was freed from her mind control thanks to the Red Dust that also set the other Black Widows free. Now free from her father and the Red Room as a whole, she escaped the events of "Black Widow" to rebuild her life. But with photographic reflexes that allow her to mimic the fighting abilities of any foe, she is sure to make an excellent addition to this ragtag team.


Finally, the last member of the team hails from Scott Lang's corner of the MCU. Following her introduction in "Ant-Man and the Wasp," Hannah John-Kamen will reprise her role as Ava Starr aka Ghost, a former stealth operative of S.H.I.E.L.D. who gained the ability to become intangible after getting caught up in a quantum accident that killed her parents. 

Though Bill Foster did his best to find a cure for his young ward's disease by any means necessary (such as kidnapping his former partner Hank Pym to gain access to the Quantum Tunnel), it was ultimately a returning Janet Van Dyne that was able to stabilize Starr's condition with quantum energy. The last we saw of Ghost, she was fleeing with Foster, so does this mean that her admission to the Thunderbolts includes a membership for Laurence Fishburne as well? Time will tell whether he'll be involved in the film or not, but even without Goliath, the Thunderbolts is still pretty stacked.

"Thunderbolts" will release in theaters on July 26, 2024.