David Harbour Teases A 'Big Bomb' In The Thunderbolts Movie, But What Could It Mean? [Exclusive]

Marvel's "Thunderbolts" movie is still over a year away, but that won't stop Marvel fans — and the team here at /Film — from speculating about what the introduction of the "Suicide Squad"-like group of ragtag antiheroes will mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. There have been plenty of early theories swirling around about the group that includes Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour), Ava Starr (Hannah John-Kamen), John Walker (Wyatt Russell), and Antonia Dreykov (Olga Kurylenko), but Harbour is apparently ready to throw a metaphorical bomb into all of them.

/Film's Bill Bria spoke with Harbour ahead of his upcoming film "Violent Night," and managed to squeeze in a question about the "Thunderbolts" film. When asked about the movie, in which he plays Alexei aka Red Guardian, Harbour says that he hasn't read the full script yet, but that there's something huge that Marvel fans can look forward to. "They pitched me sort of the general arc of the story," Harbour said, explaining that the film starts shooting next year. "The story's really cool. It's unexpected. As it ends a big phase of Marvel, there is a big bomb that we universe-drop in the movie that's really cool."

To be clear, Harbour is using the term "universe-drop" as a verb here, which we assume means something major happens that will impact the whole MCU. There are several Marvel projects ahead of "Thunderbolts," including season 2 of "Loki," "Agatha: Coven of Chaos," and "Captain America: New World Order," among others. That means it's tough to guess what kind of game-changer Harbour is hinting at, but given that "Thunderbolts" was originally planned as the last film of Phase 5 before "Blade" switched up its release date, there's a chance this really could be something big.

What is a 'universe-drop'?

In Marvel comics, the Thunderbolts have had a rather complicated history, sometimes appearing as hero types and other times playing for the villains' side under Baron Zemo, Norman Osborn, or Wilson Fisk, depending on the arc. Right now, most of the characters we've been introduced to on the Thunderbolts team are more in the antihero gray area than full-blown supervillain territory, but given that all three of the aforementioned bad guys have now appeared in the MCU, it's possible the Thunderbolts could become the Masters of Evil under the guidance of a returning mastermind.

Would that be a universe drop, though? It would be more like the Thunderbolts story we know told in a different order. "It'll be really exciting just on that universe level to have that thing," Harbour says cryptically of the "unexpected" part of "Thunderbolts." Unless he's overstating the matter, this seems like a surprise that will have far-reaching effects on the future of the MCU, not just the Thunderbolts themselves. Of course, everything we see from Marvel in the next few years will be moving towards "Avengers: Kang Dynasty," the film titled after Jonathan Majors' villain who first appeared in "Loki" last year. Could Kang be involved in the "Thunderbolts" twist? We'll have to wait and see.

Aside from "universe-drops," Harbour says we can expect "different variations on [the] relationship" between Alexei and Yelena (Florence Pugh), who we last saw together in "Black Widow." Plus, he says, the story has something going for it that appeals to him: "The story itself is a great story about a bunch of losers. And I like stories like that."

"Thunderbolts" will hit theaters on July 26, 2024.