Thunderbolts cast updates: Who’s in the MCU film? (And where you’ve seen them before)

Taskmaster in Marvel Studios' BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Taskmaster in Marvel Studios' BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

The Thunderbolts are coming to the MCU and now we know the cast of the upcoming film. Where have you seen them before?

The Thunderbolts are coming! Marvel Studios confirmed that a project involving the titular team of heroes was in development at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year but it was pretty clear we were heading in that direction for some time now.

Two projects in Phase Four have teased the debut of the team through the arrival of Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, but it was unclear whether it would be a film or a Disney Plus series that sees her officially assemble her team of antiheroes. That is, until the Thunderbolts movie was officially announced at SDCC.

Adding to the excitement, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed the cast for the movie at the D23 Fan Expo event, and let’s just say that we’ve seen them all before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And that alone has driven up the excitement for the project.

Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova

Florence Pugh Marvel appearances: Black WidowHawkeye

Yelena Belova wasted little time stealing the hearts of MCU fans when she debuted in Black Widow. The sister of Natasha Romanoff, she helped Black Widow take down the Red Room once and for all, and freed the Widows from Dreykov.

Her return in Thunderbolts isn’t surprising. We found out in the post-credits scene of Black Widow that she was working for Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who assigned her to kill Clint Barton. She ultimately decided against doing that in Hawkeye when she learned that he did not kill her sister, and that might leave her and Valentina’s relationship in something of a precarious position.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier season 1, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier season 1 episode 1, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 6, Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU, Bucky Barnes, Is Bucky Barnes bi?, Sebastian Stan, Thunderbolts
Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier

Sebastian Stan Marvel appearances: Captain America: The First AvengerCaptain America: The Winter SoldierAnt-ManCaptain America: Civil WarBlack PantherAvengers: Infinity WarAvengers: EndgameThe Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Bucky Barnes has been a staple of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its early days, but his evolution from Steve Rogers’ best friend to the formidable Winter Soldier saw him become one of its greatest villains. With those days behind him, Bucky now seeks to redeem himself for all of the atrocities he was forced to commit by Hydra. But it seems like a normal life isn’t on the cards for him, as he will now join the Thunderbolts alongside old frenemy John Walker.

Sebastian Stan is one of the MCU’s most popular actors and fans have been eagerly awaiting his return since 2021’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Now we finally know when that will be.

Wyatt Russell as John Walker / US Agent

Wyatt Russell Marvel appearances: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

John Walker has been a divisive character since his MCU debut in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Originally deemed the second Captain America, he took over the mantle after Steve Rogers and, though he hoped to carry on that legacy, he struggled to do that, instead becoming everything Steve wasn’t. He did manage to redeem himself somewhat in the end, assisting new Captain America Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in stopping the Flag Smashers.

Like Pugh, Wyatt Russell’s return in Thunderbolts isn’t surprising given that Walker also crossed paths with Valentina in the past. It was Valentina who gave him his new costume and renamed him US Agent, telling him that she would be in touch with him. Well, it appears that’s exactly what she does.

David Harbour as Red Guardian

David Harbour Marvel appearances: Black Widow

Alexei Alanovich Shostakov may have failed his two surrogate daughters in their younger lives, but when they broke him out of prison in Black Widow, he learned a lot about them, himself and the importance of this found family he once didn’t understand. And with that, the Red Guardian was reborn and helped Natasha, Yelena and Melina take down the Red Room.

Fans were pleasantly surprised to see Red Guardian’s return announced for Thunderbolts. While the hope was that Harbour would be involved in a future MCU project, his name wasn’t commonly associated with this one, but it will reunite him with Florence Pugh and that is one of the best things about it.

Thunderbolts, Thunderbolts cast, Ghost
Marvel Studios ANT-MAN AND THE WASP..Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018 /

Hannah John-Kamen as Ava Starr / Ghost

Hannah John-Kamen Marvel appearances: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ava Starr had the ability to phase through solid objects and it made her a pretty formidable antagonist to both Ant-Man and the Wasp. Unfortunately, it was the result of an experiment gone wrong that was slowly killing her. And that took her down a dark path that almost saw her kill Janet van Dyne, but the original Wasp instead managed to save her, giving her a second chance at life.

Ghost has only had one MCU appearance thus far (and it was a pretty recent one, too) but she did make an impression on audiences, with a lot of fans hoping for her return one day in a project that would fully explore her potential. Thunderbolts might just be that project.

Olga Kurilenko as Antonia Dreykov / Taskmaster

Olga Kurilenko Marvel appearances: Black Widow

The villain of Black Widow it seemed, Taskmaster was a reminder of one of Natasha Romanoff’s biggest regrets. Antonia Dreykov was severely injured in Black Widow’s attack on Dreykov’s house, resulting in her father experimenting on her and turning her into a weapon. Natasha did everything she could to right that wrong, ultimately freeing Antonia from her father’s evil grip.

Olga Kurilenko didn’t have a lot of screen-time in Black Widow as Taskmaster wore the mask for the majority of her appearances, but she did shine whenever we saw her. Antonia is full of undiscovered potential, so hopefully Thunderbolts gives her the spotlight she deserves.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Marvel appearances: The Falcon and the Winter SoldierBlack Widow

Valentina’s debut in the MCU was supposed to come in Black Widow but the constant delaying of that movie due to the pandemic resulted in her arrival in the Disney Plus series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier airing first. In hindsight, this was probably a better debut, as it gave the non-comic book fans a better introduction to her character and what she did.

Dreyfus’ involvement in the film was always a given due to Valentina overseeing the Thunderbolts, so it wasn’t a surprise to see her featured on the artwork revealed at D23. It will be great to see Valentina in a much greater capacity than we have thus far, as well as seeing what she’s actually like as a leader.

Thunderbolts is released in movie theaters on July 26, 2024.

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Are you excited about the Thunderbolts cast? Let us know in the comments below!