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Would Marvel be able to pull off a Thunderbolts movie or TV series as part of their Cinematic Universe? Why wouldn’t they be able to? As one of the things I enjoy talking about most, Marvel’s comics and films never seem to end up a dull subject.
I recently did some research and started reading up on the Thunderbolts team, a group of anti-heroes that, like most hero teams, have had significant lineup changes throughout its history.
The current lineup for the Thunderbolts in the comics features Red Hulk, Deadpool, Ghost Rider, Agent Venom, Punisher and Elektra, as part of the Marvel Now! era. Already, you have a handful of familiar, money-making names.
For those of you who don’t know, Red Hulk’s human form is the character of General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross, played by William Hurt in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Although we have yet to see the character morph into Red Hulk form on-screen, at least we already have an established character to work off of.
Also, Samuel Sterns/The Leader is another character in the current run of Thunderbolts. Samuel Sterns was also introduced in The Incredible Hulk (played by Tim Blake Nelson), although again, we never saw him as The Leader. So right there, two characters from the Hulk universe that we’ve already been introduced to.
In 2015, Marvel Studios will be releasing a Daredevil series through Netflix. While Daredevil himself isn’t related to the Thunderbolts, heroine Elektra is. Odds are we are going to see Elektra introduced via the Daredevil series next year, so after 2015 she will have involvement in the Cinematic Universe as well.
As for Ghost Rider and Punisher, they’re in a fairly good spot for Marvel Studios right now. The studio re-gained the rights to both characters (along with Daredevil and Blade) in 2012, and have yet to make any official plans regarding either. Both characters have had two standalone films each, making a so-so amount of money (Ghost Rider’s films made a collective $360 million worldwide, and Punisher’s making $64 million worldwide). Regardless of Box Office numbers, both characters gained a considerable boost in popularity. Maybe the Thunderbolts could be the right way to bring them back to life through Marvel Studios.
Now, the only problems faced with the current lineup would be Deadpool and Agent Venom. Currently, Deadpool’s movie rights reside with 20th Century Fox, as he is part of the X-Men franchise. Same goes for Agent Venom with Sony, who are working to introduce the character to their current Spider-Man films. While movie rights are always a bitch when it comes to comic books, and as sad as it is for both characters to be scrapped for that sole reason, I wouldn’t have a problem seeing characters like Luke Cage, who will be brought into the Cinematic Universe in his own Netflix series as well (he was also a member of the Thunderbolts team at one point). Or what about Blade?
Honestly, the more I talk and think about it, the more I could see the Thunderbolts team being brought to life through a Netflix series from Marvel. Why not? A team like this could benefit from multiple adventures, and could probably be presented in a much more gritty fashion, which is what characters like Ghost Rider and Punisher were meant to appear as. A hero team isn’t out of the question for Marvel and TV, as they’re pooling the upcoming Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones series into one team-up run under the Defenders name.
So all of this isn’t out of the realm of possbility, and it could be a great chance for Marvel to bring back the characters they recently received the rights back to. And who knows, if a show with these characters were to prove successful, it could set up new movies for Punisher, Blade or Ghost Rider, even a team-up film, in the MCU’s Phase 5. Also, James Gunn (director of the upcoming MCU film Guardians of the Galaxy) said a while back that he’d have interest in creating a Thunderbolts movie. So we’ll just have to wait and see what Marvel chooses to do.
What do you think of the Thunderbolts team being introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Written by Josh Sazin on 2/2/14