MCU’s Thunderbolts movie is just preparing The Dark Avengers

Thunderbolts of 2024, the latest MCU Phase 5 film, prepares the Marvel Cinematic Universe adaptation of the “Dark Avengers” story arc. That said, preparation for Dark Avengers’ film debut could also begin as early as the first Phase 5 Secret Invasion MCU series. That’s because Marvel Comics’ “Secret Invasion” ends with the formation of the Dark Illuminati, a crucial turning point in the evolution of the Thunderbolts, and the birth of the Dark Avengers – a move that, if repeated in the MCU, could define whether the Thunderbolt they are good or bad in their representation on the screen.

Inspired by a joke from a henchman about the Masters of Evil replacing the Avengers, Zemo transformed his team of supervillains into fake heroes known as Thunderbolts, with the aim of gaining the trust of the public and authorities for Zemo’s personal gain. . When Thunderbolts members began enjoying public flattery and turning into legitimate superheroes, Zemo blackmailed them and exposed his evil plans, resulting in the Thunderbolts first split. Over the years, Marvel’s first team of anti-heroes has been led by a variety of heroes and villains, each of whom have imposed their own respective agendas on members. More than a decade later, “Secret Invasion” saw Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts level up after Osborn killed Queen Skrull and ended the invasion. Officially, Osborn disbanded SHIELD and the Thunderbolts Initiative to form HAMMER, Osborn’s super-powered law enforcement agency. In reality, however, Osborn simply turned the Thunderbolts into the Dark Illuminati’s personal black operations team, aka the Cabal. Together with Victor Von Doom, Emma Frost, Loki, Hood and other criminals, the Osborn Illuminati fostered cooperation between villains, in exchange for the powerful Avengers of HAMMER who looked like real heroes to the public.

Echoing Zemo’s original Thunderbolts scheme, Osborn’s Mighty Avengers have recruited villains disguised as popular superheroes and unstable heroes like Sentry, Ares, Wolverine Daken’s son, Noh-Varr, and Osborn himself as Iron Patriot – the original Dark Avengers. Although the future of Norman Osborn’s MCU remains uncertain after its release in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Thunderbolts’s MCU debut itself already begins the Dark Avengers MCU’s story arc. Aside from the two Marvel teams who essentially share the exact same premise – villains and morally gray heroes with their programs working for the government – the Dark Avengers are actually born of the Thunderbolts, who technically also gave birth to the Dark Illuminati. Many have wondered whether the Thunderbolts are good or bad in the MCU and ultimately, the answer will depend on who will lead the Thunderbolts if Norman Osborn doesn’t return in time for the movie. While the Thunderbolts are an engaging group, the Dark Avengers’ potential for the future of the MCU is vast, and so it makes sense that the franchise looks to move in that direction.

Are the Thunderbolts evil in the MCU?

Thematically, the Thunderbolts are the anti-avengers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re evil. This just means that the Thunderbolts character list is as broad and varied as Earth’s mightiest heroes. While the Avengers represent traditional superheroes, Thunderbolts allowed Marvel to tackle heroism from angles that are impossible to do with its traditional teams. In the hands of Zemo, Wilson Fisk, or Norman Osborn, the Thunderbolts were a corrupt, fascist police force for the supervillain elite. However, the Thunderbolts legitimately turned villains into superheroes when led by the likes of Luke Cage, Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, and even Captain America.

Currently, Valentina de Fontaine and Baron Zemo are the two most likely candidates to lead the Thunderbolts, suggesting they will be an evil organization at least for the time being. That said, anyone recruited into the MCU’s Thunderbolts, whether by force or not, will have their own plans to carry out. In any case, as it will take a long wait before the release of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, it appears that the MCU will fill in the apparent lack of a super team with the MCU’s Thunderbolts, potentially leading to the Dark Avengers, and perhaps his version of the Dark Illuminati as well.

Key release dates

  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Release Date: 2022-11-11
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Release date: 2023-02-17
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Release Date: 05-05-2023
  • The Marvels / Captain Marvel 2 Release date: 07-28-2023
  • Captain America: New World Order Release date: 03-05-2024
  • Marvel’s Fantastic Four Release Date: 08-11-2024
  • Avengers: The Kang Dynasty Release date: 2025-05-02
  • Avengers: Secret Wars Release Date: 2025-11-07

MCU’s Thunderbolts movie is just preparing The Dark Avengers – Asian Media Film