Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been shooting in the San Francisco area the last few weeks, and the most recent sequence that was shot there may be one of the most pivotal. That sequence involved a major criminal kidnapping or assassination attempt on some world leaders, with a new female team of Marvel villains seemingly making their debut. The few details about this mystery crew of bad girls (who may be Marvel's The Grapplers), actually point to a much bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe property taking shape. That's because The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is dropping more and more evidence that Marvel's Thunderbolts is on the way!
If you don't know, The Thunderbolts are a team of Marvel's "B" and C-list villains that reinvent themselves as a new team of superheroes. The first team was built by Baron Helmut Zemo who rallied his former colleagues from the Masters of Evil to embark on this faux superhero scheme, following the supposed deaths of The Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four. The goal was to pose as heroes long enough to gain the clout and influence to be given access to all the secrets various superheroes and covert organizations like S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to keep out of villain hands. That first scheme fizzled when the "dead" heroes returned, and Zemo was forced to expose the truth about the Thunderbolts to the world. Later iterations of the team went on the run as fugitives; served as a place for redemption for villains that wanted to do better; or served as an officially government-sanctioned team, led by General Thunderbolt Ross / Red Hulk (to name a few).
Based on the details of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier's story that we've seen, it seems like The Thunderbolts could be a natural and organic continuation of the story this first Marvel Disney+ series tells. That story will revolve around Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson / Falcon trying to take up the mantle of Captain America, only to find out that process is a lot more challenging than he ever would've thought. The government seemingly sponsors a different replacement for Cap in US Agent, who may also come with his own government-sponsored "Bucky" sidekick (Battlestar). Assuming Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes manage to take ownership of the Captain America mantle by the end of the series, it wouldn't be too crazy if the government went ahead and tried to create an entire replacement Avengers team in The Thunderbolts.0comments
Similarly, with Helmut Zemo returning for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier after the events of Captain America: Civil War, there's plenty of room for the classic Thunderbolts origin to play out. The MCU Zemo is a master of black-ops manipulation designed to destabilize governments - a talent he's now turned towards destabilizing the entire superhero world. What better way to do that than by creating his own superhero team to replace The Avengers?
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1st, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier August 20th, The Eternals on November 6th, WandaVision on December 20th, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Marvel Studios Disney+ series without release dates include Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.