Marvel's Thunderbolts Teased as Stealth Black Widow Sequel

With the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania next month, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will finally be entering Phase 5 of its storytelling. The crop of movies and Disney+ shows is expected to culminate in Thunderbolts, a 2024 blockbuster that will be based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name. The roster of the live-action Thunderbolts will include a number of established characters — and as a post from one Marvel Studios mainstay hints, it will continue the story of one of Phase 4's first projects. Andy Park, Marvel Studios' Director of Visual Development, recently took to Instagram to share his illustration for the upcoming The Art of Black Widow book.

In the caption, Park joked that, because a number of Black Widow characters will be returning in Thunderbolts, "it's like it's a Black Widow sequel & these these movies are connected or something! ;) It's gonna get interesting 😬"

What is Thunderbolts about?

While plot details are currently a mystery, Thunderbolts is expected to be based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name, an alliance of antiheroes and villains who reluctantly work for the government. Paper Towns' Jake Schreier will direct, with a script from Black Widow's Eric Pearson. Production is expected to begin in the summer of 2023.

The cast of Thunderbolts includes includes Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier, David Harbour as Red Guardian, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Wyatt Russell as John Walker / U.S. Agent, Hannah John-Kamen as Ava Starr / Ghost, Olgya Kurylenko as Taskmaster, and Harrison Ford as Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross. The Bear's Ayo Edebiri will reportedly join the cast in a mystery role. 

Why is Thunderbolts closing out Phase 5 of the MCU?

Marvel fans were surprised to learn at last year's San Diego Comic-Con that Thunderbolts is set to be the final chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 5 of storytelling. Based on comments from Harbour surrounding the project's story, it's easy to see why.

"I have not read a script, but I have been told the arc of the story and how the story goes," Harbour told's Brandon Davis in an exclusive interview late last year. "It's very cool. It's very unique. It also has all this cool action and comedy, from what has been described to me, and then there is a bomb drop thing we add to the universe, which will be very exciting for the movie to do at the end of this particular phase that we're ending."

Are you excited for Marvel's Thunderbolts? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Thunderbolts is scheduled to be released exclusively in theaters on July 26, 2024.