One of the (only) intriguing movies on Marvel’s slate right now is the villain team-up flick Thunderbolts. It is intriguing in the way Barbie was—an unexpected creative team working in a space you wouldn’t expect to see them, which makes you wonder what the end result might be.
Thunderbolts is being rewritten by Lee Sung Jin and is directed by Jake Schreier—together, they collaborated on Beef. It had been reported, though not confirmed, they were bringing their Beef star Steven Yeun with them to Thunderbolts, which only made it even more interesting, but now, due to scheduling, Yeun has had to drop out of the film.
Thunderbolts was originally slated to come out this summer but due to last year’s dual strikes, it has been delayed to July 2025. Yeun told Variety’s Mark Malkin earlier this week that “time passing and things shifting kind of pulled [him] out of it” and “it took a lot of drafts on email to make sure that I conveyed the sincerity of how sorry I was to have to back out.” Apparently, he still has hopes of starring in a Marvel movie, though he won’t get specific about what character he'd like to play for fear of jinxing his chances. Look, if things don’t turn around for Marvel, they will not say no to anyone with an even halfway decent reputation as an actor who wants to play in their sandbox. They were in the power position last decade, calling all the shots as they ran the table on Hollywood, but things have changed as we approach the mid-point of the 2020s.
In other Marvel news, Captain America 4 added a new writer ahead of what are said to be extensive reshoots. That’s not a good sign. Reshoots have become so common everyone wants to treat this as situation normal, but please point to the time a film undergoing a mid-production reworking has panned out? It always makes a mess. The hope is that Marvel is shifting into a storytelling mode that will get their momentum back, and I still think they’re just one hit movie—probably Deadpool 3—away from a comeback, but there remains an undercurrent of scrambling to find something, anything to hold onto as it is clear Hollywood is undergoing another sea change not unlike we saw at the beginning of the 2010s, when franchises became king and Marvel ruled the world.
It'll be the five-year anniversary of Avengers: Endgame this summer. On the one hand, I cannot believe it’s already been five years, but on the other, it feels like Endgame was a million years ago, we’re so far removed from the consistency of the MCU of that era. Let’s not pretend like every Marvel movie has been dog sh-t, but they’re no longer reliable like they were back then. Can reworking films like Captain America 4 and Thunderbolts save them? Or will it be finally introducing the X-Men to the MCU that does it? Or will Marvel be dead by the end of the decade? They won’t survive another five years like the last five.
Live long and gossip,