The superhero studio confirmed that the Oscar-nominated actress will lead the 2024 movie in September at D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. Pugh will reprise her role as Yelena Belova, the little sister of Scarlett Johansson‘s Natasha Romanoff and an assassin from Russia’s Black Widow program.
“I am so gutted that I’m not there in person to say hi, but I am unbelievably excited to be joining this cast,” Pugh told the audience at D23 in a pre-recorded video. She was busy on the set of Dune in Europe, but her costars joined the Disney convention.
Thunderbolts’ plot is largely unknown, but the Marvel comics team was a Suicide Squad-like group of super villains who teamed up. The movie has fewer top-level bad guys and leans more into characters who waver between good and bad.
Pugh will have the company of her fellow Black Widow stars Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster (an assassin who can mirror anyone’s fighting skills), David Harbour as Red Guardian (Russia’s Captain America knockoff) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (A.K.A. Val, a mysterious woman with lots of money). They aren’t isn’t the only familiar faces onboard for the flick.
Stan will return as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier. The Pam & Tommy actor is one of the most senior members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, joining in 2010’s Captain America: The First Avenger. After being broken free of his brainwashing, Bucky is supposed to be one of the good guys, helping out the new Captain America (Anthony Mackie) and redeeming himself after decades as a mindless assassin.
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky butted heads with John Walker/U.S. Agents, played by Wyatt Russell, who is also set to join the Thunderbolts cast. Walker made a deal to work for Val at the end of the 2021 Disney+ series, but it wasn’t clear what kind of jobs she’d ask him to complete.
With Winter Soldier, U.S. Agent and Red Guardian, the Thunderbolts have three men who were the subject of experiments attempting to replicate the super soldier serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America.
Finally, there’s Hannah John-Kamen, who returns as Ava Starr/Ghost after first entering the MCU in 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. The character was perceived as a villain while searching for a cure to her molecular instability but turned out to be one of the good guys.
Marvel is keeping details about how this group ends up together quiet, but here’s everything we know so far about the Thunderbolts: