Tuesday, August 05, 2014

WHAT DO I WANT TO DO NEXT? I WANNA' DO THE THUNDERBOLTS! Guardians of The Galaxy Director James Gunn Speaks

When you've turned a bunch of anti-heroes into one of Marvel's biggest on-screen successes with Guardians of the Galaxy, you can pretty much have your pick of keys to the kingdom as to what you will touch next.

However it's not major icons like Punisher, Ghost Rider or Blade Guardians director James Gunn has his eyes on, if anything we wants to go more obscure than his cosmic hit renegades, he wants The Thunderbolts. (Which depending on era, may include ol' Frank, Ghosty and Blade after all).

Saying in an interview with ScreenRant "Thunderbolts? I will tell you, one time I was saying to Kevin [Feige], we were sitting on set together on one of the days he visited and I said, ‘You know, I really want to make Thunderbolts,’ and he said, ‘James, if Guardians does well you'll be able to do whatever you want so we’ll see what happens."

With the original Thunderbolts team (pictured left) marketed as the substitute Avengers, in a world robbed of both Earth's Mightiest Heroes and the Fantastic Four, it's hard not to jump up and down like Batroc the Leaper, at how perfectly writer Kurt Busiek and artist Mark Bagley's premise would snugly fit within Marvel's Avengers based Hollywood offerings.

While these substitute Avengers were really the Masters of Evil in disguise, ready to overthrow an unsuspecting world (both fictional and of a readership caught by surprise), many tried to be heroes before the initial series finished, but to little avail. Could a Thunderbolts film be an 'in' for as yet unused Captain America foe Baron Zemo? Will Songbird, Atlas and Mach V have his back, or would that fall to existing Marvel movie rogues like Batroc, Crossbones, Whiplash, Abomination and The Destroyer? Oh the possibilities.

Other line-ups of the Thunderbolts in comics are all hampered by other movie studios contracts on Marvel characters. Sony currently has the rights to Green Goblin Norman Osborn, Venom, and the alien symbiote's Thunderbolt era 'host' Mac Gargin - The Scorpion. Still, a Marvel heavy-hitters team of unused villains hunting down the Avengers in a similar Civil War/hero registration backdrop is also a possibility. Bullseye would allow a crossover between Marvel Studios and Netflix, as would Luke Cage, the Avenger who was sent to be 'warden' over one of the best Thunderbolt runs - although his 'prisoner' the Juggernaut would be ruled out by X-Men right holder Fox.

Then of course there's the current anti-heroes line-up mentioned above with Punisher, Elektra, Deadpool (Fox has him too), Red Hulk (aka Thunderbolt Ross), the new secret agent Venom (still Sony) and Ghost Rider. These guys are too big, and I seriously think Marvel would want to get a Punisher solo film the kind of audience it should have, before teaming him up in any way.

Me, while no amount of Luke Cage on TV or big screen will ever be enough, I'd like Gunn (if allowed to take the 'Bolts forward), to stick as close to the original premise as possible and follow the story of Hawkeye jumping ship from the Avengers to snatch the Thunderbolts that like playing hero from under Zemo's nose.

Leaving the glory boys for the 'Bolts would highlight Clint's character and give the beleaguered bowman more of a slice of the Marvel Studios pie than he has received so far. To increase the 'awesome' I'd throw in the best surprise characters from other comic iterations of the team, like Ghost and Troll, who would really be something in 3D.

 What do you think? 


  1. This is such a good idea. I loved that comic like sweet death when it came out. That final page was one of the best surprises I have had in a long time of reading comics. And you are right, you can mix and match the time and add that movie between Avengers 2 and 3 when a NEW group of Avengers steps up and learn what it means to be heroes. I have it already written in my head.

  2. You and me both Kal - maybe we should compare notes and submit a pitch. What do you say?

  3. Could work... but might be better suited for tv/cable. I definitely agree with dan about someone from the big leagues like Cage, do that, or Hawkeye...

  4. The hardest part of the pitch is figuring out a way to disguise the villains until the final reveal. This is a two parter or three parter at least with redemption being the goal of the film. You could just introduce a whole new group of heroes to replace the Avengers and then work the story from there. Venom is a good first start because we know who he is and to see him go from hero to VENOM that we know at the end would be like a 'No Luke, I am your Father' moment. Then we see the arms come out of Doctor Octopus' backpack which we haven't seen all movie. End the movie with Baron Zemo laughing with Crossbones after they finish their run in the next Captain America movie and you got the sequel ready to go.