One of the main plotlines of 2021’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was who would take up Steve Rogers’ shield and become the new Captain America. After Steve handed the iconic hardware to Sam Wilson at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Sam decided the shield was better served as a memorial instead of a mantle. The U.S. government didn’t see it that way, and took the shield Sam willingly handed over and bestowed it upon John Walker. Walker, played by Wyatt Russell, quickly caved under the pressure of being Captain America, and went completely over the edge after taking the Super Soldier Serum.
Following a dishonorable discharge from the military, Walker was recruited by the mysterious Valentina Allegra de Fontaine to join a covert ops team as the U.S. Agent. The move seemingly sets the stage for the upcoming Thunderbolts film, which will be released in 2024 as the culmination of the MCU’s Phase 5. Thunderbolts will focus on a team of super villains and anti-heroes, categories that John Walker certainly fits into. Even though his character seems like a slam-dunk for Thunderbolts, Russell recently told The Digital Fix that Marvel has yet to reach out to him about being part of the film:
“I’m still waiting. I know they’re doing it. I know that they’re planning it. I gotta imagine that there’s something in there for me. But yeah, until you get that true actual prompt, like, ‘Okay, this is your start date. And this is when you’re coming, and this is when you rent your house, and this is when logistically you need to start setting up to do these things.’ That’s when I shift my mindset to going to do that, you know? Other than that, before you get that call, things can change on a dime, you never know.”
The Directing Choice for Thunderbolts Could Lead to Russell’s Inclusion
Thunderbolts was officially announced during Marvel’s massive San Diego Comic-Con panel, with a release date being set for July 26, 2024. While it has yet to be confirmed by Marvel, it was recently reported that Jake Schreier had been tapped to direct the film after impressing executives with his pitch. Schreier’s hiring is another strong sign that Russell will be part of Thunderbolts, as the pair previously worked together on the AMC series Lodge 49. In the same interview with The Digital Fix, Russell explained why he felt Marvel made the right choice in bringing Schreier in for Thunderbolts:
“I’m so biased, but like you couldn’t have dreamt of a better person. He has such a tender quality to who he is as a person. But I think in all of his movies, like Robot and Frank, like his way of dealing with relationships is always great. I think his structures are always on point. He’s professional. He’s amazing at filtering ideas, listening to opinions, making the best decisions for the movie, listening to all the voices in the room, but holding power as the filmmaker.”
That’s certainly some high praise from Russell, which should excite fans who may have never heard of Schreier before he was revealed as the choice to direct Thunderbolts. The director has mostly handled smaller films and episodes of television throughout his career, so it will be a tall task to not only helm a Marvel film but one that’s expected to have a large ensemble cast. Although no official cast members have been announced for Thunderbolts, D23 in September could be the place where Marvel reveals the villains who will be teaming up in 2024.