Marvel Studios has reportedly cast Invincible's lead voice actor Steven Yeun in its forthcoming Thunderbolts movie.
According to Deadline (opens in new tab), the Oscar-nominated star has joined the Marvel Phase 5 movie in an undisclosed role. However, the outlet suggests that Yeun has not only been cast as a major player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film, but that he'll feature prominently in other upcoming Marvel projects.
Yeun's star has been on the rise in Hollywood in recent years. Since leaving The Walking Dead in 2016, Yeun has featured in plenty of popular movies and TV shows. Those include Invincible – he'll voice Mark Grayson again in Invincible season 2 later this year – on Prime Video, Jordan Peel's Nope, and A24 drama Minari, for which he earned a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination in 2021.
Marvel declined to comment when Deadline reached out regarding Yeun's supposed casting. Given Deadline's track record for breaking news about MCU hires, though, it's all but confirmed that Yeun is the latest big-name star to join Marvel's cinematic juggernaut.
Yeun's casting in Thunderbolts will add to a busy 18-month period for him. Aside from Invincible season 2, Yeun is set to star in Netflix comedy-drama series Beef, which arrives in March. Looking further ahead, he'll also feature in Bong-Joon Ho's latest feature, Mickey 17, opposite The Batman's Robert Pattinson, due out sometime in 2024.
Yeun joins a stacked cast list for Marvel's Thunderbolts movie. Billed as an anti-hero film in the vein of Warner Bros' The Suicide Squad, Thunderbolts already counts Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastien Stan), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Red Guardian (David Harbour), and Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) among its packed lineup. Harrison Ford is also on board, with the legendary actor set to take over from the late William Hurt as General Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross in the MCU.
The superhero movie, which is currently slated to release in July 2024, is being helmed by Paper Towns' Jake Schreier. Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok, Black Widow) is penning the script, with filming reportedly due to get underway in mid-2023.
From playing one Invincible superhero to another
With no official confirmation on who he'll play in the MCU, Yeun could portray any number of fan-favorite characters from the comics. However, Marvel fans already think they've cracked the case, with many suggesting he'll play the true villain of the piece.
Potentially major spoilers follow for Thunderbolts. Turn back now unless you want the surprise ruined for you.
EXCLU: After facing off with aliens in NOPE and zombies in THE WALKING DEAD, Steven Yeun is now ready to face off against some superheroes in the MCU as he has joined Marvel's THUNDERBOLTS pic in a secret role expected to be significant in future films https://t.co/6XjI6vHtPjFebruary 23, 2023
According to multiple industry insiders, Sentry – real name Robert Reynolds – has secretly been installed as the movie's primary antagonist.
In the comics, Reynolds is a middle-aged, overweight man who, after suffering a bout of amnesia, remembers that he's actually an extremely powerful superhero named Sentry. When he realizes that his archenemy – The Void – is about to return to take over the world, Sentry tries to enlist the aid of his fellow Marvel superheroes. The likes of Spider-Man, Hulk, and Mister Fantastic, though, fail to recognize him.
Long story short, Sentry and The Void are two halves of the same person, i.e., they both exist in Reynolds' head. To stop The Void last time, Sentry erased his memory (and those of everyone else on Earth) to prevent its return. Think of what happened in the third act of Spider-Man: No Way Home, where everyone forgot that Peter Parker was the webslinger, and you'll get the idea.
Sentry's inclusion in Thunderbolts would make for fascinating viewing. Given that he's both a superhero and a supervillain, Sentry could start the movie working alongside the film's anti-heroes. He's an incredibly powerful individual, so he might be used by the US government as a way of keeping the rest of the team in check on whatever mission they're sent on.
However, in what would be a clever twist, Sentry could become the movie's main villain. If The Void takes over Reynolds' mind – thus pushing Sentry to the sidelines – it would be up to Bucky and company to try and stop him. Pitting a collection of complicated characters against a hugely formidable foe, thereby forcing them to learn to work together to save the world, would be a fun and somewhat novel heel-turn for an MCU project. And, given that Deadline claims Yeun's MCU character will appear in future productions, it means he should survive events depicted in Thunderbolts, making it a rare occurrence where Marvel doesn't kill off its villain after a single appearance.
Casting Yeun as Reynolds/Sentry/The Void would also give the talented actor plenty to sink his teeth into. Seeing Yeun play a complex, insecure superhero who's mentally pulled in multiple directions, allowing him to show off his impressive acting range? Sign us up, Marvel.
For more MCU-based coverage, find out how to watch the Marvel movies in order. Additionally, read up on the best Marvel movies, or get the lowdown on what we know about Guardians of the Galaxy 3.