Update: speaking to Variety, Steven Yeun confirmed he had officially stepped away from Thunderbolts. The actor cited the 2023 Hollywood actors and writers strikes, plus scheduling conflicts, as the reasons behind his decision to depart.
"I think for me, time passing and things shifting kind of pulled me out of it," Yeun revealed. "But [director] Jake [Schreier], I know, is going to do an incredible job. 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."
However, Yeun has left the door open on appearing in the MCU some time in the future, adding: "I wanna do a Marvel movie."
Original story follows.
Steven Yeun has walked away from Marvel's Thunderbolts movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR).
The trade publication claims that Yeun will not appear in the forthcoming film, with sources close to the project suggesting he won't be joining the likes of Sebastien Stan and Florence Pugh in the Marvel Phase 5 movie.
Yeun was said to have joined the Thunderbolts' cast in February 2023, with the Invincible star reportedly signing on in an undisclosed role. At the time, we suggested that Yeun would be perfect for one particular role in the superhero flick – that being the superpowered individual known as Sentry – but it appears our wish won't be granted.
Marvel never confirmed Yeun's involvement in Thunderbolts, so it's incredibly unlikely that the studio will comment on whether he's actually left the project. Even so, we've reached out to Marvel for an official statement and we'll update this article if we hear back.
Yeun, who got his big break in AMC's live-action adaptation of The Walking Dead, will be next seen (or, rather, heard) when he reprises his role as Mark Grayson in Invincible season 2 part 2, which is expected to debut on Prime Video sometime in early 2024.
New year, same old problems for Marvel
Given the seemingly never-ending cycle of negative press it endured throughout last year, Marvel will have been delighted to see the back of 2023. However, with Yeun's reported departure, the Disney subsidiary's hopes that 2024 might turn the Marvel Cinematic Universe's (MCU) fortunes back around have hit a snag just three days into the new year.
After numerous delays due to the 2023 Hollywood writers and actors strikes, Thunderbolts was expected to start filming in early 2024. Yeun's departure complicates matters, however, especially with Sentry reportedly set to play a prominent role in the movie. If Marvel wants to get the ball rolling on principal photography shortly, it'll need to move quickly to hire someone new for the role; if it fails to do so, Thunderbolts' current July 25, 2025 release date might be in peril.
Yeun's withdrawal from the film's roster is far from the only casting issue Marvel has dealt with recently. Ahead of the 2023 festive season, Marvel fired Kang actor Jonathan Majors after he was convicted of domestic abuse, which has thrown the studio's multiversal plans into disarray. On top of that, rumors continue to swirl about who has actually been cast in Marvel's highly anticipated Fantastic Four movie reboot, with The Last of Us star Pedro Pascal the latest actor to hold talks over the role of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic.
Should Marvel be forced to delay Thunderbolts' filming schedule and launch date due to Yeun's departure, it'll be the latest in a long line of planning issues for the comic book giant. Deadpool 3 is the only Marvel movie that'll launch in theaters in 2024 due to last year's industrial action, with numerous MCU movies, including Thunderbolts, pushed into 2025 and beyond. On the TV front, only three Marvel shows are currently confirmed for Disney Plus this year, with Echo leading the charge as soon as January 9 in the US (January 10 in the UK and Australia).
You might also like
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.
Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.
Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.