Marvel's Thunderbolts movie rides out its creative storm as MCU film finally starts shooting

A screenshot of the official logo for Marvel Studios' Thunderbolts movie
Marvel's Thunderbolts movie is no longer in development limbo. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Potential spoilers follow for Marvel's Thunderbolts movie.

Marvel star Florence Pugh has confirmed that filming is underway on the studio's embattled Thunderbolts movie.

The Marvel Phase 5 film, which has spent months languishing in development hell, is finally up and running after numerous production delays and cast list revisions. Pugh revealed as much in a tantalizing behind-the-scenes video, which she uploaded to her personal Instagram account, and which was re-shared on Marvel's X/Twitter account.

Fair warning before we go any further: Pugh's video contains mild spoilers for Thunderbolts, which we'll be digging into from this point on. Turn back now if you don't want to know anything about the forthcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) flick.

There aren't any massive plot or character leaks in Pugh's footage – given the tight ship that Marvel runs on all of its projects, the studio would immediately scold her if she revealed anything significant. However, there are a couple of intriguing things to note, which give some hints at what to expect from Thunderbolts.

First, Yelena Belova – the MCU character that Pugh plays – is getting a costume glow-up. At the 0:23 mark, the Black Widow and Hawkeye actor reveals Belova's new outfit, which is essentially a dark gray, tactical/flight/combat/whatever you want to call it suit upgrade on the one she wore in Hawkeye (aka one of the best Disney Plus shows).

Next, Pugh enters an Atlanta stage set to show off... well, something of significance, though we're not privy to what's actually being filmed. Pugh then has a brief chat with director Jack Schreier, who helmed numerous episodes of Netflix's Beef TV series (one of the best Netflix shows, by the way) before she shows us the logo for Thunderbolts once more, which adorns the back of the director's chair.

Interestingly, there's an asterisk next to said logo, which suggests it'll undergo a full name change ahead of release, or that there's a subtitle that Marvel hasn't revealed yet. Could it be Dark Avengers, which isn't just a comic book call-back to Belova's time on this team's roster, but also a marketable title that Marvel can really push during the film's promotional campaign? It's certainly plausible.

Lastly, Pugh treats us to a paused shot of Belova, with her handgun drawn and pointed at someone off-camera, on a TV monitor. Who is she confronting? We'll have to wait for the MCU film to come out, which it's currently slated to do on May 2, 2025.

Three cheers for the end of developmental headaches

A piece of promotional art showing the cast of Marvel's Thunderbolts movie side by side

Thunderbolts will throw a number of quirky MCU characters together in an Avengers-style ensemble movie. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

With principal photography beginning on Thunderbolts almost two years after it was initially announced, Marvel will hope lightning doesn't continue to strike the beleaguered ensemble flick.

in June 2023, Marvel was forced to delay multiple movies due to the Hollywood writers strike, including Thunderbolts. Work didn't restart on the MCU film once that industrial action had ended in September, however. Indeed, the Hollywood actors strike, which began in from July 2023, prevented the entertainment industry from spluttering back to life until last November.

Even then, Marvel's Thunderbolts continued to face issues. In January, less than a year after Invincible's lead voice actor Steven Yeun signed onto Thunderbolts in an undisclosed role (he was later revealed to be playing the extremely powerful superhuman known as Sentry), Yeun's departure from the film engulfed Marvel in another crisis. Yeun cited scheduling conflicts for walking away, and he's reportedly been replaced Top Gun: Maverick's Lewis Pullman as Sentry.

The Bear's Ayo Edibiri, who signed on to appear in January 2023, also dropped out 12 months later for scheduling reasons – the in-demand actor was required to shoot The Bear season 3 from February onwards. It'll reportedly debut on Hulu and Disney Plus in June.

Add the hiring of Joanna Calo (Hacks, BoJack Horseman) to rewrite parts of the scripts penned by Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok, Godzilla vs Kong) and Lee Sung Jin (Beef) into the mix, and Thunderbolts' list of problems is certainly extensive. Now that filming is underway, Marvel will be hoping for less stormy skies in the 14 months between now and the film's likely release.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

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.

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