In November 2019, we already informed you that the Thunderbolts would appear during Phase 5 of the MCU. Nothing has changed since then, except that an idea germinated in the minds of the fans: Endgame would have already prepared the arrival of the Thunderbolts in the MCU. And we explain how.
Lightning in the comics
While the Avengers are unavailable, in the comics, Baron Zemo decides to surround himself with many villains in order to face the forces that threaten the earth. This team consists in particular of Deadpool, the Punisher, Ghost-Rider, Taskmaster, Norman Osborn, Venom or even the Red Hulk. This group of villains, as we know, would be eligible to appear in Stage 5 of the MCU as an entire film is dedicated to them.
Avengers: Endgame, however, would already have given us a big clue as to how General Ross might become his counterpart in the comics. William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross was last seen in Black Widow (and chronologically at Tony Stark’s funeral), and although he looked completely human at the time, MCU Phase 5 could make a big difference to the character. As? ,Or what? Well, let’s start over.
In Captain America: Civil War, General Ross of Hurt is downright annoying to the superheroes who still and always defy the rules and the law. The civil war over the Sokovia Accords appears to be over, but the WandaVision series has confirmed that the clauses will remain in effect even after Vision’s body is stolen. Ross is also unlikely to change his mind just because Tony Stark is dead.
After the events of WandaVision and the Falcon and the Winter Soldier series, it is even more likely that he will push for better regulation. And what better way to do that than lead a team of alternate heroes (namely the Thunderbolts) to show the Avengers what they’re up to?
Red Hulk in the comics
In the comics, Ross’ alter ego Hulk Red led the Thunderbolts team along with a number of recruited anti-heroes and villains, and even with what little information we have left about the Thunderbolts movie, it already says the latter should be Ross as Include leaders (even if manipulated to form the team).
As in the comics, Ross is very likely the leader of the new little gang, and we get another lead from Endgame.
General Ross in The Incredible Hulk
One intriguing element that could aid his transformation into the Red Hulk is also an intriguing element of Ross’ role in Black Widow. As Natasha Romanoff said, Ross had another heart attack while tracking down her. We do know, however, that he is a man who is characterized by his pride and a complex of superiority that manifests itself in the idea that the Avengers need not be above him (and the laws). The idea that he might succumb to something as “human” as a heart attack, when superheroes resist anything, and some are even immortal, can be quite unbearable for him. In the face of death, Ross could give up his body to become the Red Hulk. It is definitely a possible phase 5 arc.
Basically, when General Ross becomes the Red Hulk, the smartest way to finish your arc in the MCU and bring in the Thunderbolts. He is obsessed with Banner and is known to attend Tony Stark’s funeral in Endgame. The fact that he was present is an important clue to the following, as a leadership position is now to be assumed and the character could very well envision a government sponsored team of superheroes. With Stage 4 already addressing a character from the Hulk’s legacy, namely She-Hulk, the stage is set for Ross to take on the role of Red Hulk in Marvel’s upcoming Thunderbolt film.
By the way, if you ignore it, there is a blue version of the Hulk, and this one is extremely powerful too. You can find out more about this in our previous article.