Thunderbolts is still over a year away from its premiere, but Marvel continues releasing more details every couple of months. The newest detail lists Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead, Invinicble) playing Marvel’s Superman equivalent. Coincidentally, Thunderbolts premieres a month before James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy, giving Marvel its own Superman character before DC’s new cinematic universe. That’s probably not intentional. It’s also unlikely that Thunderbolts is falling into the same trap as David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.

The Sentry coming to the MCU is a big deal, because there’s a lot that filmmakers can do with his character. Sentry is a major force in the Marvel Universe. He also has friendships with major Marvel names such as Reed Richards, which the MCU can display with The Fantastic Four on its way into the MCU as well. However, fans have seen this before with Suicide Squad, in which the main villain was also a super-powered being well above the team’s pay-grade. That’s not the only similarity, though, and Marvel needs to avoid making the same mistakes.

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Who is Sentry?


Paul Jenkins, Jae Lee, Rick Veitch

First Appearance

The Sentry #1 (September 2000)

Alter Ego

Robert Reynolds


Superhuman strength, speed, intelligence, energy projection, flight, and psionics


The Void

Robert Reynolds was living his life one day, when memories of him fighting crime climbed back into his mind. He had no recollection of doing the great things his memories showed him, but he knew they were as real as he was. The Sentry is such a powerful character that to survive his existence, the world had to forget about him. When Reynolds started remembering his life as a superhero, he also felt the presence of his archnemesis emerging. He immediately made a plea to the Avengers and The Fantastic Four, who didn’t remember him at first, but their memories started coming back.

Mr. Fantastic remembered Robert Reynolds not just fighting alongside the Fantastic Four as the Sentry, but he also remembered Reynolds being his best friend. Along with this realization came the bombshell that the Sentry was his own worst enemy, and a reality-ending threat to the universe known as the Void. The Void is a shape-shifting entity within Sentry that can do everything Reynolds can do and more. Stories have shown that the Void can control weather, control the minds of others, and survive in the sun.

Emma Frost managed to trap the Void in the “white room” within Bob’s mind, but it proved too powerful and escaped. The Void forced Emma to remain in her diamond form after a sliver of it escaped into her mind. After all the heroes exhausted all avenues, Bob wiped everyone’s memory, including his own, of Sentry and his dark side since it worked the first time.

Suicide Squad had a lot of potential. It was vastly different from what Marvel was doing at the time, focusing on villains within the DC world. Suicide Squad took a step away from establishing the other Justice League characters while still setting up DC’s cinematic universe. It also gave a spotlight to some major comic book characters who never got any screen time, such as Killer Croc, Deadshot, and Katana. While some of the characters on the team wield supernatural abilities, they’re all primarily ground-level characters, who gave the film a unique position.

The trailer presented Jared Leto’s Joker as a major player and potentially the main villain. However, the movie threw audiences a curveball by featuring Cara Delevigne’s Enchantress as the villain. The Joker was there as a B-plot that didn’t benefit the overall story at all. The film used him as a way to show Harley Quinn’s origin story, which is arguably unimportant in an ensemble movie like this, when the rest of the group received a line or two that explained their stories. Many viewers thought it felt like a bait-and-switch.

Meanwhile, the movie would have benefited from using the Joker as the main antagonist. With all the characters being ground-level, it didn’t make sense to pit them against somebody with more mystical powers for their first outing. Not to mention, all the other DC movies featured larger-than-life villains. Man of Steel had the Kryptonians, Wonder Woman went up against literal gods, and Batman v Superman featured Doomsday. Jared Leto presented a new kind of Joker fresh for the big screen with a new protagonist to fight besides Batman. It had a chance to expand the cinematic universe in a new way that set it apart from Marvel, and dropped the ball. Quite simply, Enchantress didn’t fit with Suicide Squad’s tone.

How Marvel’s Thunderbolts is Doing the Same Thing

There are some obvious parallels between Marvel’s Thunderbolts and DC’s Suicide Squad, specifically being a team of supervillains. Those parallels grow deeper as more reports about the Thunderbolts film come out. Now with Sentry reported to be the antagonist, it looks like Thunderbolts is at risk of following Suicide Squad down a path that might make fans slightly skeptical.

Steven Yeun’s casting as Robert Reynolds/Sentry brings one of the most powerful Marvel characters into the MCU, but the first Thunderbolts movie might not be the best place for him. The Thunderbolts aren’t the Avengers. It might be a team of super soldiers with the exception of one or two characters, but they’re not set up to take on Marvel’s version of Superman. Audiences saw what happened when Steve Rogers tried to take on Thanos on his own. It didn’t go so well. However, it’s not about whether they can or can’t take on somebody like Sentry. It’s that the movie might be pulling a similar bait and switch.

Reports indicate that Harrison Ford’s Secretary Ross will undergo his Red Hulk transformation in the movie, but it’s unclear which direction his character will go at first. The comics saw him begin as an antagonist, and gradually become more of a hero. First, nobody wants to see his transformation rushed. He’s an intriguing character and his origin should receive the care it deserves, as the original Avengers received with their origin stories. Secondly, the movie shouldn’t relegate him to the background. Thirdly, the movie will either show him as an enemy for the majority of its runtime until the team needs his help against Sentry, or he’s going to come in like a deus ex machina and surprise everyone with his transformation.

Suicide Squad tried having two antagonists in the film, and it didn’t work out well. Hopefully, Marvel has a better plan for its team of villains and gives the fans something positive to talk about when they leave the movie theater.


The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a sprawling movie and television franchise that weaves together individual stories of superheroes including Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, Hulk, Black Widow, and many more. The first film in the franchise, Iron Man, was released in 2008. The MCU has garnered critical praise and financial success, earning billions at the box office and becoming a cultural phenomenon.

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