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Following a grand finale for the MCU’s Phase Three over summer, the next stage of the continuing Marvel saga will kick off with Black Widow in May. The Scarlett Johansson-led espionage epic is already packed with a full cast including Stranger Things’ David Harbour, The Favourite’s Rachel Weisz and Midsommar’s Florence Pugh as new characters. Now a more familiar MCU face has been spotted on set: William Hurt’s Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross.
The character has graced the MCU on numerous occasions throughout its history. William Hurt debuted the role back in 2008 with The Incredible Hulk before coming back for Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and most recently in Endgame during Tony Stark’s funeral scene. “Thunderbolt” Ross is the U.S. Secretary of State who enforced the Sokovia Accords, dividing the Avengers team for Civil War.
Since Black Widow takes place right after the events of the third Captain America movie that had the heroes splitting in Team Iron Man and Team Cap sides, it makes a ton of sense for William Hurt’s MCU character to join the cast. According to Charles Murphy of Murphy’s Law podcast, Hurt has joined additional photography for Black Widow currently underway.
Scarlett Johansson did not seem to be shooting with William Hurt. The podcaster theorized Ross could be potentially be visiting Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova in a post-credit scene setting up a Thunderbolts project? You never know when it comes to the MCU!
Natasha Romanoff will cross hairs with her famous Black Widow successor, Yelena in the upcoming prequel. In the comics, the two Russian women start off as enemies before reconciling as allies later. Yelena is also apart of a superhero team called the Thunderbolts, which is mostly made up of reformed villians, also including Baron Zemo, Deadpool and Winter Soldier.
Considering the next project after Black Widow is the Disney+ television series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Ross’ involvement could be setting up something there? Two of these “Thunderbolt” associates will be starring in the streaming show. Daniel Brühl will return as Zemo (mask and all), along with Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes, Anthony Mackie’s Falcon and Emily Van Camp’s Sharon Carter.
Secretary Thaddeus Ross’ involvement in Black Widow confirms the story’s ties to Civil War and audiences may learn more behind-the-scenes about the government’s relationship with superheroes in the past. It could help set up how the landscape will shift as the MCU continues to progress. There’s also been reports of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark showing up in Black Widow, and perhaps Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye for the infamous Budapest moment?
David Harbour recently announced he’d wrapped the project as Red Guardian. It looks as though Black Widow is already undergoing some reshoots. The movie comes to theaters on May 1, 2020.