Marvel's Kevin Feige Reveals Big Detail About Harrison Ford's Thunderbolt Ross In Captain America: New World Order

harrison ford in shrinking
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Following the passing of William Hurt last year, Marvel Studios tapped Harrison Ford to replace him as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Following his introduction in The Incredible Hulk, Ross came back into the MCU fold in Captain America: Civil War, and he’s since made minor appearances in Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Black Widow. It says something that Marvel opted to recast Ross rather than replace him with a new character, and now we have a better understanding of why this happening. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige shared that when we see Ford play Ross for the first time in Captain America: New World Order, the character will be sitting comfortably in the White House.

After seeing Thunderbolt Ross serve as the United States' Secretary of State, Kevin Feige revealed that he'll be President of the United States when the events of Captain America: New World Order unfold. This will lead to an interesting “dynamic” between him and Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson, who’s now Captain America following the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Feige explained to EW:

We start filming relatively soon. I'm sure anyone you've ever talked with about Harrison Ford says this, but it's unbelievable that we get to meet and talk with him and that he's embracing this role. He's tireless with the amount of work that he does. This is certainly a big part for Thaddeus Ross. He's the president of the United States in the film. And with Harrison, you think about Air Force One, and you think about some of his confrontations with the president in Clear and Present Danger. There's a dynamic between President Ross and Sam Wilson. They have a history together, but in this film, we'll be seeing the dynamic between Captain America and the president of the United States in a way that is just incredible.

Thunderbolt Ross will be the second president of the United States we’ve seen in the MCU, the first being Matthew Ellis, who was played by William Sadler in Iron Man 3 and a few episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3. Though She-Hulk: Attorney at Law revealed that the Sokovia Accords, of which Ross was a big proponent, have been overturned, obviously that didn’t hurt Ross’ political standing, as the public has elected him as head of the U.S.’ executive branch. But as Kevin Feige noted, not only does this call to mind when Harrison Ford played President James Marshall in Air Force One, but the executive also couldn’t help thinking of when Ford’s Jack Ryan clashed with Donald Moffat’s President Bennett in Clear and Present Danger.

While Kevin Feige didn’t outright state that Thunderbolt Ross and Sam Wilson will be at odds in Captain America: New World Order, given that Ross is usually presented as an antagonist figure, plus the fact that Sam sided against the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War, it’s probably safe to say that these two aren’t exactly the best of friends. As such, it remains to be seen if these two will be seen putting aside their differences for the greater good, or if Ross is somehow tied to the nefarious scheme that Tim Blake Nelson’s returning Samuel Sterns, a.k.a. The Leader, is plotting. Another question comes to mind too: because Ross is so busy with his presidential duties, does this hurt his chances of becoming Red Hulk?

Harrison Ford and Anthony Mackie’s other castmates in Captain America: New World Order include Danny Ramirez, Carl Lumbly, Shira Haas and Xosha Roquemore, while behind the scenes, Julius Onah is directing the flick, and Malcolm Spellman and Dallas Musson are writing the script. New World Order is slated on the upcoming Marvel movies schedule for May 3, 2024, and then Ford will reprise Thunderbolt Ross for Thunderbolts on July 26 of the same year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.