Harrison Ford joins ‘Captain America 4’ as “Thunderbolt”

Age is but a number to this franchise king.

words by: Alee Kwong
Nov 2, 2022

You’re probably wondering what the new Captain America has been up to since The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The streaming series was one of the first projects to introduce Phase 4 of the MCU in early 2021 and not much has been said about Sam Wilson and Bucky since then. It was announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con that Sam Wilson will be making his big screen debut as Captain America in Captain America: New World Order.


What we know so far

Set to release in May 2024, director Julius Onah (Luce, The Cloverfield Paradox) described the film as a paranoid thriller and based on how TFATWS ended, Onah doesn’t seem to be straying too far from where we left off. Anthony Mackie and Danny Ramirez (Top Gun: Maverick) are set to return and it has been confirmed that Harrison Ford has been recast as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross – a role formerly held by the late William Hurt.


Ross’ role in the MCU has been very minor and more of a supplemental one that serves as a pain in the Avengers’ behind. No plot details have been released (surprise, surprise) and it’s hard to believe that Ford has signed up for a quick cameo. We learned in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law that the Sokovia Accords have since been dissolved, which could have given us a whisper of what we can expect from General Ross. If we rewind back to Captain America: Civil War, Ross insisted (read: threatened) the Avengers unanimously agree to the Sokovia Accords and almost relished the opportunity to finally get a firm grip on the superpowered community. 


A central conflict in TFATWS was that the government had poorly handled the return of those lost during The Blip and in turn created a revolutionary group, the Flagsmashers, whose mission was to bring back the wide availability of resources that was once afforded to them during The Blip. Their revolutionary acts, combined with the rogue agent acts of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, including an interruption by the U.S. Agent, caused a lot of loose ends and unanswered questions about how things were resolved. 


Now, this is where things get kind of interesting. As I’m sure you noticed, General Ross’ nickname is Thunderbolt. There is also a supergroup named the Thunderbolts (essentially Marvel’s Suicide Squad) – a group that is set to get their own MCU project during Phase 5.


The group is currently staffed with Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Red Guardian (David Harbor), Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), U.S. Agent (Owen Russell), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and led by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). In the comic books, General Ross is turned into the Red Hulk in response to a nervous breakdown and his already unhealthy obsession with hunting down the Hulk. His transformation into the Red Hulk leads him towards being a part of the morally ambiguous supergroup.


Seeing as Ford was very recently cast, it would make a lot of sense for him to continue on as the character in the Thunderbolts project. Although Ford is getting older, his commitment to his role as Indiana Jones (and the upcoming 5th installment of the adventure franchise around the corner) prove that Harrison Ford isn’t looking to slow down anytime soon.


While we wait for further development on this story and future Marvel films, be sure to check out Black Panther: Wakanda Forever this month.


Photo via Comic Years