Harrison Ford Rumored to Be Marvel’s Top Choice To Replace William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross

Marvel’s Thunderbolts is in development for release in 2024, and a new rumor points to a major actor possibly being courted by Marvel Studios for the film. According to movie scooper Jeff Sneider, Star Wars spirit Indiana Jones icon Harrison Ford “either is or was the studio’s top choice to star in THUNDERBOLTS as the General himself.” That said, the scoop does come with the critical qualifier that “It’s unclear if he already passed…”.

Later on his breakdown with John Rocca, Sneider claims that Marvel wanted to announce.Harrison Ford as Ross with the rest of the Thunderbolts cast at D23 Expo; however, Ford didn’t finalize anything by that time, with speculation citing everything from Lucasfilm wanting Ford’s focus (pun) on Indiana Jones 5, to Ford’s hesitation to replace his friend and colleague William Hurt.

Hurt played Thunderbolt Ross in the MCU from Incredible Hulk in 2008 through Black Widow in 2021; William Hurt died on March 13, 2022 from complications resulting from the terminal prostate cancer he had been diagnosed with since 2018. Having been ill that long – and with the character being as pivotal as he is (see below), it would make sense that the studio had plans to recast Ross – and who to do it with.

Who Is Thunderbolt Ross?

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General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross is the former general who was first introduced in The Incredible Hulk. General Ross was a key backer of Bruce Banner’s research and the accident that created the Hulk; his daughter Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) was Bruce’s girlfriend, which estranged her from her father. Ross led the experiment to use a Super Soldier Serum variant on Emile Blonsky, creating The Abomination.

Later on, Ross became Secretary of State and was a leading force in creating and enforcing The Sakovia Accords, which formally put him at odds with The Avengers, and led to the “Civil War” between the heroes.

Why Is Thunderbolt Ross Important to Thunderbolts?

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In the Thunderbolts comics, Thunderbolt Ross becomes the leader of one iteration of the team while in his “Red Hulk” persona. That version of the Thunderbolts was a non-government funded strike squad, whose primary mission was cleaning up loose ends from Ross’s own military career. So he definitely has a legacy presence in The Thunderbolts that Marvel may want to tap into.

With Ross Comes Red Hulk

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The current story arc of the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law The TV series has clearly been slow-burn introducing some key Marvel elements that can later add up to General Ross and the Red Hulk storyline. That includes the introduction of the MCU Intelligencia; the threat of Jen Walters/She-Hulk’s blood being stolen; as well as the return of The Leader (Tim Blake Nelson), who we know is showing up in Captain America: New World Order. There are a lot of Marvel fans who want to see the Red Hulk mythos imported into the MCU – but it will certainly take a new Thunderbolt Ross to make it happen.

Thunderbolts will be in theaters on July 26, 2024.

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