Why Is There An Asterisk In The Thunderbolts Title, And Is It For Dark Avengers?

Thunderbolts asterisk Dark Avengers

This past week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Disney presented their upcoming slate of films to theater owners to get them hyped up for the upcoming year of movies. And though the Marvel Studios portion of the presentation was light on surprises, there was one head-scratcher… The title of the now-in-production Thunderbolts is actually Thunderbolts*. And yes, the asterisk is part of the title.

Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said as much on stage at the presentation. Said Feige, “Yes, you’ll notice the asterisk on Thunderbolts. That is the official title of Thunderbolts and we won’t talk more about that until after the movie comes out.”

So what could that asterisk mean? And why won’t Marvel talk about the title until after the movie comes out? The logical conclusion is something happens in the film that ultimately changes what the team is called… From Thunderbolts to something else. And if that is what’s happening, then they’re probably going to reveal the name of the movie is Dark Avengers.

Thunderbolts Became Dark Avengers In Marvel Comics

In case you’re not familiar with the title, it spun out of the “Dark Reign” storyline that ran throughout Marvel Comics from 2008-2009, where villains essentially took over the Marvel Universe. It traces its roots back to Thunderbolts #110, where Norman Osborn — the “former” Green Goblin — led a team of mostly former villains as new “heroes” in the Marvel Universe. Thanks to the relative success of the team, Osborn was able to pivot them into becoming the new Avengers, and the title changed names from Thunderbolts to Dark Avengers.

That team consisted of a few actual heroes, while villains like Venom pretended to be Spider-Man, Bullseye was dressed as Hawkeye, and Osborn himself wore Iron Man-esque armor as the Iron Patriot.

To be clear, as usual with the MCU there’s no one-to-one here. The team in Thunderbolts* is not the same as in the comics, though some characters like The Sentry are in both. However, it seems logical to think with Thunderbolts* becoming something else — per the asterisk — and Disney hungry for a new Avengers movie, why not give the second week gross a kick by remarketing the film as Dark Avengers after the May 5, 2025 release?

Or maybe it’s just a sequel to 61*.

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