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Why Will Sentry Be the First Villain for the Anti-Hero Team?


by Xtreme HD IPTV

Marvel Studios Thunderbolts has had an interesting road to development. The film is currently slated for release in 2025, and while it was originally intended to be the final film of Phase 5, due to various delays from both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strike of 2023, it is now part of Phase 6. The film will feature a team of anti-heroes and many characters that MCU fans are already familiar with. Some names include Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as the Red Guardian, Sebastian Stan as Buckey Barnes, and Wyat Russell as U.S. Agent. Led by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, playing the charmingly cold Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. This team has been teased in projects like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Black Widow, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Yet, with a team of anti-heroes and former villains, one has to wonder who or what this black-ops team of superheroes will be doing. Recent rumors and casting reports seem to point to the MCU bringing in the fan-favorite character Sentry into the film as the main antagonist. In many ways, Marvel’s dark twister version of Superman, The Sentry, has a fascinating comic book history that could have a major impact on the MCU. Yet why would Marvel make him the main villain of Thunderbolts? Is he the only threat for the team, or is there a greater foe at play?

Update February 8, 2024: This article has been updated following recent developments behind the scenes of Thunderbolts, including the casting of Lewis Pullman, reportedly as The Sentry.

Who Is The Sentry?

The Sentry
Marvel Comics

The Sentry was created by writer Paul Jenkins and artist Jae Lee, with uncredited conceptual contributions by Rick Veitch, and debuted in The Senty #1 in 2000. The creators decided to have the character have been a long part of the Marvel Universe but had every trace of his existence wiped from the minds of the planet, including his own. They also created a fake publication history in the real world, complete with imaginary creators, and revealed that he was a lost Silver Age hero who was supposed to debut before The Fantastic Four kicked off the Marvel Age of comics in 1961 as a character whose artwork got lost and never published. This was all a ruse, but it helped make the character a big deal.

Robert Reynolds was a lonely man with a drug addiction. In hopes of getting his next fix, he haphazardly broke into a professor’s private laboratory and found something that looked quite similar to what he ultimately hoped to find. Not caring about the specifics of the liquid inside the vial, Reynolds guzzled it down in an instant and waited for all but a moment. Instead of just quenching his need to get high, the substance brought his body and mind to places he never thought possible. After all, he swallowed the Golden Sentry Serum. This formula was, in fact, a spin-off of the original Super Soldier Serum. Robert Reynolds was now one hundred thousand times stronger than Captain America, had the power of a million exploding suns, and had powers similar to DC’s Superman.

Related: Why Does the MCU Need the Thunderbolts?

Yet Reynolds had a much darker twist on the character. The Sentry had an arch-enemy known as The Void. The twist is that The Sentry and the Void are the same person, two halves of one whole. This is what motivated the Sentry to have every trace of him wiped from everyone’s memory, similar to the spell Doctor Strange performs to make everyone forget Peter Parker is Spider-Man in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Yet eventually, the Sentry is rediscovered and recruited into the New Avengers. In the 2000s, the character was part of many major Marvel events, including World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, and most notably, Dark Reign, where he was manipulated by Norman Osborn and kicked off the event Seige.

Is Sentry Actually in Thunderbolts?

Lewis Pullman in Top Gun: Maverick alongside Sentry.
Paramount Pictures/Marvel Comics

It seems to be an open secret that the Sentry is in Thunderbolts, even though Marvel Studios has yet to confirm it officially. It was like how most fans knew Namor was going to be in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before the studios officially confirmed it at San Diego Comic-Con 2022. Fans were delighted to hear that The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun was cast in Thunderbolts in a part many assumed to be the Sentry, only to be confirmed by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman.

However, on January 2, 2024, Yeun dropped out of the project, with The Bear star Ayo Edebiri (who was cast in a secret role) dropping out a month later. In a recent interview with Variety, Yeun said his decision to leave the project was due to scheduling and predominantly because of the delays caused by last year’s SAG-AFTRA strikes. Yeun did, however, mention that he still “wants to do a Marvel movie.”

“I think for me, time passing and things shifting kind of pulled me out of it.”

After a lot of uncertainty, with some sources claiming Thunderbolts has moved past utilizing Sentry as its villain, Marvel Studios has confirmed the all-powerful character will still be the film’s primary villain and that they’ve found their new star. Recent reports have confirmed that Top Gun: Maverick star Lewis Pullman has taken over as Sentry. Pullman also recently starred alongside MCU alum Brie Larson in Apple TV+’s Lessons in Chemistry.

With Pullman stepping into the role of The Sentry and it seemingly being confirmed that he will be the primary threat the Thunderbolts will go up against, the question begs: why? Why is Marvel Studios making the Sentry the primary foe the Thunderbolts will take on, and what about this extremely powerful character that can connect to this team of anti-heroes?

How Might the Thunderbolts Battle Sentry?

Considering the fact that none of the Thunderbolts can come anywhere close to Sentry’s power level, one would think that this fight would be over instantaneously, but surprisingly, Robert Reynolds is a man of deep emotions. Instead of facing stark truths and coming to terms with shattering events, he usually flees the scene, not wanting to face reality. That level of deep emotion and trauma might be the thematic purpose of putting the Thunderbolts against the Sentry. Members of the Thunderbolts, like Yelena, Bucky, Ghost, and Taskmaster, were forced against their will to commit acts of evil so they could relate to the Sentry not being in full control of his powers.

As mentioned earlier, in the comics, the Sentry gets his powers from a failed attempt at recreating the super soldier serum that created Captain America. The quest for a new super soldier was a big part of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and presumably Captain America: Brave New World, which will open before Thunderbolts. Bucky Barns, Red Guardian, and U.S. Agent are all different attempts at the super soldier, so the Sentry might be the latest in a long line. Between the thread of trauma and super soldier experimentation, the Sentry has thematic links to every member of the Thunderbolts.

Related: How Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Could Influence The Future of The MCU

A particular comic storyline may very well become a crucial link between the Thunderbolts team and Sentry. In the comic book storyline Seige, the Thunderbolts rebrand themselves as The Dark Avengers and become the world’s new premiere superhero team. Norman Osborn, the head of the new government organization H.A.M.M.E.R., gets the Sentry to attack New Asgard, allowing him to invade the sovereign nation. Elements of that storyline could inform the Thunderbolts film, but now it is the new head of the C.I.A., Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, using the Sentry and the Thunderbolts to attack either New Asgard or Wakanda. Then the Sentry could go rogue, and the Thunderbolts would have to take the character down.

Funny enough, this would make the Thunderbolts, often called Marvel’s Suicide Squad, very similar to the plot of 2016’s Suicide Squad, where a team of largely non-powered individuals is assembled in the case of a possible rouge Superman and then are forced to fight a member of their own team that goes out of control.

Is There Another Villain Controlling Things From Behind The Scenes?

In the comics, the Sentry is a very tragic figure. A hero who has many demons that make him commit acts of villainy but is often being controlled or manipulated by someone. This suggests that the Sentry might be an antagonist in Thunderbolts but not the true villain. It might be a smoke screen to hide the true mastermind.

The obvious answer is Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine. She is, after all, the head of the Thunderbolts and, as seen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a figure not to be trusted as she will manipulate any situation to go her way. This might mean she is using the Thunderbolts to clean up her mess and not let details about how she could be connected to the Sentry out.

The other is the character that Ayo Edebiri was originally set to play, but now Geraldine Viswanathan is taking over. No details have been given about her, but she has been described as Val’s assistant, one whose role in the MCU could become bigger. She could be a secret mastermind behind her powerful boss, using the Sentry as her own personal weapon to undermine Val and eventually rise through the ranks. This could allow Marvel to redo the idea that it had for Iron Man 3, where Rebecca Hall’s Maya Hansen was originally intended to be the villain but was then changed due to Marvel’s Creative Committee overriding the decision because they fear female villains didn’t sell toys.

Then, of course, there is always Doctor Doom. Doom is the most famous Marvel villain of all time, and one fan has been hoping to see it in the MCU since Disney got the rights to the Fantastic Four back in 2019. Doom was heavily rumored to be in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but that turned out to be false. Setting him up as the master manipulator behind the scenes and using the Sentry would not only be in keeping with his comic book character but could tie the film into Fantastic Four, which is now set to open before Thunderbolts. These two films in one year could go a long way to establishing Doctor Doom as the new major MCU threat to fill the void left by Kang the Conqueror actor Jonathan Majors being fired and the franchise attempting to pivot away from Kang.

Thunderbolts is scheduled to open in theaters on July 25, 2025.

The next MCU film up is Deadpool 3, and fans might have gotten their first look at the film’s new logo. Check out our video to learn more.

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by Xtreme HD IPTV

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