Marvel’s Thunderbolts becomes the latest MCU production to be impacted by the ongoing writers strike. The movie is one of several projects that will make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Five and will be directed by Jake Schreier (Paper Towns). Featuring an ensemble full of various MCU anti-heroes and currently set to release in July 2024, Thunderbolts was expected to begin filming in just a matter of weeks.
However, amid the Writers Guild of America strike for fair pay, Deadline reports Marvel is halting Thunderbolts ahead of its expected production start. Filming will pick up once the strike is over. Thunderbolts now joins fellow MCU productions Blade, Wonder Man, and Daredevil: Born Again as titles that have been impacted by the writers strike, which has been ongoing since May 2 and currently has no end in sight.
What Thunderbolts’ Delay Means
As filming on Thunderbolts was slated to begin in just a few weeks, the script is most likely finished, which outwardly gives the impression the movie can proceed alongside the strike. However, it is rare for productions to film exactly what is on the page as cameras begin to roll; on-set rewrites are common, especially when it comes to massive Marvel productions. Writers within the WGA are pulling back from all writing-related duties, and that includes rewrites. Therefore, filming can be halted even when all scripts are ostensibly finished.
Outside the MCU, the writers strike has affected numerous productions, including Andor season 2, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 3, and The Last of Us season 2. While most of the news has surrounded television, the film side of Hollywood has not remained unscathed, as seen with Thunderbolts and Blade. Now, it seems likely both movies will shift their release dates. Thunderbolts is just over a year away from its premiere, which wouldn’t be a problem if filming was on track to begin as planned. However, as the writers strike may continue for several more months, there is no telling when it will resume work.
Should Thunderbolts and Blade end up getting pushed back, it is likely subsequent Marvel movies will be affected too. The MCU’s release calendar has always operated in a way where one premiere date hinges on another, and as seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, the changes can end up becoming widespread. While there may be some disappointment in Thunderbolts‘ probable delay, there has been far more support for the writers on strike, who seek fair wages and a promise from studios to ban AI-generated content. That remains the most pressing concern, and once the strike is over, the MCU will resume.