The MCU’s Phase 5 Bombshell Means Its Avengers Replacement Makes Way More Sense

Phase 5’s most recent bombshell from Secret Invasion better explains the Avengers’ upcoming replacements in Phase 5. Following the reveal of a problematic secret project overseen by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), it follows that world governments may be reluctant to rely on superheroes as much as they have in the MCU. As such, Secret Invasion could very well serve as yet another stepping stone toward the imminent debut of Marvel’s Thunderbolts.
Following a significant alien infiltration within major seats of power and various institutions (including the White House), the threat of the Skrulls was made public thanks to current US President Ritson effectively declaring war on all extraterrestrials living on Earth. With both the United States and Russia nearly engaging in nuclear warfare thanks to the Skrulls, the fallout of Secret Invasion may lead to the creation of the Thunderbolts, especially after Fury’s secret DNA project.

The Thunderbolts’ Limited Power Level Makes Sense After The Harvest

As confirmed in the final episodes of Secret Invasion, Nick Fury ordered Skrulls to collect the DNA of almost every powered Avenger present during Endgame’s final battle. Known as The Harvest, the secret and ethically questionable project motivated the Skrull general Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) to begin his Super-Skrull experiments to give himself brand-new powers in his desire to claim Earth for his people, no longer content to wait on Fury’s unkept promises to find them a new home after 30 years. At the moment, Fury’s very problematic project is still secret (though there would likely be major consequences when/if it does).
If knowledge of Fury’s Harvest ever gets out in the MCU, governments may be more apprehensive toward superhumans and their powers in general. This would certainly explain why the confirmed team of Thunderbolts thus far is very limited in their superpowers compared to the original Avengers. With some having already been recruited by the CIA’s Valentina Allegra de Fontaine or soon will, it’s been implied that the Thunderbolts will be a government-sanctioned team (regardless of how public they’ll be).

Secret Invasion Made A US And Russia Team-Up More Likely

Overall, the Thunderbolts’ roster in the MCU is a mix of US and Russian operatives. Bucky Barnes was an American Howling Commando during WWII turned into a living weapon under the control of Hydra’s agents within the Soviet Armed Forces. Ghost did black-ops stealth missions for SHIELD. U.S.Agent was the government’s new Captain America before his recruitment by Val following his public discharge. Yelena Belova, Red Guardian, and Taskmaster were all part of the Red Room program with connections to Russia’s General Dreykov.
This particular selection of agents may stem from the recent fallout caused by the Skrulls in Secret Invasion. Considering Russia and the US were the two countries who were manipulated the hardest, it may explain why the Thunderbolts roster has so many US and Russian agents on it (while also having more limited superpowers). The Thunderbolts could be assembled by Val as a joint response between the two nations in the MCU with the events of Secret Invasion certainly adding to the ongoing geopolitical turmoil that’s been happening in recent MCU projects.

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