Thunderbolts Has a New Title, Kind Of

Adding just one character can be a big change.

Marvel Studios

When it comes to titles, Marvel is often cagey and indecisive. Captain America: Brave New World used to be called Captain America: New World Order, Avengers: Kang Dynasty lost its subtitle, and Agatha: Darkhold Diaries has been called both Agatha: House of Harkness and Agatha: Coven of Chaos. Whether it’s from creative confusion or secrecy, nothing throws speculation off like switching up a movie or TV show’s name.

Now, one of Marvel’s most mysterious movies may have just changed its title in a way that looks minor, yet could have major implications for its story.

Florence Pugh, who plays Yelena Belova in Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the upcoming movie Thunderbolts, shared a tour of the Thunderbolts set on Instagram. While she repeatedly mentioned that she couldn’t share much, a look at a chair, of all things, could reveal a change to comic book canon.

The chairback Pugh shows while talking with director Jake Schreier seems to say “Thunderbolts” in a much simpler font than the logo we’ve previously seen, and also with an asterisk attached. The title now seems to read “Thunderbolts*,” a detail confirmed by both Pugh’s hashtag on the post and Marvel Studios in a tweet soon after.

In Marvel Comics, asterisks are used to provide context on past events.

Marvel Comics

An asterisk is typically used “as a reference to an annotation or to stand for omitted matter.” For example, the Woody Allen movie Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* used the asterisk to indicate a subtitle: *But Were Afraid to Ask. Marvel Comics uses asterisks to clarify dialogue or denote which issue’s events the characters are referring to.

So what could this asterisk stand for? The Thunderbolts team, a squad of reformed supervillains and anti-heroes, has long been part of Marvel Comics, but their MCU debut has unfortunate timing. Thunderbolts is premiering soon after Captain America: Brave New World, which will feature General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, the former Secretary of State (and soon-to-be President) who masterminded the Sokovia Accords. In the comics, the original Thunderbolts are completely unrelated to Ross, so a distinction could be useful.

Maybe Thunderbolts will eventually get a subtitle, but perhaps the asterisk is being used to clarify that the team has nothing to do with General Ross, who’s being teased as a major villain in Brave New World. The Thunderbolts may be villains themselves, but even they have standards. There are lines they won’t want to cross.

At this point, Marvel’s movie canon is vast and expansive. Why not offer a little clarity when the story starts to get confusing? It’s worked in comic books for decades.

Thunderbolts* premieres in theaters on May 2, 2025.

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