Steven Yeun’s Thunderbolts Exit Doesn’t Mean the End of Sentry
The next chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was supposed to be ushered in with Thunderbolts, featuring a massive team-up of the MCU’s best anti-heroes, like John Walker and Yelena Belova. The movie was also supposed to introduce The Walking Dead and Beef star Steven Yeun as Sentry, a tragic villain with the “power of a thousand suns” who could become a central figure of the MCU Phase 6.
But now, after a production delay, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed Yeun will no longer star in Thunderbolts. Will Sentry be recast, or does Yeun’s exit mean the character is gone too?
The Sentry saga began in November 2022, when rumors started flying that Ryan Gosling would be cast as Thunderbolts’ main villain. Fans assumed the villain would be Sentry, a powerful hero prone to self-destructive tendencies. Assuming there was even a shred of truth to this rumor, it suggests the role isn’t contingent on Yeun’s participation, so recasting is an option.
Marvel comic books also provide some clues for Sentry’s future. After the demise of the first Sentry, Robert Reynolds, in December 2023’s Sentry #1, Jessica Jones and Misty Knight investigate an anomaly and discover a group of young people manifesting Sentry’s powers. That series is still being punished, so we don’t know much about the storyline, but the sentiment that anyone could be Sentry does lend itself to the recasting theory.
Yeun’s exit from Thunderbolts doesn’t necessarily signal larger problems. Production schedules are in turmoil after the actors’ and writers’ strikes, and recasting is the only way to keep the production as seamless as possible. Whoever ends up in the role will inevitably be compared to Yeun, but that’s better than going through a lengthy rewrite for the sake of creating a new villain.
Thunderbolts has already dealt with changes to its writers, actors, and release date. Hopefully, Yeun’s departure is the last obstacle standing in the way of Phase 5’s grand finale.