Thunderbolts - Who could Steven Yeun play?

Beyonder, Sentry, and Daken
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Actor Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead and Minari fame is apparently the next actor to take on a big role in the MCU, with recent reports indicating that he'll join the cast of 2024's Thunderbolts film as a character who could have a major ongoing presence in the MCU.

Thunderbolts already has a big cast with numerous confirmed characters returning from the MCU at large including Yelena Belova, Red Guardian, Ghost, Taskmaster, US Agent, and team leader Winter Soldier, as well as their organizer Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. And there are already other actors including The Bear's Ayo Edibiri in other unnamed roles.

So who might Yeun be playing? Will he join the Thunderbolts, or play the team's villain? Or will he be a character who shows up in anticipation of his later MCU appearances?

While we can't say for sure, here are some possible characters from comics Steven Yeun could play in Thunderbolts.

The Sentry

The Sentry in Marvel Comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Months ago, unsubstantiated rumors circulated that Thunderbolts was seeking an "evil Superman" as the film's villain, leading many to speculate that The Sentry could fit the bill.

The Sentry is an embattled hero with incredible power who is also haunted by a dark side known as The Void, who is equally powerful and inherently evil.

Could Yeun play The Sentry? It's possible, and many fans are speculating so. But it's far from the only possibility for who he could play.


image of Mephisto

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Marvel's closest equivalent to the concept of the Christian devil, Mephisto, is a scheming manipulator who has played a fateful role in the lives of everyone from Thor, to the Silver Surfer, to Spider-Man. 

The devilish villain has been expected to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for some time, remaining a consistent fan pick for the next big MCU villain. But he still hasn't shown up yet.

Would Thunderbolts be the right place to introduce a character like Mephisto, and would Steven Yeun be the right choice to play him? It's not impossible.

Norman Osborn

Norman Osborn

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The MCU has already had an appearance from Willem Dafoe's Norman Osborn, who crossed over from the original Tobey Maguire Spider-Man franchise in 2021's Spider-Man: No Way Home, but he didn't stick around.

We haven't met an MCU Variant of Norman Osborn (if there is one), but in comic books, Osborn is an integral part of Thunderbolts history, and in the overall makeup of the Marvel Universe thanks to his part in their story.

If his comic book role as the director of the Thunderbolts is taken up by Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, there might not be much room for Osborn. But as the founder of the Dark Avengers, who spun off from the Thunderbolts, there may be a place for Yeun as Osborn if Marvel Studios wanted to go there.

Iron Fist

new Iron Fist

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The Netflix Marvel Universe had its own much-maligned version of Iron Fist, and now that Charlie Cox's Daredevil has come to the MCU, some fans may be expecting Finn Jones' Danny Rand to come along at some point.

But it seems a lot more likely that if the MCU were to bring in Iron Fist, they'd go with their own version of the character - perhaps even an adaptation of the current Iron Fist Lin Lie, the inheritor of Danny Rand's mantle.

It may be a long shot, but a fan favorite actor like Steven Yeun in the role as an Iron Fist with his own mythology on top of the character's classic story might be a perfect choice if Marvel wants a redo.



(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Speaking of Daredevil, his Netflix show had a less-than-comic accurate version of Bullseye, the world's most deadly assassin and one of Matt Murdock's arch-enemies - and a long time member of both the Thunderbolts and their spin-off team the Dark Avengers.

With Daredevil: Born Again planned as an extended 18-episode streaming series, there would be plenty of room for a more page-accurate version of Bullseye along for the ride at some point.

And though it might be playing against type for Yeun to portray an amoral, bloodthirsty killer, that could be exactly the point in taking a role like Bullseye.

Fixer/Mach I/Atlas

Mach I, Techno, and Atlas

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The MCU Thunderbolts roster doesn't look much like its comic book equivalent, though the teams do share a few members. 

But with Steven Yeun joining the cast, there are three original Thunderbolts whose shoes he could fill if Marvel wants to round out the team a little bit.

There's the high-flying armored hero Mach I, the size-changing Atlas, and the genius engineer Techno, all of whom could potentially fit into the film.

Radioactive Man

Radioactive Man

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

On that note, there's another former Thunderbolt who was part of the team across several eras who could make a good role for Steven Yeun: Radioactive Man.

No, not the jokey hero from The Simpsons. The Marvel version of Radioactive Man is a Silver Age Thor enemy who predates The Simpsons version by decades.

In Marvel Comics, Radioactive Man is Dr. Chen Lu, a Chinese scientist with the power to manipulate radiation, who goes from villain to reformed hero through his tenure with the Thunderbolts.

Reed Richards

Reed Richards

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Maybe it's a bit of a stretch (pun intended) to imagine Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four making his first core MCU reality appearance in Thunderbolts, but it's less of a stretch to imagine Steven Yeun handling the role with aplomb.

Yeun was Oscar nominated for his role as the patriarch of the Yi family in 2021's Minari, so there's certainly potential for the seed of the idea to be on Marvel's mind.

Whether Reed Richards making an appearance in Thunderbolts is on the table, he'd certainly qualify as a character with a lasting presence in the MCU to come.



(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Daken is the son of the original Wolverine, and he's actually stepped in as the ersatz-Wolverine of the Dark Avengers himself after the team spun-off from the Thunderbolts.

The idea of Daken appearing in Thunderbolts isn't so far-fetched now that mutants are popping up in the MCU. And with Daken inheriting his father's claws and healing factor, there may be a perfect place already on the table for Daken to continue on in the MCU after Thunderbolts.

Of course we're talking about Deadpool 3, which brings both Deadpool and Hugh Jackman's fan favorite Wolverine into the MCU. Could Steven Yeun as Daken take up the mantle of the MCU's ongoing Wolverine afterwards?

The Beyonder


(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

If there's any one character who might be unrivaled in his potential for the future of the MCU, it's the Beyonder, the omnipotent villain of the original 1985 Secret Wars event story.

With Avengers: Secret Wars on the horizon for 2026, the MCU may be in need of a Beyonder to serve as the overall villain of the story - so why not Steven Yeun?

The Beyonder could easily make an appearance in Thunderbolts to kick off his MCU journey toward Avengers: Secret Wars, even if it's just in a cameo role.

These are the best Thunderbolts members of all time.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)