Steven Yeun is the latest cast member to join Marvel’s Thunderbolts, sparking rumors that his character could be critical to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The actor, known for his scene-stealing roles in The Walking Dead and Nope, as well as his Academy Award-nominated performance in Minari, was recently confirmed to be joining the Phase 5 Marvel film, sparking endless rumors regarding who he might be playing and what purpose his character could serve in the future of the franchise. When mixed with other rumors regarding a surprise character in Thunderbolts, it seems increasingly popular that Steven Yeun’s character is the Marvel hero known as the Sentry.
Phase 5 is all leading up to Thunderbolts, which is set to hit theaters in July of 2024, marking the final MCU project before the beginning of Phase 6, which will mark an end to the Multiverse Saga. At San Diego Comic-Con in 2022, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige announced the full lineup for the eponymous team of antiheroes and reformed villains, including Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), the Red Guardian (David Harbour), Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Nevertheless, it seems as though Feige was hiding several key cast members of the film, including Yeun.
Steven Yeun Is Playing A Key Marvel Character In Thunderbolts & Beyond
Given Steven Yeun’s impressive movie career in recent years, it seems highly likely that his character will be integral to Thunderbolts and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. Marvel is known for investing much time and energy in casting its major roles and, thanks largely to casting director Sarah Finn, the MCU often finds the perfect actor for each role. It seems highly unlikely that an Academy Award-nominated actor like Steven Yeun, who also happens to be beloved in multiple fandoms, would be hired for a one-off role in the largest franchise in cinematic history. Yeun is more likely to be set up for a major role moving forward.
Especially as the long-awaited second season of Invincible, Yeun’s animated superhero series based on Robert Kirkman’s comic series, approaches, the actor will be approaching new heights in popularity as Thunderbolts begins its promotional campaign. With his stellar history in superhero stories fresh in the cultural zeitgeist, Thunderbolts is the perfect project for Marvel to present Yeun’s brand-new character and set him up for future projects. Moreover, Deadline‘s original report that first broke the news of Yeun’s involvement in the film indicated that he will play a major role moving forward, sealing the actor’s fate as a major character in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Who Is Sentry? Marvel Comics Character Explained
Sentry is a superhero more powerful than any other Avenger, and is indeed one of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe. Bob Reynolds became the Sentry after undergoing a physical mutation that gave him “the power of one million exploding suns.” Amidst a litany of other abilities, the Sentry was capable of flight, healing, and telepathy, even possessing incredible superhuman strength that surpassed that of his heroic colleagues in the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. However, Sentry had a far darker side than any other Marvel hero. It eventually became clear that Bob’s mind had fractured into two personalities, including the maniacal supervillain known only as the Void.
Despite his stellar reputation as Marvel’s version of Superman, the Sentry soon became too dangerous as his Void personality grew increasingly destructive. Eventually, with the help of the Illuminati, Bob was able to erase the entire world’s memories of the Sentry. Nevertheless, Bob was eventually pulled back into the world of superheroics, but his condition continued to deteriorate, allowing him to be manipulated into joining Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers during the Dark Reign storyline. The Sentry’s struggles with the Void have remained a central part of the character in the years since, making him one of the most powerful and yet, most tragic characters in the entire Marvel Universe.
Theory: Steven Yeun Is Playing Sentry In Thunderbolts
Steven Yeun may finally be bringing Sentry to the MCU. After Kevin Feige announced the Thunderbolts cast, it quickly became a common supposition that he had left several integral teammates out of his presentation. While many theories suggested that Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl), Abomination (Tim Roth), or even Red Hulk (Harrison Ford) could make a surprise appearance in the film, more recent rumors contend that the Sentry would play a major role therein. And, although Sentry has been a member of the Thunderbolts, later rebranded as the Dark Avengers, in the comics, some theories claim that he may not actually be a part of the team in the MCU.
Because of his struggle with his Void personality, Sentry has been rumored as Thunderbolts‘ villain. The Thunderbolts have been teased by Val as a team for when “things get weird,” indicating that they will be fighting battles that even the Avengers would be hesitant about. This has led to increased theories that the Thunderbolts will take on an Avengers-level threat, which would certainly apply to Sentry. Some have theorized that it may be the Thunderbolts’ first mission to bring Sentry under control, possibly in order to recruit him as the next member of their team. If this proves true, Yeun may be suiting up as Sentry for a long time.
Why Steven Yeun Would Be Perfect For The MCU’s Sentry
Although many different actors could perfectly portray the MCU’s Sentry, there are few who would be better suited to the role than Steven Yeun. The actor not only has a history with superhero projects, most notably as the lead character in Amazon Prime’s hit series Invincible, but he has also repeatedly demonstrated his ability to portray complicated yet likable characters. Most recently, as Ricky “Jupe” Park, in Jordan Peele’s Nope, Yeun perfectly vacillated between a greedy businessman and a traumatized child unable to escape his tortured past, proving that he has exactly what it takes to perfectly portray both the Sentry and his villainous counterpart, the Void.
Furthermore, Phase 5 is poised to replace the Avengers with the Thunderbolts, indicating that the team could be around for some time. If Sentry does join the team at the end of their debut film, Marvel will want an actor who plays well with others, standing out without stealing the show. Yeun’s breakout role as Glenn Rhee in The Walking Dead perfectly demonstrates the actor’s brilliance in an ensemble cast. Over the course of seven years, Glenn managed to remain one of the most popular characters in the series without upstaging the larger storylines going on around him, proving that Yeun is a perfect addition to the MCU’s ensemble cast.
What Sentry In Thunderbolts Would Mean For The MCU’s Future
If Sentry does appear in Thunderbolts, his presence would have rippling effects on the MCU’s future. Sentry has a major part in several comic book storylines that are rumored to play out in the near future of the MCU. For instance, Sentry is crucial to the World War Hulk storyline, which is heavily rumored to be occurring in Phase 6 of the MCU. The introduction of Yeun’s character could certainly foreshadow his epic battle with the Hulk and perhaps set him up as the one hero who has the power to put an end to the Sakaraan invasion of earth.
Moreover, Sentry’s introduction would indicate that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to embrace the comics’ cosmic side. While many of the movie franchise’s early heroes are terrestrial, the Multiverse Saga is changing this trend as new characters like Adam Warlock prepare to make their debut. Sentry’s arrival could even warrant an Annihilators team-up in the MCU, as the franchise’s most powerful cosmic heroes join forces to protect the universe. Regardless of where his character ends up, however, Steven Yeun’s Sentry is poised to make Thunderbolts one of the most important movies in all of Phase 5 and, quite possibly, the entire Multiverse Saga.