Beloved actor Steven Yeun has been confirmed to have a significant role in Marvel Studios’ upcoming film Thunderbolts. Yeun’s star has soared in Hollywood in the past decade, having shined with his performances in projects like The Walking Dead, Minari, Okja, Sorry to Bother You, and more recently, Nope.
Given Yeun’s versatility as an actor, it’s anyone’s guess as to which character he will portray in this superhero blockbuster. Even so, here are a few characters he could play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Many fans have imagined Yeun portraying this superpowered crime boss in the MCU. Martin Li’s life of crime began as a gangster/human trafficker, but he gained superpowers after being forced to take an experimental drug by the Maggia Don Silvermane. This gave him two distinct personalities, one a kindhearted philanthropist and the other an evil crime lord named Mister Negative who mind-controls a superpowered gang called the Inner Demons.
According to CBR, there are rumors that the Thunderbolts will face an “evil Superman” villain in this film, but it makes more sense that they would instead face an adversary who is more in their league. While Mister Negative has mostly traded blows with Spider-Man (most notably in the video game Marvel’s Spider-Man), an appearance in Thunderbolts could introduce his character before he potentially appears in the upcoming sequel to No Way Home.
After being exposed to a massive amount of radiation, nuclear physicist Chen Lu was mutated into a superpowered being able to absorb and control radiation. His radioactive origins are nothing new to the superhero genre, but the character’s journey in Marvel Comics could make him a compelling figure for Yeun to play.
Radioactive Man starts as a villain in the comics, initially operating as an agent sent by the Communist Party of China to take out Thor. But Lu later tries to change his ways and becomes a member of the Thunderbolts, helping them after Hydra launches a terrorist attack on New York City. Though the team’s main roster was already revealed in a poster at Disney D23, Yeun could still be a secret member or end up becoming one later in the film as Radioactive Man.
In the comics, Amadeus Cho is a brilliant and gifted young scientist who becomes an ally of Bruce Banner after the latter saves him from an assassination attempt. Cho eventually developed technology to harness Banner’s powers, allowing him to become his hero’s successor as the Incredible Hulk (but under the moniker “Brawn”). Since Marvel Studios has begun to expand the world of the Hulk in the MCU with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, it seems natural that it will introduce Cho next.
Though the comics first introduced Cho as a 19-year-old, the MCU could take some creative liberties to have the 39-year-old Yeun play the character. Yeun’s appearance as Cho could also have Thunderbolts tie into the Hulk-centric Captain America: New World Order premiering almost three months before it.
Since the Squadron Supreme is rumored to appear in Thunderbolts, Yeun could star as the team’s superpowered leader, Hyperion. Basically Marvel’s version of Superman, Hyperion has a different origin story, depending on the universe. But in most realities, he is an Eternal raised on Earth as Mark Milton who becomes a superhero. However, one variant of him is brought to the main Marvel universe after an Incursion destroys his reality.
The MCU has already introduced the concept of the multiverse and Incursions to its narrative, which could allow the studio to present a comics-accurate version of Hyperion. And since the Eternals made their MCU debut not long ago, Yeun playing Hyperion could appear to connect the events of said movie to Thunderbolts (and hopefully address that giant Celestial corpse sticking out of the Indian Ocean).
Since there are rumors that a Superman-like character will appear in this film, one of the most popular speculations is that Sentry will appear as the main villain. Born Bob Reynolds, Sentry started out as a lowly drug addict who unknowingly injected himself with a recreation of the Super Soldier Serum to get high, giving him the “power of 1 million exploding suns.”
While Sentry is hands down one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes, he is also one of its most fearsome villains. After gaining his superpowers, Reynolds became the host to a mysterious and evil entity known as “the Void,” who killed a million people in Manhattan alone and could very well destroy the entire universe. Talk about being your own worst enemy.