There seems to be no end to Marvel’s woes at the moment. The studio has been weathering a storm of criticism and low box office numbers, as many recent projects such as The Marvels and Secret Invasion failed to excite the industry, and dissatisfied fans have been upset with the creative direction the studio has been taking lately.
The Hollywood Reporter (THR) has confirmed the rumour that Steven Yeun will no longer be starring in Marvel’s Thunderbolts movie. It was first reported that The Walking Dead star would be included in the cast last year, however, the studio never officially confirmed these reports.
According to THR, Yeun’s departure has been blamed on the writers and actors strike last year, which has left “schedules in disarray across Hollywood”.
Marvel was said to have halted production after the WGA (Writer’s Guild of America) strike began, and with the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) strike going until November last year, production moved to 2024, ultimately leading to Yeun leaving the project due to scheduling difficulties.
Yeun was set to star as The Sentry (a superhero whose “power of one million exploding suns” is derived from a special serum). Scooper Daniel RPK also corroborated the rumour yesterday by tweeting a sad face and saying, “I have seen Steven Yeun trying his Sentry suit, and let me tell you, it might be the best superhero suit we’ve seen in the MCU.”
Daniel had this to say earlier today, “Damn, now I really want people to see how Yeun looked as Sentry. Maybe someday. The suit is still amazing can’t wait for you to see it on the new guy.”
Thunderbolts is based on the Marvel comics about a band of antiheroes and is set to bring together the worlds of Ant-Man and the Wasp, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Black Widow and the upcoming Captain America instalment New World Order. Jake Schreier is directing, with Beef creator Lee Sung Jin writing the script alongside Black Widow writer Eric Pearson and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige producing. Details about the film’s plot have been kept under wraps, but the comics revolve around a group of villains-turned-heroes sent on missions commissioned by the government.
The current Thunderbolts cast includes Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, the new Black Widow, David Harbour as Red Guardian, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/ The Winter Soldier, Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost, Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster and Wyatt Russell as John Walker. Ayo Edebiri has also joined the cast in an undisclosed role and Harrison Ford replacing the late William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross. The film was initially scheduled to be released on July 26, 2024, but was pushed back to July 2025.
Yeun already has a prominent presence in comic book entertainment as the voice star of Invincible in Amazon’s adaptation of the Robert Kirkman comic. He recently starred alongside Ali Wong in Netflix’s Beef, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Male Actor in a Limited Series. He also has a role in the upcoming Bong Joon Ho’s sci-fi thriller Mickey 17, starring Robert Pattinson.
Recasting The Sentry For Marvel’s Thunderbolts Movie
With Yeun leaving the role, there is much speculation as to who could replace him, with many brilliant options to take it up. Marvel Comics’ Robert Reynolds is a complex character with a dark alter ego, so whoever takes over the role in Thunderbolts would need to portray the menacing character of The Void and contrast this with the Sentry as one of the world’s strongest heroes.
Fans are excited about the possibility of seeing The Sentry in the MCU, as he is one of the closest characters that Marvel has to a version of DC’s Superman. However, he is usually depicted as a white male with long, flowing locks of blonde hair. Kevin Feige has supposedly already said that he wants to race-swap the Sentry in the MCU going forward. However, with Steven Yeun’s exit, that might change too.
Here are our personal picks for Sentry in the MCU’s Thunderbolts:
1. Alexander Skarsgård
Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård certainly has the look of the Marvel Comics’ depiction of The Sentry with his long blonde hair and impressive physique. Skarsgård’s portrayal of the warrior Amleth in Robert Eggers’ The Northman (2022) captured the strength, brutality and strength of the character perfectly, and this could easily translate to the MCU’s Sentry.
2. Andrew Koji
A popular fan-cast for the role of Sentry is Andrew Koji, known for his roles in Warrior (2019), Snake Eyes (2021) and Bullet Train (2022). Koji has a martial arts background and often plays the role of a fighter in the projects he takes on. Marvel Studios has the habit of casting up-and-coming actors and boosting their careers, and Koji certainly fits the bill. His impressive fighting skills, charisma and physicality make him an excellent choice for Sentry in the MCU.
3. Boyd Holbrook
Boyd Holbrook has taken on action-heavy roles in projects such as Narcos (2015), Indiana Jones, the Dial of Destiny (2023), and The Sandman (2022). He’s already delved into the world of superheroes, having portrayed the villainous Donald Pierce in 2017’s Logan and Miracle Guy in 2020’s We Can Be Heroes opposite Pedro Pascal. He certainly has the villainous quality needed to portray the complex role of the MCU’s Sentry, making him a top choice.
4. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, most famous for his role as Jaime Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones, has been a popular suggestion for replacing Yeun as the MCU’s Sentry. The Danish actor has often starred in action, sci-fi and thriller projects, paving the way for an entry into the MCU. Fans loved his portrayal of the complex GOT character, and he could embrace his more villainous side to play the Sentry’s alter ego, the Void, with his dramatic and intense acting skills. This, combined with the right look and physicality, makes him a forerunner for the role.
5. Ryan Hurst
Ryan Hurst has expressed interest in playing the role of the MCU’s Sentry. Hurst posted fan art images of himself as the Sentry way back in 2021, showing clear interest in joining the MCU as the Sentry. With the news of Yeun no longer playing the role, he expressed his interest again with an Instagram post saying, “We all know who should play the sentry… Don’t we…Get manifesting Kids…”
Some of his better-known roles include that of Gerry Bertier in Remember the Titans (2000), Opie Winston in Sons of Anarchy (2008) and Beta in The Walking Dead (2019), and he also voiced the hardened Thor in 2022’s God of War Ragnarök video game. These projects demonstrate an ability and suitability for the role of Sentry, and with his eagerness to portray the character, it may very well be his lucky day.
Losing Steven Yeun is a sore blow for the Thunderbolts film; hopefully, whoever the new actor is will help increase Marvel’s fortunes, which have been grim of late. Whether the studio should continue with the film is another point of contention, with some online voices arguing that the film should be scrapped and that the studio should focus on X-Men and the Fantastic Four instead.
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