The upcoming Thunderbolts will bring heroes, villains and antiheroes together onto one team, but it will feature its likely namesake in the returning character Thunderbolt Ross. This time, however, he’ll be portrayed by veteran actor Harrison Ford following the passing of William Hurt. While recasting Ross with Ford adds a lot of star power, the supposed new direction for the character makes absolutely no sense.
Rumors have it that Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross will become the president in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the time of Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts. This major upgrade is undeserved, as Ross has been portrayed as nothing but ineffectual in the MCU. Failing to stop the Hulk and also pushing the controversial Sokovia Accords, Ross’ losses far outweigh his wins. Thus, anyone supporting his presidential run is incredibly questionable.
Thunderbolt Ross Has Never Been Competent in the MCU
The MCU version of Thunderbolt Ross debuted in 2008’sThe Incredible Hulk, where he — as usual — was portrayed as being obsessed with capturing Bruce Banner/Hulk. That only gives rise to Emil Blonsky becoming the Abomination, the likes of whom only the Hulk could defeat. This irony is seen in Ross’ own disappointment, with an after-credits scene showing the general drowning away his sorrows at a bar when he meets Tony Stark.
By the time of Captain America: Civil War, he’s retired from the military and become the Secretary of State, pushing the Sokovia Accords to make The Avengers answer to the United Nations. This decision is incredibly controversial among the team, and it fractures Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The Accords are quietly done away with when Thanos and his army invade, and following his use of the Infinity Gauntlet, it’s rendered moot. So, Ross has to immediately bend the knee to The Avengers when the Earth is endangered.
That shows how pathetic Ross was at times, with his targets usually making fools of him. Though it was meant to give him nuance and make him seem like a well-intentioned adversary, he instead came off as ultimately ineffectual, especially for a man of his rank. Ross’ becoming President of the United States would be a prime example of his losing his way to the top, with his greatest legacy being creating monsters and failing to protect the American people.
Despite Harrison Ford, Thunderbolt Ross Shouldn’t Become President in the MCU
It’s questionable how much of a role Ross still has in the MCU. The lack of solo Hulk movies saw him transition into more of an Avengers antagonistic, albeit one who was a bureaucratic loser. Now, his greatest enemy and the man he saw as such a major threat to the country is a Hawaiian shirt-wearing dad, and even his similarly-empowered cousin is more of a jokester lawyer than a public menace. There’s really no reason for the character to have been brought back, especially following Hurt’s death.
Potentially making him the president feels like a forced way to make Ross have a major role again and justify recasting him with Ford. After all, Ford has become known for playing fictional presidents in movies before, making this a new entry in the trend. Still, that doesn’t mean that Ross makes any sense as the president. If anything, a character like Don Cheadle’s War Machine would fit the role better, especially since his career both in the military and as a superhero is successful. It seems, however, that Marvel is dead set on giving Ross a bigger presence, and whether it involves him becoming the Red Hulk or not, it apparently will feature the White House.