Could we see Harrison Ford in the MCU? That’s the hot rumor, and it could have huge ramifications for both Captain America: New World Order and Armor Wars.
The latest rumor is indeed an intriguing one. The word on the internet is that none other than Harrison Ford is being courted to take up the reins as Thunderbolt Ross.
That’s right; Indiana Jones/Han Solo himself could be debuting in the MCU.
Up to this point, most fans thought the role of Thunderbolt Ross would be left out of future MCU projects. After all, Marvel is known for not recasting its roles. Most famously we have Chadwick Boseman, who tragically had just reached superstardom with his turn as T’Challa/Black Panther when he passed away before Wakanda Forever began filming. Marvel chief Kevin Feige was adamant that, despite fan outcry, the part would not be recast.
Since Marvel chose to let the character of T’Challa pass with Boseman, it left things in doubt for classic Hulk villain Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross following legendary actor William Hurt’s death in March. There’s no comparing Ross with T’Challa. Ross has more of a support role in Marvel; he found his niche as an antagonistic figure mostly in the world of the Avengers. Meanwhile, T’Challa was the face of a budding franchise and a cultural icon as Black Panther.
If Feige wouldn’t recast a character as important as T’Challa, then surely he won’t recast Thunderbolt, either, right? Enter: Harrison Ford.
Assuming Feige has spoken with Ford about playing Thunderbolt, it leads to more questions. For one, why would Marvel want a cinematic icon to take over what has been a smaller role? If it’s true, then it could be a clue that Thunderbolt has a much larger part to play in the MCU. The most obvious choice is to bring his gamma-powered alter ego to CGI-rendered life as Red Hulk. Obviously, the 80-year-old Ford isn’t going to rock a spandex costume or do much in the way of action-packed stunts. In fact, he likely wouldn’t have gone for that 40 years ago. However, doing the voice acting for a CGI monster wouldn’t be out of the question.
While it’s easy to assume Red Hulk would be featured in either a future season of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law or a long-overdue second Hulk solo film, the clues point in a different direction. In fact, his character could be the connection between Captain America: New World Order and Armor Wars.
While not much has been revealed about either, we do know a couple of key details.
First, Armor Wars has transitioned from being a Disney+ series into a feature-length film, which suggests Marvel has bigger plans for the title than originally imagined. Adding someone of Ford’s stature to the movie as the villainous Red Hulk would generate plenty of ticket sales. Plus, there’s already a natural rivalry between Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Thunderbolt Ross stemming from Avengers: Infinity War.
Although Armor Wars doesn’t have a release date, we can assume it will follow the fourth Captain America film, which is slated for May 3, 2024. Tim Blake Nelson will reprise his role as Samuel Sterns from 2008’s Incredible Hulk, likely establishing the character as the supervillain, The Leader. There have been rumors galore that Red Hulk will be part of New World Order, and The Leader could be the plot device needed to give Thunderbolt his gamma-powered upgrade. While Red Hulk may not actually appear in Cap 4, it would set the stage for a showdown with War Machine in Armor Wars.
Of course, all of this is pure speculation, but it is plausible. Marvel has become a veritable “who’s who” of superstar actors, which is likely thanks to Disney’s nigh-infinite budget. With Ford having worked with Disney in two of its Star Wars sequel trilogy entries as well as the upcoming Indiana Jones 5, the pipeline for a Marvel conversation is there if it hasn’t happened already.
Although I invoke the Feige rule (nothing means anything until Feige confirms it), this one seems like a shoo-in.