After weeks of rumors, it’s finally official: Harrison Ford is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross beginning with Captain America: New World Order (via Deadline).
Ford will be taking over the role from the the late William Hurt, who passed away back in March of this year at the age of 71. Hurt played Ross for 13 years, starting with 2008’s The Incredible Hulk and ending with 2021’s Black Widow.
Now, Ford will be stepping into the mustache for the fourth Captain America film, set for a May 3rd, 2024 release. He’ll star alongside Anthony Mackie, whose Sam Wilson assumed the Cap mantle and shield in the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Also set to appear in the film are Shira Haas (Israeli superhero Sabra), Tim Black Nelson (reprising his Incredible Hulk role as Samuel Sterns/The Leader), Danny Ramirez (the new Falcon), and Carl Lumbly (Isaiah Bradley, the first Captain America).
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Julius Onah (The Cloverfield Paradox, Luce) will direct the project from a script by Falcon and Winter Solider showrunner Malcolm Spellman. It’s also highly likely that Ford will play Ross in the upcoming MCU villain team-up Thunderbolts, as the group takes their name from the General. Comic fans will be aware that Ross eventually gains superpowers of his own, so it’s possible we’ll see a suped up Ford at some point as well.
The recasting just seven months after Hurt’s death is a bit of a contradictory move from Marvel/Disney, as the studios were adamant about not recasting T’Challa/Black Panther after Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing. Instead, they wrote T’Challa’s death into the script for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, despite the character’s long running prominence in the Marvel universe. Still, Thunderbolt Ross doesn’t have the same cultural standing as Black Panther, so recasting the character to continue the MCU’s storylines may not have been as difficult a decision for Marvel.
Ford is also coming back as Indiana Jones for one last ride in a yet-untitled fifth adventure. Set for a June 23rd, 2023 release, that movie is helmed by James Mangold. With Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and now the MCU, Ford is part of three of Disney’s biggest properties.