After several rumors cropped up this year, Harrison Ford has yet again been touted as a key casting for Captain America: New World Order, marking his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut.
The Star Wars and Indiana Jones legend won’t be getting a new character, however. Following William Hurt’s demise earlier this March, the roster has been left open with a casting for General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross — a role that Hurt has played ever since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, until his final appearance in 2021’s Black Widow.
Hurt’s passing was a long and difficult affair — he died aged 71 on March 13, 2022, after a three-year bout with terminal prostate cancer. While several stars from Ben Stiller to Patton Oswalt, Mark Ruffalo, and Topher Grace paid tribute to the actor, Marvel Studios hasn’t really confirmed how they’ll be following up with Hurt’s MCU legacy, which spans 5 films.
Rumors of Harrison’s Casting
The first link between Ford and the MCU sprang up earlier this September when Marvel Studios announced the Thunderbolts line-up at the D23 Expo. Reportedly, Ford was keyed as the next Ross, described as the studio’s ‘top choice’ for the character, and slated to appear in the upcoming villain-led film, described by many as Marvel’s answer to Suicide Squad.
The next update drew attention earlier this morning, as film critic Jeff Sneider confirmed that Ford was locked as General Ross by Marvel Studios. Speaking on The Hot Mic podcast with co-host John Rocha, Sneider stated:
“I hear that Harrison Ford has, in fact, closed a deal to play General Thunderbolt Ross — and that the movie is Captain America 4.”
What Will Ford’s Character Look Like?
Bringing on Ford would be a massive injection of star-power into the upcoming slate of Marvel films — joining the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman, Jon Favreau, and Rosario Dawson, four other names that have been cast in both Star Wars and in the MCU.
What’s interesting is that, despite Hurt’s several years as Ross, the studio never saw fit to thrust the character into the Red Hulk storyline, possibly because the core Avengers cast already has plenty of villains to fight. With a ‘power vacuum’ of sorts currently existing among the multiverse’s current baddies, it would be a great way to add another iconic villain to the series’ rogue’s gallery — especially one this old and iconic in the Hulk storyline.
The original Thunderbolt Ross is one of the oldest Marvel characters, dating all the way back to The Incredible Hulk #1, 1962. As the head of Bruce Banner’s gamma ray project, Ross is portrayed as arrogant, tough, and with a serious mean streak — pitting him against Hulk across decades of comic book storylines. We’ve already seen some of this, however, and what interests us now is the character’s Red Hulk arc, which began in Hulk (Vol.2) #1, 2008.
Seeking the power to go toe-to-toe with the Hulk, Ross partners with shady organizations to recreate the experiment that transformed Bruce Banner. The result is a second ‘hulking’ monster, this time in red. Interestingly, while the Red Hulk (or Rulk) shares much of the same durability and strength powers as the Hulk, the two differ in terms of how anger powers their abilities. While Banner gets stronger the more furious he becomes, Ross emanates more and more heat, reaching the point where he melts the very ground he’s fighting over.
Captain America: New World Order is set to release in 2024.
Lead Image: Warner Bros. Pictures