Thunderbolt Ross (marvel Cinematic Universe)
NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Thunderbolt Ross from the Marvel Cinematic film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Thunderbolt Ross (Marvel).“Tell me, Captain, do you know where Thor and Banner are right now? If I misplaced a couple of thirty megaton nukes, you can bet there’d be consequences. Compromise. Reassurance. That’s how the world works.„~ Thaddeus Ross to Captain America.
General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross is a major antagonist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, serving as the secondary antagonist of both The Incredible Hulk and Captain America: Civil War, a minor antagonist in both Avengers: Infinity War and Black Widow, and a cameo character in Avengers: Endgame. Versions of him also appear in the Marvel animated anthology series What If…?, serving as a minor antagonist in “What If… the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?”, the final antagonist of “What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?” and a cameo character in “What If… Ultron Won?”.
He is a general of the United States Army who tries to capture and weaponize Bruce Banner after he develops into the Hulk with Gamma Radiation due to his close relationship with his daughter Betty, sending Emil Blonsky after him. Years later, he becomes the Secretary of State of the United States and tries to force the Avengers to sign the Sokovia Accords due to Ultron’s actions, causing the Avengers Civil War and eventually leading to the Infinity War against Thanos.
He was portrayed by the late William Hurt, who also played Marshall in Mr. Brooks. In What If…?, he was voiced by Mike McGill.Role
Thaddeus Ross was a Lieutenant General of the United States Army. During his career, he was put in charge of the military project called the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project, which aimed to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. However, the experiment led to an accident which transformed the scientist Bruce Banner into Hulk.
After a long hunt, Banner was captured, only for Ross’ subordinate officer Emil Blonsky to transform into the monstrous Abomination which forced Ross to accept Hulk as an ally and allow him to escape after the battle in Harlem. Five years after this incident, he is now serving as the U.S. Secretary of Defense. His attempts to uphold the Accords resultes in a series of attempts that briefly divide the Avengers.HistoryPast
A young Thaddeus Ross returned to America at the age of 27, having joined the military and participated in the Vietnam War. Over the years he rose to the rank of a three-star general, and also had a daughter named Elizabeth, who eventually went by the nickname, Betty.
Thaddeus Ross was involved in an Army research and development program intended to recreate the “Super Soldier Serum” first developed in World War II. The project was known as the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project. At the beginning of the scheme, the military had been using captured terrorists of Al-Haquid to test out various serums.
However, pictures of the project came out and the United States Congress killed it. Ross got an agreement with the scientist Bruce Banner, his daughter’s fiancé, for working on a government project to render soldiers immune to Gamma Radiation, under the guise of being part of the weapon development project.
Involved in early phase research, Banner conducted a test on himself dealing with Gamma Radiation – instead of Vita Radiation – and after an accidental explosion, became the “Hulk”, a giant and an amazingly strong brute who fled after injuring Betty, leaving her in a coma. When Banner returned to visit Betty in the hospital, Ross was furious and threw Banner out, causing Banner to go on the run.
Taken by a sense of guilt and rage, Ross put his life at the service of a single cause: to hunt down and capture Bruce Banner. Ross then formed an army unit called the Strategic Operations Command Center to recover the fugitive in coordination with S.H.I.E.L.D. The General’s obsession caused a major rift between him and his daughter, Betty Ross, who still loved Banner. Their relationship never fully recovered with Ross respectfully honoring her wishes after she told him to stay away from her after she became disgusted with his increasingly ruthless actions.The Incredible Hulk“Blonsky: I’m a fighter, and I’ll be one for as long as I can. Mind you, if I took what I had now, and put it in a body that I had ten years ago, that would be someone I wouldn’t want to fight.
Ross: I think I can arrange something like that…„~ Emil Blonsky and Thaddeus Ross.
Later, Ross received intel from Kathleen Sparr that a man had become infected with Gamma Radiation after drinking a bottle of Pingo Doce. Knowing this must have been caused by Banner, he began a frantic search, tracking down the factory that produced the soda in Rocinha, near Rio de Janeiro, and ordered his soldiers and contacts to look for a while man working in the factory.
Ross began putting together his unit with the sole purpose of capturing Banner; he managed to hire one of the best operatives at his disposal, Emil Blonsky, and sent them to the village of Rio de Janeiro. As they traveled to the location, Ross chooses not to disclose the secrets of Banner’s condition, believing them to be still top-secret. He told Blonsky and the other soldiers that Banner was a target of the U.S. Government who had stolen military secrets. He ordered them to ensure that Banner was captured without incident.
During the attack, Ross stayed close and gave orders to the soldiers. Banner managed to escape and began to run, with Blonsky giving chase. At one point Banner ran past Ross’s armored van, Ross stepped out and looked Banner in the eyes. Banner continued to run until he became cornered in the Pingo Doce factory and transformed into the Hulk. He defeated the soldiers and escaped, Ross, screamed “No” as he watched the Hulk smash through a wall and fled.
When Emil Blonsky returned, he was furious at Ross for not telling him of Banner’s condition as several of his men had been killed. When they returned to the U.S.A., Ross said how Banner became the Hulk. They discussed the Super Soldier Program from World War II, Blonsky expressed interest in having another chance to fight the Hulk and claimed that he wished that he could have the body he had ten years ago along with the mind he has now. Ross claimed he could arrange something like that for him. Blonsky accepted Ross’s offer to be injected with an experimental version of the Super Soldier Serum, developed by Ross’s researchers. Ross collected the Serum himself from a secure facility and watched closely as Blonsky was injected with the Serum. The Serum was injected into his neck and spine; it caused him considerable pain but increased his strength and agility to superhuman levels.
When Leonard Samson, Betty Ross’s new boyfriend, warned Ross that Bruce Banner had returned to Virginia. Boss seized the opportunity, and his forces, super-powered Blonsky included, attacked at Culver University in an attempt to capture Banner. Ross used all his men and his new weapons created by Stark Industries and caused a major battle with the Banner, who had transformed into the Hulk. Betty Ross screamed at her father, but he would not listen. Eventually, Ross sent Blonsky to attack Hulk, although he was able to hold his own against the beast, he was eventually kicked in the chest by the Hulk, and every bone in his body was broken. Seeing no other choice, Ross called for a helicopter to shoot at the Hulk; however, Betty was caught in the crossfire and nearly killed before Ross could call the helicopter away, Hulk destroyed it and escaped with the unconscious Betty Ross, General Ross watched helplessly as he got away again. In need of new information about the Hulk’s movements, Ross obtained the World Security Council’s permission to extract the data from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s computers. A few hours later, Ross was confronted by Nick Fury himself. Ross told Fury that he was not going to leave the safety of the world in his hands.
Much to Ross’ surprise, Emil Blonsky managed to recover very quickly from the wounds suffered in the battle with Bruce Banner, because of the Super Soldier Serum. Blonsky volunteered to go through the procedure again to increase his strength. General Ross managed to track Banner’s accomplice and has his lab taken in custody by the Army. Ross discovered Banner’s and Betty’s whereabouts had Banner shot with a tranquilizer rifle and took them both into custody by a helicopter. Ross learned that Banner had tried and seemingly succeeded in destroying the Hulk from inside him, Ross warned Banner that if he had indeed killed the Hulk, then he would ensure Banner spent the rest of his life in prison.