At CinemaCon this week, Marvel announced a small but significant change to their upcoming movie ThunderboltsFrom now on, the official title of the movie is... Thunderbolts*.

With an asterisk.

Why an asterisk? While Marvel’s Kevin Feige confirmed the new title at CinemaCon, he wouldn’t explain it.

“We won’t talk about the asterisk until after release,” he explained.

You can see the new title treatment for the film — complete with asterisk — below.

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As far as I know, there’s never been a Marvel comic about the Thunderbolts with an asterisk in the title. (I haven’t read every single Thunderbolts issue, so I suppose it is possible I missed one.) My assumption, based on no insider information, is that the asterisk indicates that this team is not called the Thunderbolts for the full movie — and perhaps by the end of the film goes by a different name.

During one era of Thunderbolts history in the comics, for example, Norman Osborn took control of the team, and turned them into a government-sponsored group of villains who did black ops work for the government. (They were basically Marvel’s answer to the Suicide Squad.) Later still, Osborn gained control of S.H.I.E.L.D. then made the Thunderbolts into “his” team of Avengers. While these characters looked like heroes, they were mostly villains in disguise. Osborne’s “Spider-Man” for example, was actually Venom. His “Hawkeye” was actually Bullseye in Hawkeye’s costume, and so on.

While they were never called this in the comic, the series this group appeared in was titled Dark Avengers — and that could be what the asterisk is meant to refer to. They start as Thunderbolts, and by the end of the movie they have become the new Avengers (or Dark Avengers) team of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Or it could have absolutely nothing to do with any of that. But that’s my best guess for now. Thunderbolts* is currently scheduled to open in theaters on May 5.

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