U.C. canon and Gundam Thunderbolt are two concepts you can’t put together without encountering a significant discourse, especially on the English-speaking Gundam community. We tend to hold canon with reverence, so it throws us off when something like Gundam Thunderbolt shows us stuff we know can’t exist in the timeline it’s supposed to belong. And this is just the manga alone, as the anime adaptation should be treated separately despite using the same source material. Unfortunately, the same discussions happen with the anime as Sunrise is being ambiguous on how the adaptation fits the other U.C. series, if it does at all.
We already got teases of this with the mass-produced Zeong units and how the Atlas Gundam seemed way to advance for something coming right after the One Year War. And then the latest chapter of the manga shows these:
Yes, these are Gundam Mk-II units being mass produced in droves!
We also get a glimpse of the mainstay transformable mobile suits used by the Titans.
And then Io Flemming is shown what I believe to be the Hyaku Shiki still in the development phase, and possibly concepts for the Zeta Gundam. The manga does justify these teases, saying these developments won’t be combat ready for the next 5 years, so we’re probably in around U.C.0082.
They are definitely skipping past the Gundam Development Project form Gundam 0083 and are going straight to the next generation mobile suits appearing in Z Gundam. Being the war mongering industrial complex that they are, Anaheim Electronics is building these mobile suits, and the mobile suits meant to fight them, it’s a win-win for them basically. This chapter also marks the 10th anniversary of Gundam Thunderbolt and it’s interesting where they’ll take this story.
If you still doubt this is alternate Universal Century stuff, then check out this tweet from Yasuo Ohtagaki, basically confirming that the events take place in a world line different from the original.
The Gundam Thunderbolt anime adaptation is currently on a break, but I am really curious how they’ll handle the latest chapters, especially how they totally skew from the main U.C. canon. As mentioned, Sunrise has been ambiguous on where this fits, and the only clue we have is the silver color of the HG GUNDAM THUNDERBOLT logo when everything else is gold, including the HG GUNDAM THE ORIGIN line which also comes from another Gundam production where people also argue with its canon status. Fun times!