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Mark Ruffalo has a lot of interesting material to work with when it comes to his future as The Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This weekend's Thor: Ragnarok marks the start of a trilogy where Bruce Banner and his rage monster persona will go through some radical development, and the next step in that story will take place in next summer's Avengers: Infinity War. As part of The Hulk's personal growth, he'll make a new and unlikely friend: Guardians of the Galaxy's Rocket Raccoon. Ruffalo himself broke the news, as well as why this is such a funny pairing, noting,
It's a very funny relationship that the two of them have: First of all, it's the biggest superhero and the smallest. Just keeping them in a frame together is a feat and hilarious in itself.
While this may not be the team-up I was hoping for, putting Rocket Raccoon together with The Hulk makes a lot of sense. Both are characters with a warrior's spirit, intense strength under pressure, and serious anger issues, while at the same time having more sensitive sides (dependent on intense loyalty). So when you think about it, their personalities are similar enough that they're pretty much built to be friends and teammates. But the size contrast is definitely going to be something to watch.
It's this opposing trait that Mark Ruffalo seems to find the most humor in, at least according to what he told USA Today. His conjuring of the image of a small raccoon trying to keep on the same screen as Bruce Banner's oversized hero in an average Avengers: Infinity War battle scene already sounds like it'll lend itself to some interesting moments between the two teammates.
Wherever this friendship between The Hulk and Rocket Raccoon leads, the crucial question that now lies ahead is just how this pairing will set Mark Ruffalo's Avengers teammate up for that third part of his upcoming story arc. Considering that Thor: Ragnarok already borrows from pieces of the "Planet Hulk" storyline in the Marvel Comics universe, there's a possibility that either Rocket fuels the new Hulk's smashing streak, thus leading to a storyline inspired by "World War Hulk." Then again, Mr. Raccoon could quell Bruce Banner's rage-filled tendencies, helping him return to the fold after his time on Sakaar. If we were to put money on it, we'd say that Bradley Cooper's attitude-laden trash panda will help Banner adjust to being the hero that Earth needs, as I would hope that Marvel Studios will want to possibly end the character's story on a downbeat note.
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For now though, we'll see Mark Ruffalo's Hulk starting that three-picture journey with Thor: Ragnarok, as it battles at the box office this weekend. Meanwhile, you can see Bradley Cooper's Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is currently available on Digital HD, UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD.