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Smart Hulk in Avengers: Endgame

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Bruce Banner has been a key player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for nearly the entirety of its existence, with The Incredible Hulk coming out just a month after Iron Man. Mark Ruffalo succeeded Edward Norton as the modern day Jekyll and Hyde starting with 2012’s The Avengers, but he still has yet to lead his own Hulk movie.

While such a creative endeavor still isn’t on the horizon, Mark Ruffalo is game for to take center stage for a standalone Hulk adventure, with his idea for such a story sounding similar to what we’re getting with Black Widow later this year. As Ruffalo put it:

There’s an idea that I think could be really interesting. We’ve never really followed him into his life. He’s always kind of off on the side. He’s like the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the Avengers. It’d be interesting to fill in all the blanks about what happened to him in between all these movies.

As those of you who’ve been following Black Widow news know, because Natasha Romanoff died in Avengers: Endgame, her solo movie is winding the clock back to the period between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, when the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent was on the run and couldn’t turn to her superhero allies. So even though we know how her MCU journey will end, Black Widow provides the opportunity to further flesh out Natasha’s backstory, particularly regarding her time as a Russian spy.

This is the path Mark Ruffalo would be game for a Hulk movie going down, as he told Variety. Rather than follow along with a post-Avengers: Endgame Hulk, he’d rather explore what happened with Bruce Banner in the gaps between past movies. Presumably that would mean that unless we’d be seeing how Smart Hulk came to be between the events of Infinity War and Endgame, this would mark the return of the monstrous Hulk that we know best.

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The biggest obstacle with making that happen is the same one that’s sidelined any kind of Hulk movie for the past decade: Universal Pictures still holds the distribution rights to such projects. Disney can throw Hulk into any movie that’s an ensemble piece or has a different superhero as its lead, but if Hulk is the star of the show, Disney would come to an arrangement with the rival studio. But hey, we’ve seen Disney and Sony collaborate with Spider-Man, so perhaps there’s still a chance the Mouse House could work something out with Universal, thus allowing Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk to finally take center stage.

For now, Mark Ruffalo isn’t even 100% certain that he’ll reprise Hulk in the MCU, although he acknowledged that an appearance in the upcoming She-Hulk series on Disney+ (which is offering a seven-day free trial) remains a possibility. In Ruffalo’s words:

There’s nothing completely at a place where it’s a done deal. There’s some talk of having Banner/Hulk show up in [the Disney Plus series] She-Hulk. If we come up with something good, that would be really interesting. Right now that’s about it. That’s all there is on the table.

Considering that in the Marvel Comics universe, Jennifer Walters became She-Hulk after getting a blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner, one would imagine that means the likelihood is strong that he could pop up in her Disney+ show, even if it’s just for an episode. However, until an actual contract is signed, Hulk’s MCU future remains clouded in uncertainty.

Mark Ruffalo also reiterated his interest in seeing Hulk and Wolverine fight in the MCU. Wolverine’s first appearance in the comics featured him tangling with the Green Goliath, and now that Marvel Studios has the X-Men film rights, such a conflict could conceivably take place and surely be one of the bigger mini-crossovers within this shared universe.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on if/when Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk will come back, but in the meantime, keep track of the upcoming MCU movies that have been announced so far with our handy guide.

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