By the end of Avengers: Endgame and Marvel Studios' Hall H panel this year, we knew what nearly every member of the Avengers would be up to for the next few years. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) are dead; Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is retired; Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) have upcoming properties they need to star in. Then there's The Incredible Hulk, Mr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) himself — a character that's suddenly just roaming the Marvel Cinematic Universe with no aim.
Thanks to complicated rights issues — something with Universal owning the character's distribution rights — it's unlikely we'll ever see another solo Hulk film. That said, Marvel apparently has unlimited creative control using the character as a supporting character — hence the magic we were all treated to in Thor: Ragnarok. So the question begs to be asked: what the heck is going to happen to the Hulk in Phase 4 and beyond?
Looking at the Phase 4 slate, the only stand-out property that'd make sense for a Hulk appearance would be Thor: Love and Thunder in 2021. After all, he already has quite a relationship with both Thor and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) — but would he still appear even with Natalie Portman set to return as Jane Foster? After all, Jane turning into the Mighty Thor is quite a big deal and will likely take up the most of the story.
It's probably safe to say the character won't end up appearing in any of the Disney+ shows. Though they're being treated by Marvel Studios as cinematic projects, the gamma-infused monster doesn't fit in story-wise with any of the characters the announced live-action shows.
We do have to admit, however, another attractive option would be appearing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Sure, Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) will be appearing and some other reports have suggested both Brother Voodoo and Clea would end up appearing, but could you just imagine Hulk traveling between dimensions with Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his cronies?
At the end of the day, the future is completely left open for the Hulk and I'm sure if you're like us, you'd welcome Ruffalo back to the MCU with wide open arms.
When and where do you think we'll see the Hulk return? Share your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting me at @AdamBarnhardt to chat all things MCU!
Marvel Studios' upcoming schedule includes Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in spring 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.