She-Hulk smashes her way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the Tatiana Maslany-starring series on Disney+, where Marvel Studios could bring back characters not seen since The Incredible Hulk. During Disney Investor Day 2020, Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige confirmed Avengers star Mark Ruffalo would reprise his role as Bruce Banner, cousin to Maslany's Jennifer Walters, alongside Incredible Hulk's Tim Roth as the Abomination. Roth starred opposite Edward Norton's Bruce Banner in the 2008 film introducing Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), her father, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross (William Hurt), and Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson), the future big-brained Leader.
Besides Ruffalo's recast Banner, Hurt's military man Ross is the only leading character from The Incredible Hulk to reappear in the ever-expanding MCU. Ross returned as the U.S. Secretary of State in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, where he implemented the superhero Sokovia Accords, and again in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame — with his fifth appearance still on the way in Black Widow.
The Incredible Hulk ended with Banner forced into hiding in British Columbia, severing his relationship with then-girlfriend Betty. By the time of 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron — where Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) battled an enraged Hulk in a specialized suit of armor nicknamed "Veronica," a roundabout reference to Betty — Banner paired off with fellow Avenger Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson).
Both Rosses were snapped out of existence by Thanos (Josh Brolin) and resurrected by the Avengers five years later. Incredible Hulk ended with the brainy Stern, exposed to Banner's gamma-irradiated blood via a head wound, taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. After Hulk beat Abomination into submission in Harlem, S.H.I.E.L.D. imprisoned the monster in an Alaskan cryo-cell, according to an off-hand reference in television's Agents of SHIELD.
In the Marvel comic books, Sterns becomes the super-smart and telepathic Leader, one of Hulk's most prominent enemies. In 2010, Nelson confirmed his final scene in Incredible Hulk was a setup for Sterns' return in a sequel that never materialized because of rival studio Universal Pictures holding distribution rights to all Hulk-led films.
"I am [signed for more Marvel movies], but it's a question as to whether they'll make more movies, which was the [original] intention, or whether they'll take a fresh start with the villains, since they switched Bruce Banner to Mark Ruffalo. I certainly very much want to return as the Leader and I hope they'll have me," Nelson told IndieWire in 2010. "The intention was that I would come back, which is why my head starts to, um, bubble, at the end. It's just a question as to whether a) they're going to make more Hulk movies, and b) because of Ruffalo, if they're going to use me again."
In 2019, an unconfirmed report claimed both Rosses would return in She-Hulk. Feige did not confirm Tyler or Hurt when announcing Ruffalo and Roth had joined the still-growing cast of She-Hulk, but teased other Marvel characters will pop up from episode to episode.
Bring Back the Leaderprevnext
Bring Back Betty
Bring back Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, you cowards. https://t.co/h5qoFcVuqN— Daniel Stapf (like the infection) (@DStapf63) December 11, 2020
Following the Leader
Wait where’s Tim Blake Nelson? I need me some Leader in here.— Jaymes Caragan (@UltimatePyroJ) December 11, 2020
Acknowledging the Past
‘Bout goddamn time they did more to acknowledge Incredible Hulk. How about bringing back Liv Tyler to turn Betty Ross into Red She-Hulk while we’re at it? https://t.co/9cV3My6x2w— Josh “Hava Na-“ Gilbert (@ShokXoneStudios) December 11, 2020
The Real Question
The real question though.... will Tim Blake Nelson be back as The Leader???? https://t.co/PYz9TtxYZD— Gwendolyn Jae Stone (@GwenLovesMovies) December 11, 2020
I wonder if liv tyler will be brought back as Betty Ross?— biffstix (@biffstix) December 11, 2020
I Have the Need, the Need for Leader
Now we just need Tim Blake Nelson’s Leader.— Jeremy Mahany (@JeremyMMahany) December 11, 2020