Mark Ruffalo made an unexpected appearance in the post-credit scene of Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings, but next year will see the Bruce Banner/Hulk actor make his first full return to the MCU since Avengers: Endgame as part of the Disney+ series of She-Hulk. The series arrives sometime in 2022 and stars Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, Bruce Banner’s cousin, who will find herself taking on some of his Hulk powers due to, if the rumors are true, a blood transfusion received from her gamma-radiation enhanced cousin. It has been hard to pinpoint exactly how the series will fit into the overarching Marvel Cinematic Universe storyline, but a number of known facts about the series had led some to believe that it will sow the first seeds of a World War Hulk movie and potentially the arrival of Wolverine in the MCU.
The first big part of this theory is that She-Hulk will see a number of “hulk” characters on screen. This will include She-Hulk, Mark Ruffalo’s green giant and the already confirmed appearance of Tim Roth’s Abomination. There is no way of knowing whether we will see any other Hulks show up in the series, but there does seem to be suggestion that the show will feature more than one villain and could then potentially branch out in some unexpected ways. Having been reminded of Thaddeus Ross’ presence in Black Widow, it could even be possible that we see the general making an appearance too, after all he is the only other character apart from The Abomination to have continued into the MCU from 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.
While a growing number of Hulks could suggest World War Hulk is coming, there are a few other factors that also give weight to the theory. One huge stumbling block for the Hulk being given his own solo movie in the MCU has been the fact that Universal Pictures have owned the rights to any movie starring the Hulk on his own. Marvel managed to get around the issue in the likes of the Avengers movies and even Thor: Ragnarok by making him a secondary character, but recently there have been suggestions that Universal’s time as right holders is coming to an end, which would mean that Marvel would once again have full control over the character and be allowed to use him in any way they see way. This would also fit with a report by Geeks WorldWide, which says that Marvel are developing a World War Hulk movie with the intention of starting filming in the coming year, and rumors of numerous meetings between Ruffalo and Marvel boss Kevin Feige.
If this does turn out to be the case, then part of a World War Hulk adaptation could also see the introduction of Wolverine, who in the comic books first appeared as one of the super soldiers created to hunt down a growing number of Hulks who ravage the Earth. If Marvel are going down this route, it is likely that a World War Hulk movie would come sometime in 2024, which would be just prior to where we expect to see the full integration of the X-Men into the MCU.
Whether any of this will have been fully proven or disproven by the time She-Hulk rolls out next year is anyone’s guess, but until then we can expect a lot more speculation on just where the “legal comedy series” is going to take us and whether it is going to have a much more serious legacy in the future of the MCU. This news originated at TheGWW.com.