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Summary

  • Hulk’s character development in the MCU was cut short, leaving a lack of closure for the superhero’s story.
  • The MCU can take inspiration from Scarlet Witch’s character arc in WandaVision to bring back a scarier and more monstrous version of Hulk.
  • Making Hulk a temporary villain would not only be narratively fitting but also allow the MCU to pay off the character’s journey and provide a satisfying conclusion.


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Though plenty of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have already found a satisfying ending in the MCU, one original team member has been a bit caught in narrative limbo. However, thanks to a few MCU Phase 4 projects, Marvel Studios has a perfect template to bring this hero back to prominence and give them the satisfying closure they deserve. The movies of the MCU timeline have done an unprecedented job developing dozens of characters over multiple projects, and given the Herculean size of the Marvel movie universe on big and small screens, it’s no surprise a few have fallen a bit by the wayside.

Unfortunately, one such character is Bruce Banner and his alter-ego, the Hulk. While the gamma-powered hero underwent a satisfying narrative journey from The Incredible Hulk through Avengers: Endgame, Hulk and Banner found common ground off-camera, robbing audiences of what should have been the culmination of over a decade of development. Fortunately, “Smart Hulk” is still alive and active in the MCU, and the franchise has already explored a perfect avenue to fix Hulk’s narrative slip-up and give the hero a properly climactic send-off.

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The MCU Can Repeat Scarlet Witch’s Villain Turn With Hulk

One of the things that made Hulk so compelling in the early years of the MCU – and what keeps him compelling in Marvel Comics – is that he’s often just as terrifying and dangerous as Marvel’s villains. Indeed, the first two Avengers movies featured at least one scene of Hulk losing control, all important moments on Bruce’s presumed journey to find a way to live with his other half long term. Given that, it’s incredibly disappointing that the character-defining moment happened off-screen. Smart Hulk, while fine as a charcter in his own right, feels like an unearned ending, and the more savage Hulk never got the epic final send-off he deserves.

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Fortunately, Scarlet Witch’s heel-turn through WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would be the perfect blueprint to bring back a scarier, more monstrous Hulk. While controversial as a bookend to Wanda’s post-Endgame grief, making Hulk the villain of a movie would be narratively appropriate and offer a “do-over” to make up for Bruce and Hulk’s big character unification happening off-camera.

Why Making Hulk A Temporary Villain Fixes The Character’s Story

Scarlet Witch played the role of temporary antagonist in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Hulk has similarly been established as a character with the potential to cause great harm. It’s not far-fetched to imagine a villain could find a way to disturb the symbiosis between Banner and Hulk, again putting them at odds and in need of reconciliation. Doing so may seem to tread familiar ground but would instead allow the MCU to pay off Banner’s 15+ year character journey.

There are plenty of upcoming movies that seem like a good fit for this regression, too. Captain America: Brave New World already features several characters from The Incredible Hulk, like Betty and Thaddeus Ross. As such, it would be the perfect project to bring Banner in, even if for some short scenes, to set up a Hulk-centric project in the MCU Phase 6. Thunderbolts will also assumedly feature Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, and classic Hulk could be needed if the former finally becomes Red Hulk. This would give Hulk the final epic fight he didn’t have Endgame and actually showcase how Bruce finally re-comes to turn with his violent other half.

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