Mark Ruffalo’s Comments Cast Doubt On Hulk’s MCU Future

Will the Hulk ever get his own film? It’s “not happening,” Ruffalo says.

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Marvel Studios

It’s been a while since Mark Ruffalo has graced the big screen as the Incredible Hulk. The green guy did play a small role in Marvel’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, which streamed on Disney+ in 2022, and the series teased a huge future for the hero. But the fate of Marvel’s Hulk franchise has long been in jeopardy. Licensing issues with Universal Pictures have prevented Marvel from making a Hulk film of their own, forcing Ruffalo to hash out his arc as Bruce Banner in a handful of supporting roles.

Many fans expected another appearance from the Hulk in Captain America: Brave New World, as the upcoming film has already drafted a handful of characters from The Incredible Hulk. Thaddeus Ross (now played by Harrison Ford), his daughter Betty (Liv Tyler), and The Leader (Tim Blake Nelson) are all set to appear, making Brave New World more of a Hulk revival than anything else. All the film is missing is the Hulk himself, but based on recent comments from Ruffalo, it’s best not to hold our breath.

The actor stoked a bit of hope at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. During a Q&A, moderator Anne Thompson asked if he’d be appearing in Brave New World. “Are you allowed to talk about that?” Thompson asked, to which Ruffalo responded, “Yeah, it’s going to be great!”

But Ruffalo’s comments were the product of miscommunication. Per Variety, the actor thought he was confirming that Brave New World would be one of Marvel’s latest films. In truth, he does not expect to appear in the Captain America sequel, nor will he be getting his own Hulk film any time soon.

Ruffalo dropped a few bombshells at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Robin L Marshall/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

According to the actor, Marvel President Kevin Feige once asked him what he’d do if he had a standalone Hulk film. “I said, ‘I’d like to take him from this raging maniac to this integrated character,’” Ruffalo recalled at SBIFF. His pitch inspired the zen Hulk introduced in Avengers: Endgame. Feige agreed to develop this arc across four interconnected films, but apparently told Ruffalo, “We’ll never give you a standalone Hulk.”

“I don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble, but that’s not happening,” Ruffalo told the SBIFF audience.

For years, the issue of a Hulk film seemed like a question of licensing. Insiders assumed Marvel had entered into a 15- or 20-year distribution agreement with Universal, as they’d done with Paramount for the Iron Man films. But Feige’s comments have bluntly debunked that theory. We may not know precisely why, but Bruce Banner will apparently never get a solo adventure, and with no plans to include him in Brave New World, there’s no telling when the character will appear in the MCU again.

She-Hulk teased the next chapter of Bruce Banner’s story, but will we ever get to see it?

Marvel Studios

There’s also a sense that Ruffalo might be done with the Hulk altogether. He got the opportunity to fully realize his story across four films, as Feige promised. She-Hulk might have set the stage for Bruce’s next chapter by introducing his son Skaar (Wil Deusner), but is Marvel interested in exploring their estranged relationship? Time will tell, but the Hulk’s future now seems shakier than ever.

While a second season of She-Hulk is not likely, the series laid the groundwork for a Hulk-centric event in the near future. The MCU now has more Hulks than ever before, so it’d be silly not to bring them all together at some point. It might not be the World War Hulk adaptation everyone has been hoping for, but something has to be brewing on the horizon... right?

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