- Marvel’s MCU Phase 4 will deliver new stories featuring new and existing characters from Marvel comics.
- Some of the original Avengers will be replaced by other superheroes as soon as Phase 4, so new characters will continue to appear in upcoming MCU adventures.
- A new report says that Mark Ruffalo has already agreed to appear in an MCU Phase 4 TV series, reprising the Hulk role he played for the better part of the past decade.
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The first Marvel Cinematic Universe film of Phase 4 hits theaters in a few weeks, and it’s going to be an MCU adventure of the prequel variety. Black Widow is almost an origin story for Natasha Romanoff, with most of the action happening between 2016 and 2018, therefore at least five years before the events of Avengers: Endgame. This isn’t the first time we get a prequel story in the MCU, but Black Widow will be the first such film for a hero who is already dead. Nat sacrificed her life in Endgame in exchange for the Soul Stone, and there’s little hope of seeing her beyond 2023. Endgame also robbed us of two other Avengers from the original six, including Iron Man, who died, and Captain America, who retired. The MCU Phase 4’s upcoming TV series and films are also supposed to retire Hawkeye and Thor, which leaves just one original Avenger whose fate is still up in the air in the aftermath of Endgame.
When we last saw him in the movie, Smart Hulk was supposed to “fix it” — by it, Falcon meant the time travel issue that prevented Cap from returning. Only Cap did come back, but he did it as an old man who went through life on a different timeline.
What I’m trying to get at, and it’s something I’ve said before, is that Hulk’s arc feels incomplete after Endgame because we didn’t get any memorable moments from the film. There’s no satisfying development for the hero, though Hulk’s metamorphosis into Smart Hulk in Endgame is definitely a highlight for Bruce Banner’s arc. As is the fact that people now love him. Or that Hulk was the only creature able to undo the snap without dying.
We talked about the need for Marvel to end Hulk’s arc in a better manner, either via a film or a TV series. The latter is the easier route, given that Marvel doesn’t own the rights to the character that would allow it to make any standalone films. Actor Mark Ruffalo, who played the character in all MCU films except for the only standalone Hulk film, did hint in recent interviews that he’d like to see more of Hulk, suggesting he might reprise the role in future MCU stories, including the She-Hulk TV series. We now have a significant development that Hulk fans will appreciate.
Ruffalo apparently signed a deal for She-Hulk, The Illuminerdi reports. It’s unclear in how many episodes we’ll see him in or whether he’ll also star in other MCU films before or after the TV series. By the way, we have no idea when She-Hulk will hit Disney+, but it can’t be any sooner than 2021.
Also, we have no idea when the action in the TV series will take place, given how complex the MCU timeline is. She-Hulk will be an origin story for this new Marvel hero, so it could be set in the present (2023 or later), but it could also feature scenes/episodes where the action takes place between Infinity War and Endgame. If that were the case, She-Hulk could actually show us the Hulk-to-Smart-Hulk transformation that we were denied in Endgame as well as other key Hulk events from the five years between the last two Avengers films.
Previous reports also said that Hulk and She-Hulk will not be the only Hulks of the MCU. Red Hulk is also expected to appear in the upcoming films or TV series, and Black Widow might open the door to that, according to some unconfirmed leaks. Needless to say, a Red Hulk vs. Hulk confrontation of any sort might be one of the best things to happen to the MCU, especially considering that we were denied the Hulk vs. Thanos rematch in Endgame. That’s just speculation, however, as there’s no telling whether Marvel is going down that route when it comes to its Hulks.
As for Jennifer Walters, we have no idea which actress will play She-Hulk in the TV series. Hopefully, Marvel will soon announce more details for the upcoming MCU Phase 4 shows that haven’t already been detailed.