In May of 2008, the primary Iron Man movie was launched, marking the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A number of brief weeks later, The Incredible Hulk was dropped at the large display screen, by which actor Edward Norton was forged for the function of Bruce Banner. The Incredible Hulk film is usually ignored by Marvel followers, as a result of it’s up within the air whether or not or not it may be seen as a part of the official MCU.
Some say that the movie must be thought-about canon, but it surely hasn’t had any actual influence on the Marvel characters or their storylines following its launch. It can be nowhere to be discovered on Disney Plus amongst the remainder of Marvel’s initiatives, leaving some followers to surprise if even Marvel Studios considers The Incredible Hulk to be essential to the franchise.
According to a fan concept from Reddit consumer Supervinyl, nevertheless, all of this is perhaps about to alter. The concept means that Norton’s Banner/Hulk, in addition to all the pieces that went down throughout The Incredible Hulk film, have been formally canonized throughout What If…? episode 3. During this episode, Hulk’s story mirrored among the occasions that occurred throughout The Incredible Hulk, and subsequently overlapped with the film’s timeline. This led the fan to consider that Hulk’s story was being performed out in two totally different universes on the identical time.
Now that Loki has created the multiverse and confirmed the existence of a number of timelines, it’s totally potential that there’s a couple of Bruce Banner/Hulk at giant within the universe. Based on the timeline connections between episode 3 of What If…? and The Incredible Hulk film, the idea proposes that Bruce Banner, Betty Ross, and the Abomination are all variants. This would imply that Norton’s Hulk and Ruffalo’s Hulk are each the “real” Bruce Banner.
Banner, Ross, and the Abomination have been all launched in The Incredible Hulk and have since returned in films and tv reveals which can be indisputably MCU canon. Obviously, Bruce Banner got here again in 2012, when Mark Ruffalo took on the function within the 2012 Avengers film. Ruffalo has been enjoying Banner/Hulk ever since. Betty Ross simply returned in What If…? episode 3 and Abomination reappeared as soon as extra in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, earlier this month.
Supervinyl notes that Banner, Ross, and Abomination all at the moment differ in look from their preliminary debut in The Incredible Hulk. This issue, along with the overlap in each story and timeline in What If…?, is what led the fan to consider that The Incredible Hulk matches into the MCU by making its characters variants.
Based on what followers have seen from Loki, variants don’t all look the identical. Although Hiddleston’s Loki and the “President Loki” variant from Loki episode 5 look equivalent in look, not all variants will share the identical face. Classic Loki, child Loki, boastful Loki, and Sylvie are all thought-about to be variants of the identical individual, with related powers and backstories, however none of them look something alike. If it’s potential for there to be a Loki within the type of an alligator, the probabilities of Norton’s Banner and Ruffalo’s Banner being variants is kind of probably. The identical goes for Betty Ross and Abomination.
The Hulk has remained a background character within the MCU for fairly a while now. Ruffalo has by no means been given the possibility to sort out a solo film of his personal however has performed a major function within the Avengers films and different in style movies from the Infinity Saga, together with Thor: Ragnarok. Only half of the unique Avengers staff continues to be alive within the Marvel Universe, now that Natasha, Tony and Steve are gone, and Phase 4 appears to be specializing in the tales of their surviving teammates. This contains Thor, Clint, and Banner.
Ruffalo will reprise his function as Bruce Banner within the upcoming Disney Plus She-Hulk collection, which provides hope that the Hulk and Hulk-adjacent storylines will lastly get some extra recognition within the franchise. Additionally, with the quantity of affect the multiverse at the moment has over the MCU, the Reddit concept isn’t too far of a stretch. Introducing Ruffalo’s Hulk as a variant within the She-Hulk collection would keep on with the present Phase 4 theme and pave the way in which for a extra complicated Banner storyline.
Marvel is infamous for planting easter eggs and small particulars that trace at huge occasions to return sooner or later, leaving loads of room for followers to invest about what may occur subsequent. Perhaps What If…? episode 3 purposely included references to The Incredible Hulk in order that Marvel might discover a extra substantial match for the film amongst previous, current, and future initiatives. Establishing The Incredible Hulk’s place inside the MCU would additionally put an finish to the debates about whether or not or not the movie must be thought-about canon.