The Incredible Hulk has a deep comic book history that thanks to a critically reviled solo movie and some tricky rights issues with Universal Pictures, has yet to be fully explored within the MCU. However, for a split second, it seemed like Avengers: Endgame co-writer Christopher Markus nearly included an appearance by the fan-favorite Red Hulk in this year’s box office behemoth, but it wouldn’t have been exactly in a way you’d expect.
Marvel Studios has a long history with switching up some key aspects of certain comic book characters when they finally hit the big screen. Some, like Vision, are better off with their new cinematic origin story, while others, like that Iron Man 3 Mandarin twist, drew ire from many corners of the Internet.
According to Markus, the version of Red Hulk that was nearly featured in Endgame wouldn’t have had any ties to the comic book iteration of the villain, but would just be an alternate coloration of Bruce Banner’s Smart Hulk after he’s exposed to the Infinity Stones.
“I entertained the idea for about a day… Red Hulk is a completely different thing in the comics. It wound up being, well, really we’re just saying he changes color. That’s not a character change. If there’s a future for William Hurt as a superhero, he can turn into Red Hulk.”
In the comics, the Red Hulk is Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, who underwent his own super soldier experimentation in order to take on Banner mano a mano. According to Markus, had they gone though with charring the Hulk’s skin a deep red post-snap, it would’ve been more of a nod to the comics than an actual adaptation of the crimson character.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Marvel Studios toyed with the idea of changing up Bruce Banner’s super powered look. Joss Whedon considered featuring Grey Hulk whenever the character was under Scarlet Witch’s spell in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, but his new appearance was deemed too confusing for audiences and was swapped back to a dingier green at the last second.
Endgame pretty much wrapped up the Hulk’s story arc, but that doesn’t mean he won’t pop up again somewhere down the line. Meanwhile, we last saw William Hurt’s Thunderbolt Ross at Tony Stark’s funeral, so chances are we may not have witnessed the last of him, either. Could the MCU’s Secretary of Defense Hulk out himself in a later story, maybe even in that rumored Thunderbolts film? We’ll have to wait and see.
Tell us, though, would you have liked to seen this new take on Red Hulk in Avengers: Endgame, or would you rather have William Hurt return in a future Marvel movie? Let us know in the comments section below!