Long before Thor: Ragnarok shipped Hulk off to outer space – Sakaar, to be specific, where he became something of a gladiatorial titan – Marvel fans had christened Stark and Banner as the ‘science buddies’ for their at-times effortless chemistry across The Avengers and its middle-of-the-road sequel. Hell, they even rode off in a car together during the finale of Joss Whedon’s 2012 tentpole, and in a few months’ time, they’ll be back in business.
Sadly, the time for experiments is over, as Thanos and his Black Order are bound for Earth. But with rumors that Ruffalo’s bumbling hero will be piloting the Hulkbuster armor during the Battle of Wakanda – talk about a strange twist of fate – not to mention those intriguing Avengers 4 set pics, it’s pretty clear that Marvel’s science duo will be making up for lost time.
That’s reassuring, too, as Iron Man and Hulk – along with Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow – are very much the old guard of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. However, given that a number of big-name stars are nearing the end of their respective contracts, it’s all but certain that Marvel Studios will begin to phase out its long-time servants to make room for the new blood, and one need only look at the handling of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man for evidence of that impending changeover.
With an entire trilogy of solo movies already on the cards, it’s pretty clear that Holland’s web-slinging hero will be instated as the MCU’s new figurehead beyond 2019, by which point Marvel will have already launched Avengers: Infinity War and its mysterious sequel. It’s shaping up to be an unforgettable 12 months, then, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.