For almost a decade, there was absolutely nothing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that connected it directly to the events of The Incredible Hulk, with the exception of a brief aside from Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner in The Avengers where he admitted that he broke Harlem.
However, that all changed when William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross made his return in Captain America: Civil War, although the comeback of one supporting character who still never referenced the events of Edward Norton’s brief stint in the purple shorts hardly did much to change the reputation of The Incredible Hulk as the red-headed stepchild of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky will be making his first franchise appearance in fourteen years, though, when She-Hulk premieres on Disney Plus next year, so Kevin Feige is clearly open to revisiting the very earliest days of the seemingly disavowed blockbuster, and now insider Daniel Richtman is claiming that the Leader will be making his presence felt in Anthony Mackie’s Captain America 4.
Of course, we never saw Tim Blake Nelson’s Samuel Sterns officially assume the mantle of his comic book alter ego, but things were certainly heading in that direction before the tepid reception to The Incredible Hulk, Disney purchasing Marvel and the complicated rights issues with Universal surrounding the big green guy put a pin in any sequel plans.
Given the lack of specifics made available, though, it’s best not to get too excited about the Leader showing up in Captain America 4 just yet, especially when Richtman’s rumors already have the film pegged as featuring Skrulls, multiple Falcons and at least four Caps, so there might not even be room in the ensemble for the supervillain’s famously enlarged head.