The events of Avengers: Endgame seemed to draw a pretty definitive line under the Infinity Saga, signaling that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was ready to move on from the heroes that helped build the franchise from the ground up. With a raft of new faces like the Eternals, Shang-Chi, Blade and possibly even the Young Avengers on the way, the majority of the original Avengers have been left in the rear-view mirror.
Iron Man is gone – although Robert Downey Jr. will likely make a return as an AI version of Tony – Captain America is retired, fans will get their final chance to say goodbye to Natasha Romanoff when Black Widow eventually hits theaters, there are rumors that Nick Fury’s time could be winding down and Hawkeye has been reduced to a supporting character in a Disney Plus series.
That leaves Thor and the Hulk as the last two standing, and while the God of Thunder will be the first superhero to get a fourth solo movie, Bruce Banner’s future isn’t quite so clear. The rights for Hulk films still lie with Universal, meaning that the big guy can only be used as a supporting player, with Marvel keen to pretend like Edward Norton’s The Incredible Hulk never even happened.
Mark Ruffalo has hinted at where he wants to take the character in the future, but we’ve now heard that like many of the other Phase One Avengers, he too could be running on borrowed time. According to our sources – the same ones who told us Taskmaster would be the villain in Black Widow, the Inhumans are being rebooted in Ms. Marvel and John Cena is playing Vin Diesel’s brother in Fast & Furious 9, all of which we now know to be true – Ruffalo is set to have a recurring role in She-Hulk, one that will eventually see him being killed off in a future season as he sacrifices himself to defend cousin Jennifer Walters from the Red Hulk.
It’s unclear exactly when this would take place, and it sounds like he has at least a few MCU appearances left before it happens, but not only does this grant Ruffalo his wish in having the Hulk act as an onscreen mentor to one of the newest members of the franchise, but it also allows the studio to remove another Phase One piece from the chessboard. This would clear the way for new heroes to step up to the plate and certainly makes sense after it was revealed that She-Hulk is set to eventually become a key member of the Avengers in the future.