Despite releasing just six weeks after Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Incredible Hulk became the unwanted stepchild of the franchise from the second Disney stepped in to purchase the comic book conglomerate in 2009, which is understandable when Universal retain the rights to distribute (and thus earn a ton of money) from any future solo movies.
Nonetheless, Bruce Banner has become a pivotal part of the mythology since Mark Ruffalo debuted in The Avengers 10 years ago, but for a long time it looked as though Edward Norton’s stint under the stretchy shorts would never be acknowledged again. In fact, eight whole years passed before The Incredible Hulk was overtly referenced as part of the MCU again, when William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross returned in Captain America: Civil War, before making several additional appearances.
Tim Roth’s Abomination has nudged the door open even further, but we won’t know until She-Hulk arrives whether his previous outing will be addressed explicitly, or if the story will vaguely dance around its existence. Now that the multiverse is in play, though, an enterprising Reddit user has offered a hugely satisfying theory that technically gives canon and continuity the best of both worlds.
Dig through the comments and you’ll see a lot of people who don’t feel every single superficial alteration to the MCU has to be addressed and explained, which is an equally valid point to make, but it goes without saying that longtime supporters of Kevin Feige’s superhero series are sticklers when it comes to ensuring everything is at least tangentially connected in one way or another.