As soon as it was revealed that the third Captain America film would follow the beloved “Civil War” storyline, everyone understood the incredible magnitude of the Joe and Anthony Russo-directed tentpole. Civil War is essentially an Avengers-sized event, complete with dozens of familiar faces from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and the entire Avengers lineup formed at the end of Age of Ultron. Even more surprising was another announcement: that William Hurt would be reprising the role of General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, last seen in The Incredible Hulk (not really considered canon in the MCU given Edward Norton’s quick ouster from the title role).
Nevertheless, Hurt is getting back into uniform to play Ross, who will again be on the trail of the Hulk as the Civil War heats up – though the actor has told IGN that fans can expect to see a very different version of the character this time around:
“I loved playing Ross the first time because I was able to try and create an ego as big as the monster he was chasing. And one that was as warped too. [Ross in Civil War] is different because it’s a different style. It’s a more modernized style. And what they’ve done is they’ve taken a character who was the Ross from the older film and made a new version. This is a much newer Ross. A much different Ross. And I liked that a lot. I haven’t had a lot of time to understand it, but I’m doing the best I can. And they haven’t fired me yet.”
Hurt’s portrayal of the driven general was certainly a high point in The Incredible Hulk, so it’s great that he’ll be re-introduced into the MCU for Civil War. In the comics, Ross was pretty dramatically transformed when he underwent alterations to become the Red Hulk and go hulko-a-hulko with the big green guy, and though that rumor has been bandied about with regard to the film, taking that route seems to me like one subplot too many in an already jam-packed film. Still, Age of Ultron proved that Marvel can go overboard, so that’s not to say that the Red Hulk won’t show up as a tool employed by the government to take on the Hulk.
The actor is certainly fanning the flames in that department. When he spoke to the Wall Street Journal, Hurt was asked directly if he’d play the Red Hulk. His response, with a grin: “I don’t know, I wouldn’t mind feeling like I had that much power… but I created Thaddeus originally as an ego the same size as the monsters. With the same degree of messed up-ness. Yeah, I’d love to have a shot at it.”
In addition to Hurt, Civil War stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Anthony Mackie as Falcon, Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Martin Freeman in an unknown role, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Emily VanCamp as Agent 13, Daniel Bruhl as Baron Zemo and Frank Grillo as Crossbones. The pic opens May 6, 2016.