We’re still waiting on official confirmation about whether or not Mark Ruffalo will appear alongside Tatiana Maslany in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Disney Plus exclusive She-Hulk, but the latest reports indicate that Bruce Banner will be appearing after a casting call revealed that the show was on the hunt for an actor around ten years old to play the future Hulk.
Although Ruffalo’s involvement has an air of inevitability around it, the search for a younger version of the character makes it look like She-Hulk is going to focus on the relationship between Bruce and his cousin Jennifer Walters during their early days. Of course, Ruffalo is seventeen years older than Maslany, but in canon the two will no doubt be much closer in age.
Flashbacks would certainly go a long way to establishing why the MCU has a second green-skinned superhero that’s never been mentioned before, especially if She-Hulk dives deep into the Banner family history for inspiration. In the comic books, Bruce’s childhood was always characterized by his violent and abusive alcoholic father who made it clear he never wanted to have children in the first place but became obsessed with his son’s alter ego, something that was previously explored in Ang Lee’s 2003 blockbuster Hulk.
Ruffalo’s version of the mild-mannered scientist arrived fully-formed, though, and as a result, the franchise has yet to explore his personality in any sort of meaningful way. But doing so in She-Hulk would add new layers onto someone that’s been a part of the MCU for close to a decade already, as well as setting up the dynamic between the gamma-radiated cousins and explaining how they grew distant before finding themselves back in each other’s paths when She-Hulk eventually hits our screens in 2022.