Today’s episode of Marvel’s animated anthology series What If…? introduced the darkest alternate timeline we’ve had so far. It imagined a world where the Avengers never got to form because they were all assassinated over the course of a single week. The week in question covered the events of Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and Thor. While the deaths of the Avengers were heartbreaking, revisiting this period in the franchise’s history allowed for some more fan-pleasing moments.
For one, it’s interesting to return to the events of The Incredible Hulk but with Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner replaced by Mark Ruffalo’s version, as The Avengers star lends his voice and likeness to this episode. What’s more, the TIH scenes bring back a character not seen in the MCU since that movie came out in 2008 – Bruce’s original love interest, Betty Ross. Liv Tyler doesn’t reprise the character, though, and is replaced by Stephanie Panisello.
In an interesting development, Natasha Romanoff (Lake Bell) and Betty share a lot of screentime together, as Black Widow is attempting to track down Banner and she knows that Betty is secretly harboring him. This brings Bruce’s two love interests together for the first time. Though, obviously, in this timeline Romanoff doesn’t know Bruce so their romantic tension isn’t referenced.
It’s possible that this surprising return for Betty could be a tease at a live-action comeback for her in the near future. It has been rumored that Liv Tyler could feature in the upcoming She-Hulk TV series in some capacity. After all, with Tim Roth’s Abomination appearing in both Shang-Chi and She-Hulk, The Incredible Hulk is being embraced as part of the MCU canon more than ever. So there’s definitely a good chance this is just the beginning of a bigger role for Betty in this universe.
Marvel’s What If…? continues next Wednesday on Disney Plus.