Hulk still has a story to tell in Phase 4 of the MCU, but the most important untold parts are linked to Captain America and not to She-Hulk.
The MCU needs to stop erasing Hulk from the Captain America story, because Bruce Banner’s most important Phase 4 story is on Disney+, but not as part of She-Hulk. Instead, the next stage of the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe needs to focus back on Hulk’s part in the super-soldier program, as part of the shady history that The Falcon & The Winter Soldier should be casting more light on to wrestle Captain America’s legacy away from those seeking to benefit nefariously from his name.
While it is a largely ignored part of Hulk’s backstory thanks to the uneven reception of The Incredible Hulk and the unfortunate way Louis Leterrier’s take on the Jade Giant is considered a second class MCU film, the super-serum is incredibly important in Hulk’s MCU story. In The Incredible Hulk, Banner’s accidental gamma irradiation is thanks to a disastrous experiment that is very much part of an attempt to continue the World War II-era super-soldier experiments, confirming the government’s long-gestating plans to reclaim Steve Rogers’ legacy and, no doubt, weaponize it once more. Banner is one of a couple of botched super-soldier experiment subjects in the MCU (more if you include the unfortunate victims of HYDRA’s “miracles” project too), and that may be important in The Falcon & The Winter Soldier in particular.
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With the introduction of US Agent John Walker – who will become the US government’s “legitimate” Captain America in Steve Rogers’ absence and in defiance of his passing of the mantle to Sam Wilson – the Disney+ show is setting up the dark side of the super-soldier program. There is also a rumor that Isaiah Bradley – the first Black Captain America – will be playing a part in the show, further suggesting a look at the untold history of the program and that absolutely has to include Hulk’s part in the process too. His failed experiment speaks to the government’s continued attempts to develop a super-soldier serum in secret, which could potentially play a big part of The Falcon & The Winter Soldier’s story. That is arguably more important than Hulk’s part in She-Hulk‘s story, which needs to be linked to her origin, of course, but also must be removed enough that her story has room to grow on its own.
Bruce Banner may not have been aware of the precise nature of the experiments he was working on when his life was transformed, but his link to General Ross, whose part in the process was far more informed should be key. In the wake of the original Captain America’s retirement, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier is set to be a battle for Cap’s legacy and an exploration into what the title really meant. Now that the US government is introducing its own answer to a new Cap, that much is clear. And the path to discovery for Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes should include them uncovering the secrets of the MCU’s answer to the Weapon Plus program. That path leads right back to Bruce Banner at one point and the idea that his experiments were part of an ongoing, rather than abandoned, experiments looking to make more super-soldiers is very intriguing. Further, to ignore it would be opening a plot-hole needlessly, so Banner’s new Professor Hulk really needs to appear if the story heads that way.
On top of that, if the rumors that Isaiah Bradley is set to be introduced to reveal the underbelly of the US government-sponsored super-soldier program – paralleling his comic book backstory – that poses interesting questions about how deep Bucky and Sam will go down the rabbit hole. Given his history of uncovering HYDRA’s super-soldiers, it could even be that Zemo becomes an unlikely ally for Captain America’s former sidekicks in their quest to reclaim Steve’s legacy. But ignoring the crucial role Hulk could play in uncovering the same thing, given his insider knowledge and what he represents in terms of the dangerous road the US government took to continuing Doctor Erskine’s work would be a mistake.
Next: How MCU Phase 4 Can Set Up Red Hulk
Key Release Dates
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Feb 11, 2022
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
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