With the announcement that Tim Blake Nelson’s Samuel Sterns would square off with Sam Wilson in Captain America: New World Order, the revitalization of 2008’s oft-panned The Incredible Hulk continues along an impressive arc. 2021 saw the return of an updated Abomination in Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, followed by Tim Roth’s return to the MCU as Abomination’s alter ego, Emil Blonsky, in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law. Suddenly what was very, very old (in MCU years) is new again and creating a fairly significant buzz among MCU fans.
With the returns of Blonsky and Sterns and the addition of Jennifer Walters, the Hulk family of characters is suddenly looking incredibly strong and with the rumors of a World War Hulk project in the works, it’s possible that even more of the characters from The Incredible Hulk might return AND some classic comic book characters could join the fray. Here’s a look at some interesting options to consider from both groups.
The character that’s long been the center of much of the online chatter as a favorite to return is Betty Ross, played by Liv Tyler in The Incredible Hulk. It’s hard to believe that a character so central to the life of Bruce Banner played so small a role in the MCU, but even though rumors have poped up over the years, Betty hasn’t been seen since the earliest days of Phase 1. However, if Sterns and Blonsky can be written into the Multiverse Saga, there’s no reason to think Betty can’t be. With the plot of She-Hulk involving efforts to get ahold of Jen’s blood (which Bruce admits is BETTER), there’s a whole mess of ways that Betty, and other characters, could get reintegrated into the MCU as gamma mutates. Betty’s had a couple different turns in the comics as Red She-Hulk and Harpy, and it would be a blast to see her join up as either of those, especially with the passing of William Hurt likely meaning General Ross will never be the MCU’s Red Hulk.
Ty Burrell played Leonard Samson back in 2008 and while he didn’t really get much to do, a foundation was built that could allow the character, even if not the actor, to return. Like his comic book counterpart, the MCU Samson is known as a brilliant psychiatrist. Of course in the comics, Samson was exposed to gamma radiation and became a green-haired, muscled up gamma mutate, so there’s certainly room to grow. Over the years, Samson has served as the Hulk’s psychiatrist and an ally. With Hulk’s trip to Sakaar set to reveal some interesting news, it’s looking like a call to Doc to chat about some issues could be on the docket.
One of the more interesting options, should the MCU be willing to expand the Hulk’s cast of supporting characters is Major Glenn Talbot. I know what you’re thinking, Talbot’s already in the MCU because he was big star in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, if you think Feige’s touching the convoluted disaster that became of Adrian Pasdar’s character, you need to chat with Doc Samson. Should the MCU be marching towards a World War Hulk project, one might expect a military presence and Talbot would be the perfect fit to lead the charge from Gamma Base. Josh Lucas portrayed the character in Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk and the now 51-year old actor might be willing to play the Multiversal Variant card and join the MCU.
No character has suffered as Rick Jones has suffered. In the comics, Jones was both the reason that Bruce Banner became the Hulk and the Hulk’s best friend. Jones spent time with Captain America and being bonded to Mar-Vell and yet has never even sniffed the opportunity to join the MCU. The time could be now for Jones as the potential for the creation of other gamma mutates could open the door for Jones’ alter ego of A-Bomb. It would be a great tragedy if Jones and A-Bomb never moved beyond Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
While he eventually became the Totally Awesome Hulk, it’s Cho’s friendship with the Hulk at a time where everyone else betrayed him that makes him a fun potential addition to the MCU. Cho’s mother, Helen, already exists in the MCU and fans have sort of always assumed that she was introduced in Age of Ultron so that Amadeus might eventually be brought along. With the MCU’s present day taking place in 2025, a teenage Cho could pop up in a few years. And having him around while both the Hulk and Hercules are making noise would be a great nod to his early comic appearances.