[Ed. note: This post contains light spoilers for episode 2 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.]
In Section 2 of She-Hulk: Lawyer, calls Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) her cousin. Great, who doesn’t? Only without her, the reason is more complicated: while he was just discussing her final step in her legal career, we pull back to see that the Hulk is actually aboard a spaceship that’s going… somewhere.
Apparently, this isn’t the first time starships have gotten in the way of Bruce Banner’s life. In the show, She-Hulk’s powers derive from an accident caused by a Sakaaran spacecraft crashing in front of her and Bruce’s car. It’s a “Sakaaran Class A courier ship,” Bruce later explains. “They’re probably trying to deliver a message; I need to get to the bottom of this.” And if you remember yours Thor: Ragnarok More specifically, Sakaar is the gladiator planet where Hulk was stranded for three years.
While it seems like Bruce “got to the bottom of it,” Marvel is playing out exactly where he’s going, what he’s doing, or what happens next here. And with the MCU, the question is whether this is just a quick explanation for why Mark Ruffalo is no longer on the show, or a hint at the future of the MCU. But if we look at the franchise, there are many upcoming subplots for the Hulk to play in. Here are some places in the MCU where he could end up.
Marvel’s Secret Invasion
If Bruce flies for a future movie or show, it almost certainly will Secret invasion, which will be released on Disney Plus in early 2023. The TV series is loosely based on the Marvel Comics event of the same name, in which many of the planet’s heroes and people have been replaced with shape-shifting Skrull sleeper agents while the Skrulls put on a theatrical play to take over the planet.
Samuel L. Jackson stars in the series alongside Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull Talos (from Captain Marvel), Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross (from Black Panther) and Don Cheadle as a war machine. What does this have to do with Sakaar and the Hulk? Not much, honestly. but Secret invasion is chronologically the closest time the MCU sets its eyes on an alien threat (unless you’re counting Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special, which we don’t do).
And if the Hulk is already in space, maybe the Skrulls will become a threat to Sakaar?
Loki season 2
what happens in Loki Season 2? Probably some weird science-era bullshit that would be great to listen to Dr. Having Bruce “Smart Hulk” Banner himself. Perhaps Loki overcame his dislike of the big green man and summoned the big brain weapons to help him stand up to Kang the Conqueror.
Enjoy a space vacation
Listen, who hasn’t enjoyed a good time in the room every now and then? Nick Fury certainly has. And if all his off-planet time is something Secret invasion Seed or not, he certainly looked pretty relaxed wandering around barefoot on a Skrull ship. While Hulk has been absent from much of the MCU lately, it’s not like he’s had a good break (although who knows, maybe the gladiator fight was a good respite). Maybe it’s a new episode of What happened if…? or maybe it’s just a well-deserved break; Either way, give Bruce Banner some PTO!
World War Hulk
In the MCU, the Hulk’s exit from Sakaar was relatively easy and adventurous. In Marvel Comics it was a whole thing. Hulk had fought his way to dominate Sakaar and led an armada back to Earth to exact revenge on the superheroes who stranded him in space in the first place. He also had a tall green son, Skaar, who had a lot of fathering issues. Perhaps all of this points to a future announcement of a World War Hulk event in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or will She-Hulk maybe end up with an interstellar custody battle?
She-Hulk season finale
Look, CGI is expensive, and it’s not like the Hulk has done a ton (other than obviously building an off-screen Mexican getaway with Tony Stark). Maybe he’ll come right back to earth at the end of the season and She Hulk – either because he solved the Sakaarans’ problem, or because they’re interfering in a major lawsuit that Jens is working on. Damn, maybe Jen will fly into space and help Hulk out of an intergalactic traffic jam. The last time we saw the Grand Master he was about to be deposed (overthrown); perhaps Jeff Goldblum will return to be deposed by She-Hulk in a trial against him (witness).