The countdown to [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) has begun, and the hype's really heating up. The sides have been chosen and the stage is set for Captain America 3 to be one of Marvel's most exciting films yet. With so many Avengers joining in the fight, this almost feels like Avengers 2.5, yet there is one glaring omission. After his emotional departure in [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), the question remains: where is Hulk?
Taking A Break From It All
The Bruce Banner we saw in Age Of Ultron was pretty tired of the hero business, and it's easy to see why. Becoming his rage-fueled alter ego must be tough on the mild mannered scientist. And after he and science buddy Tony Stark accidentally create their own robotic Frankenstein's monster, the weight of responsibility weighs heavy on Bruce. Even the promise of a new (and oddly out of character) relationship with Natasha isn't enough for Bruce to stay, and at the end Hulk takes off in the quinjet to go... goodness knows where.
Well, we know one place Bruce Banner isn't, and that's Planet Hulk, or so Kevin Feige would have us believe. With so many Avengers getting caught up in the in fighting of Captain America: Civil War, fans hoped that we'd get an answer to Hulk's whereabouts in this film. But alas, Mark Ruffalo has dashed those hopes.
"I was in the script, but then they removed my character. They don’t want to reveal where is he and why. I don’t even know if Hulk will be back soon."
So Bruce Banner was definitely a part of Civil War, but got cut before the film started shooting. This is a blow for Hulk fans, especially as Ruffalo thinks it might be a while before we see the jolly green giant again. But his reappearance should be worth the wait! Ruffalo's excited about the plot Marvel have planned out for him...
"The reason is too great to be revealed in this movie!"
What could Hulk be doing? Is he off saving the day on his own? Or has Bruce Banner gone back to his life as a behind the scenes do gooder, using his intelligence to help others while staying under the radar. It looks like we'll have to wait until [The Avengers: Infinity War](tag:738027) to find out! That is, if Hulk is included in this movie, and the jury's out on that one.
But fear not, Hulk fans! We may well still get a good dose of hulking out in Civil War, as the trailer revealed the return of an old foe...
Rise Of Red Hulk!
Remember the D23 Expo? Unfortunately, the Captain America: Civil War trailer that was unveiled there has yet to be released to the internet (come on, Marvel! It's been weeks!), but fans were only too eager to tell us just what we missed.
One of the big reveals was General "Thunderbolt" Ross, played again by William Hurt, who portrayed the General in 2008's The Incredible Hulk. To give you some background info: General Ross is the father of one Betty Ross, Bruce Banner's long running love interest in the comics and the 2008 movie.
General Ross' appearance is baffling, as he hasn't appeared in any Marvel films since The Incredible Hulk. However, it does make sense thematically. Civil War is going to deal with the idea of superhero responsibility. While the heroes have saved the day again and again, Ross' appearance will no doubt remind the world (and the audience) of Hulk's initial rampage. In the trailer he had a lot to say about accountability and the dangers of vigilante heroism.
So will Ross lend the weight of military opinion to the pressure for governmental control? Or does he have a bigger role to play? The official synopsis mentioned a "nefarious new threat" that the Avengers would have to face... could this be Ross' enhanced alter ego, Red Hulk?
It's possible, but unlikely. With Frank Grillo set to become the film's main antagonist as Crossbones, it's likely he is the "threat" the synopsis refers to. That doesn't mean Ross won't have an impact on the plot, but the trouble he makes for the Avengers will probably be more political than anything else. But even if he doesn't Hulk out, we're definitely not going to see Ross reign anything in, thanks to William Hurt's assertions.
"I loved playing Ross the first time because I was able to try and create an ego as big as the monster he was chasing. And one that was as warped too. [Ross in Civil War] is different because it’s a different style. I liked that a lot. I haven’t had a lot of time to understand it, but I’m doing the best I can. And they haven’t fired me yet."
Ross can still make plenty of problems for the Avengers, even without his super powered persona. And who knows, maybe we'll see Red Hulk appear later on, when we finally find out where Bruce Banner's been hiding!