The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong for 8 years now, with its two original stars - Iron Man and Hulk - debuting back in 2008. With the contracts of some of our favorite characters coming to an end, fans are constantly debating who could replace our favorite heroes. Whether it is for Iron Man, Captain America or Thor, fans everywhere are speculating about their replacements (War Machine, Winter Soldier, Jane Foster, etc.).
But there seems to be one major Marvel hero that fans seem to be forgetting - Hulk. Actor Mark Ruffalo has a six-film contract with Marvel. He has already finished two, The Avengers and [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) (his post-credits cameo in Iron Man 3 did not count). His third appearance will be Thor: Ragnarok, and four and five are assumed to be in Avengers: Infinity War (Hulk is one of the few Marvel heroes rumored to be in both parts of the two-part movie). That leaves just one film remaining.
Recently, reports (and even accidental leaks from Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr.) have hinted that Hulk will actually appear in Captain America: Civil War. Assuming that this is more than a 5-second cameo, this may actually take Ruffalo's contract up to six films - which is his maximum. With the actor rising in Hollywood, having been nominated for multiple Academy Awards now, Ruffalo will most likely pursue more promising roles. So what does that mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Assuming that Hulk's character is not used after Avengers: Infinity War - Part II, Marvel may look for a character to replace the lovable green beast. Here are 5 characters who could potentially replace Bruce Banner as the brute of the Avengers during Phase 4...
1. Teddy Altman / Hulkling
Young Avenger Teddy Altman is known as Hulkling due to his shapeshifting abilities. Teddy is able to take the form of different heroes, using their powers as his own - with limits, of course. This comes from his Skrull heritage.
In the comics, he typically copies the abilities of Hulk to make him extra strong. He is normally seen in his Hulk-like form with a pair of wings on his back to make him fly. He is a very useful and interesting character, plus I would love to see his relationship with Wiccan grow on screen.
2. Jennifer Walter / She-Hulk
Jennifer Walters actually gained her abilities from Bruce Banner, which would make sense given that they are cousins. Jennifer needed a blood transfusion to survive, and only Banner was there to give any blood that matched. Though she survived, she gained super strength just like her cousin, but at a smaller scale. However, her ability to control her anger and rage arguably makes her a better fit for the Avengers than Hulk himself.
She-Hulk is not as big and monstrous as the Hulk himself, but she is one of Marvel's strongest characters. In addition, she has a lot of 'moral fiber,' which will help add to the mix of new characters when we reach Phase 4.
3. General Ross / Red Hulk
General Ross is already a character who has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, during The Incredible Hulk, and he will be returning this May in Captain America: Civil War. Though he is only a human now, in the comics he became the villain Red Hulk, a red version of Hulk, hell-bent on defeating Banner.
However, Ross's character later turned back to good by joining the Thunderbolts, a team of reformed villains that became active after the Civil War. On this team, Ross was able to become a force for good once more. Many fans have been dying to see a Thunderbolts movie, and if DC's Suicide Squad goes well, Marvel may follow suit by making a Thunderbolts movie, with Red Hulk as a prominent member of the team.
4. Amadeus Cho / The Totally Awesome Hulk
Currently, the Hulk in the comics is a man named Amadeus Cho. Whereas Banner is the Incredible Hulk, Cho is the Totally Awesome Hulk. Sounds a bit cooler, don't you think? This version of Hulk, as you can imagine, is a lot cooler, and is significantly younger, which will give us a new twist to how we see the Hulk archetype if they choose to use this character.
Best of all, one could argue that Amadeus Cho has already been partially set up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as his mother, Helen Cho, played a role in Avengers: Age of Ultron. She now works at the new Avengers facility. If they choose to introduce Amadeus Cho, his mother would be the way to do it.
5. Luke Cage / Power Man
Luke Cage is often described as one of Marvel's strongest humans. His super strength may not be as incredible as Hulk's, but he is still one of the biggest brutes no matter who he is with. If Marvel wants to keep a brute on the team but doesn't want to simply copy the Hulk, Power Man would be the way to go.
Luke Cage is already a prominent member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having played a supporting role in the series Jessica Jones, having his own show Luke Cage on the way, and being confirmed for the TV series The Defenders. If Marvel chooses to follow the character's route in the comics, Power Man may one day become an Avenger, possibly giving his actor Mike Colter an impressive movie deal.
Whether we like it or not, some of our favorite Marvel heroes may be leaving soon - but the show must go on. Whether they replace specific characters or the team as a whole, replacements are inevitable. And you can't have an Avengers team without a brute to break things open.
These are just a few possibilities of who could take the Hulk's brutish place. If a deal is ever made with FOX, characters like The Thing, Colossus and even Wolverine could be used instead. But, until that happens, the characters above are what we have to work with.