Despite the character not having a solo movie since Ruffalo took over the role from Edward Norton, the Hulk has appeared in several live-action projects, including every Avengers movie and Thor: Ragnarok. He even enjoyed an Iron Man 3 post-credits cameo.
Ruffalo recently said the Hulk is set to return in the very near future in what would be his 11th official appearance (outside of appearing in the background of archival footage) in a live-action MCU project. But, that may not actually be the case.
Is Hulk Returning To The MCU In 2025?
In an interview for the 2024 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Mark Ruffalo revealed that he would be appearing in 2025's Captain America: Brave New World — however, a report from Variety seems to have debunked this.
The Hulk actor is notorious for often not realizing that he has given away too much information, and this interview proved no different.
He spoke with Stephen Colbert on The Tonight Show about accidentally live-streaming the first 10 minutes of 2017's Thor: Ragnarok from the world premiere press screening.
Despite his appearance in the movie not being confirmed, he nonchalantly answered a question that seemed to verify he would be in it, adding that he can't say anything more because Marvel's people "literally have, like, a drone that follows [him] around:"
Q: "But you have 'Captain America: Brave New World,' that's next right? In 2025?"
Q: "And are you allowed to talk about that?"
Ruffalo: "Yeah. It's going to be great... [Marvel] literally have like a drone that follows me around..."
Though this appears to be relatively conclusive confirmation from Ruffalo, sources tell Variety that this is not necessarily true.
This comes amid casting announcements for multiple characters from the Hulk storyline in the MCU such as General Thaddeus Ross (with the role to be taken over by Harrison Ford) and even a rumored appearance for Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk.
This admission — true or not — followed a question about Ruffalo's involvement in his character's story, where he said that he might be asked "What would you do if you had a standalone Hulk movie?"
Q: "Do you get involved in the scripts?"
Ruffalo: "Kevin [Feige asks], 'What would you like to do?' He said 'What would you do if you had a standalone Hulk movie?' And I said, 'Well, I'd like to take him from this raging maniac to sort of this integrated character.'"
But, his answer would end up developing "over the course of four movies," as they would "never give [him] a standalone Hulk:"
"And he's like, 'Okay, we'll do that over the course of four movies. We'll never give you a standalone Hulk...' Let's just get that... Don't mean to burst your bubble, but that's not happening. So we'll do it over four movies."
Hulk's Connections to Captain America 4
Until this accidental slip from Ruffalo — true or not — there were a few Hulk connections already confirmed for Captain America: Brave New World.
Along with General Ross having a role (whether the theoretical Red Hulk rumors are true or not), Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and The Leader (Tim Blake Nelson) will both be making their MCU returns after more than 15 years.
The two characters were last seen in 2008's The Incredible Hulk, which was also the first to feature General Ross.
The only other named characters who have returned to the MCU following the sole Hulk standalone so far have been the Hulk himself, Abomination, and Iron Man, who made a brief appearance in the movie's post-credits scene.
As such, besides She-Hulk: Attorney At Law (which saw Abomination's return and the only reference in the MCU to the change in Hulk actors from Edward Norton to Ruffalo), Captain America: Brave New World will arguably be the most direct follow-up to the events of 2008's The Incredible Hulk, regardless of if Ruffalo actually appears himself.
Captain America: Brave New World will hit theaters on February 14, 2025.