Marvel Studios just completed its third and final multi-episode Disney+ series of the year in Tatiana Maslany's She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. The legal comedy gave the MCU its second Hulk-centric solo project in its long history. But thanks to some exciting new rumors, Marvel fans may finally get one new entry that has been on many wishlists for a long time - World War Hulk.
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
Apart from being the single most meta piece of content the MCU has released or will release until Deadpool 3, some important teases were laid out when the Hulk finally returned from his lengthy absence. Even the start of his absence in Episode 2 set the building blocks for where Marvel Studios could take the Hulk in a World War Hulk-focused movie in the near future.
So, how exactly does She-Hulk set up World War Hulk? Who were all the characters involved with this show that could find themselves in that new movie? When could it take place? When might the movie come to theaters?
Well, The Direct is here to answer those questions now that Season 1 of She-Hulk has laid out everything fans need to know.
World War Hulk Teases in She-Hulk Finale
Episode 9 of Marvel Studios' She-Hulk: Attorney at Law revealed a couple of exciting teases for a potential World War Hulk movie set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The first tease came during Jennifer Walters' fourth-wall-breaking battle with the Marvel Studios AI leader known as K.E.V.I.N., a nod to real-world studio president Kevin Feige.
While discussing ways to make her own season finale better, she decides to omit Bruce Banner "swooping down from literal outer space" to save the story before K.E.V.I.N. interjects. He notes how someone else would have been introduced during Bruce's explanation of what he was doing before Jen tells him to "save it for the movie."
K.E.V.I.N.: “But Bruce is supposed to return to explain what he was doing…”
Jen: “No, no,, no. We don’t need to hear any of that.”
K.E.V.I.N.: “But we were going to introduce…”
Jen: “Ehh, save it for the movie.”
Later, their conversation ends with K.E.V.I.N. telling Jen "see you on the big screen," even though he pulls back on it immediately:
K.E.V.I.N.: “Ok. Now get back to the show. See you on the big screen.
Jen: “Oh, whatever, K.E.V.I.N.!”
These two quotes indicate that there are plans for more Hulk stories in a later MCU movie, which currently would lean towards being a World War Hulk story.
On top of those teases, the biggest nod to World War Hulk came in the episode's final moments as the Hulk made his true return during the party at Jen's parents' house.
When Bruce made a shocking return for Jen, her parents, and Matt Murdock to witness, he teased more information about his story on Sakaar. But in the moment, he also revealed that he has a son named Skaar, played by Wil Deusner, confirming the exclusive report from The Direct that he would show up at some point during the series.
Skaar is known as a key player in the World War Hulk storyline, having been born during the Hulk's time on Sakaar and spending most of his time there. But now, with Skaar coming to Earth with the Hulk, the stage is set for their time on Sakaar to be explored.
However, with the MCU's narrative and timeline both expanding wildly, another question that comes up is when a World War Hulk story could take place.
When Will World War Hulk Take Place?
Looking at where World War Hulk could take place in the sacred MCU timeline, there are a couple of likely places where it could fall in.
Potentially the easier option would be to bring World War Hulk in as a prequel (technically, an in-between-quel), similarly to the way Black Widow took place in the days following Captain America: Civil War while being released five years later. This would allow for the Hulk's time on Sakaar before Thor: Ragnarok to be explored while showing Skaar's origin story at the same time.
However, things could also pick up directly after the Season 1 finale of She-Hulk should Marvel Studios want to keep things in the present day. This approach could actually tackle both storylines, going back to the Hulk's original run on Sakaar in flashbacks while sending him back for another adventure after returning to Earth.
Bruce and Skaar could catch up with Jen on what's been going on, learning that there's a new mission for them to tackle on Sakaar before or during one of the next two Avengers outings. This story could also catch up on the early threads from She-Hulk that were teased when the Sakaaran ship shot at Bruce and Jen, explaining why Bruce had to go to Sakaar in the first place.
And with those story avenues both being realistic options, the next mystery is who will actually show up to add to the story.
Who Shows Up in World War Hulk Movie?
The obvious answer to that is the trio of Hulk-empowered heroes Bruce Banner, Jennifer Walters, and the newly-introduced Skaar from Episode 9 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. This story would bring a triple dose of Hulks together for a thrilling story on and off Sakaar, showing the world in more detail while finally giving fans their second Hulk-focused story on the big screen in the MCU.
But there are also a number of other important characters from the Hulk's mythos that could play important roles in the story as well, even though they would all be Earth-based.
During Marvel Studios' presentation at the D23 Fan Expo, the studio confirmed that Tim Blake Nelson's Leader will make a comeback as the main villain of 2024's Captain America: New World Order, which will be his first appearance since 2008's The Incredible Hulk. He would certainly be somebody out for both the Hulk and She-Hulk and depending on the World War Hulk movie's release date, and his own status after Captain America 4, he could be a great new candidate for that film's villain.
Thunderbolts is also rumored to bring back Thunderbolt Ross with Harrison Ford recast in the role, setting the stage for him to finally turn into the Red Hulk for the first time. With his career-long grudge against the jolly green giant, he's unquestionably somebody that fans would want to see the central Hulk trio take down in a fight.
And of course, most immediately, there's the mystery of what will happen with Tim Roth's Abomination.
She-Hulk's finale had Emil Blonsky turn back into his human form and send him back to prison, although Wong broke him out once again with magic. Whether he's going back to Macau for more cage fights or journeying to something more nefarious, he's an immensely powerful player that shouldn't be kept off the board in another Hulk movie.
And with all of these questions potentially answered, there's one final mystery that fans want to be solved with regard to a World War Hulk arrival.
When Will World War Hulk Come to Theaters?
This answer is a little more complicated largely due to the Hulk's solo rights still belonging to Universal, but that may not be the case for much longer. If rumors are to be believed, Marvel Studios will gain those rights back in June 2023, setting the stage for World War Hulk to join the MCU sometime around then.
The Leader and Red Hulk could both be in play by the time 2024 ends, making the next year a great time to set up World War Hulk for an introduction into the MCU. Combine that with the potential for another season or two of She-Hulk, and it would provide plenty of build-up by that point in time.
The only movies with release dates in 2025 or later are the newly-moved Fantastic Four in February 2025, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty three months later, and Avengers: Secret Wars arriving in May 2026. This would leave a couple of potential spots later in 2025 or an early one in 2026 for World War Hulk to use if Marvel wants the likely leading heroes to be involved in the biggest of MCU events in Secret Wars.
Regardless of when that happens, it seems abundantly clear that Marvel has the opportunity to bring this intense story to life, especially with Mark Ruffalo continuing to tease that he's far from done playing the Hulk. The only mystery now is when it will all come to fruition.
All nine episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law are now streaming on Disney+