Even though he hasn't had a solo movie since 2008, Bruce Banner has had quite the journey across the MCU. He has gone from a giant, rage-filled brute with a propensity for large-scale destruction to the quieter, more reserved Smart Hulk, a fusion of both the Banner and Hulk halves.
And now, Bruce is back alongside his cousin Jennifer Walters in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, a series that sees Jen inadvertently absorb some of Bruce's gamma-irradiated blood and become a Hulk herself. It's in the premiere episode that audiences learn quite a bit about how the Hulk actually works and what triggers transformations. Of course, Bruce has consistently tried to live a quiet life when he can, away from civilization, so as to prevent collateral damage.
However, in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Dr. Banner worked closely alongside Tony Stark to try and develop a global threat deterrent system known as Ultron. Fans will likely know how all that panned out, but the newest She-Hulk episode ends up making an interesting callback to a specific moment in Age of Ultron.
A She-Hulk/Age of Ultron Connection
Warning - The rest of this article contains minor spoilers for Episode 1 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
In Episode 1 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, it's revealed that Bruce Banner has his own little hideaway in a remote portion of Mexico. He has a tropical-themed living space, a high-tech underground lab, and a fully stocked bar. As it turns out, it was none other than Iron Man himself, the late Tony Stark, who funded and assisted with the creation of this space for Bruce.
This revelation would seem to have been foreshadowed in Avengers: Age of Ultron, seven years ago (as pointed out by CultureCrave), as shown by the brief exchange of dialogue from that film between Tony and Bruce:
Bruce: "Artificial intelligence."
Tony: "This could be it, Bruce. This could be the key to creating Ultron."
Bruce: "I thought Ultron was a fantasy."
Tony: "Yesterday it was. If we can harness this power, apply it to my Iron Legion protocol..."
Bruce: "That's a man-sized 'if.'"
Tony: "Our job is 'if.' What if you were sipping margaritas on a sun-drenched beach, turning brown instead of green? Not looking over your shoulder for Veronica."
Will Bruce Banner Return in She-Hulk?
While it's incredibly unlikely that Bruce's tropical getaway becoming a reality would have been on the minds of those at Marvel Studios during the creation of Avengers: Age of Ultron, this detail from She-Hulk is still a fun piece of connective tissue between the two MCU projects.
Banner does make it clear, though, that if trouble were to rear up again (as it always seems to in the MCU), he would leap back into action as a full-fledged superhero, something that he expects Jen to do as well. When she rejects the hero's life and tries to leave, Bruce attempts to stop her and a fight ensues. All's well that ends well though, because the brawl eventually dies down, with Bruce recognizing that Jen has far greater control over her powers than he himself did for a long time.
But what's next for Dr. Banner? Well, for now, he seems quite content to hang out on the beach, drink piña coladas, and putter around in his lab. It's a safe bet that he'll be back for at least one more episode of She-Hulk though, given set photos that have shown actor Mark Ruffalo with Jameela Jamil, who plays Titania. Perhaps he swoops in to assist Jen in the season's final battle?
Marvel Studios' She-Hulk: Attorney at Law drops new episodes on Thursdays on Disney+, with the next one arriving on Thursday, August 25.