She-Hulk: How Bruce Banner could be incorporated into the series without Hulk

Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019 /

Welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe Jennifer Walters. The cousin of Bruce Banner has been cast with Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany playing the She-Hulk, but what kind of role would Banner himself play?

It’s been a wild couple of weeks for MCU fans with news that the upcoming She-Hulk series for Disney+ has cast its lead in Orphan Black star, Tatiana Maslany as Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters – the woman who will become the titular She-Hulk. However, it’s not the lawyer we wanted to discuss today. It’s her big green relative that we’re talking about it.

Since his appearance in Avengers Endgame, it’s been odd not knowing what will happen with Banner next. It’s gotten to the point that not even actor Mark Ruffalo knows where his character will go in the future. There has been speculation, however, that the upcoming She-Hulk series will follow the comics where Jennifer requires a blood transfusion but the only person who can save her life is her cousin.

By this time, Bruce had already been exposed to the Gamma radiation that made him become Hulk. Despite the risks, he saved Walters, but she was exposed to the toxin and became like him too.

Banner’s involvement in the series was more or less confirmed in an article by Comic Book in February where he was mentioned in the casting call for the Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk character. Whether this has changed since the original posting is unclear. However, we need to question how Bruce can play a role without having to bring Hulk out.

Theory #1: A special appearance

There’s every chance that Ruffalo could appear in the first episode just to help set up how Jennifer becomes She-Hulk. We could see her get into an accident like in the comics and Banner is bought in to only save her life as himself and not as Hulk.

It might even open up the possibility of Bruce appearing outside the series in more of a mentor role when the new slate of Avengers is announced.

Theory #2: Banner plays a major role

Okay, so the show might be called She-Hulk, but that doesn’t mean Banner can’t appear at all. For all we know, he could play a major role in training his cousin to use her newfound gifts responsibly and without causing millions of dollars of property damage like he has in the past. He might be a member of the main cast going forward as Jennifer will need a confidante when and if she begins to struggle with becoming a hero.

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If Bruce does have a major part to play, it would be nice to see him be used in a way that compliments him and not Hulk. Sure the big green guy is the the star, but he can’t exist without Banner and neither can She-Hulk.

If Banner does appears in an important mentor role to Jennifer, then it might give us a bit more backstory to their childhood. It might explain why Hulk is always so angry. It might even go into their own relationship and what they were like when they were younger.

Theory #3: Banner is a recurring character

Let’s say that Bruce does appear in the first episode, but he doesn’t have to appear in every episode. He could come and go whenever he is needed. This might be easier than having him come into the show full-time.

He could be like Hettie on NCIS: Los Angeles where it’s just a matter of storyline and the reasoning behind the appearance that should allow Banner to play a part in Jennifer’s story without having to include his green alter ego.

Also, if Bruce is used sparingly, it may lead to tension with Jennifer who might question whether he wants to help her in learning the superhero ropes.

Theory #4: Bruce reverts back to being himself and doesn’t bring out Hulk

Everyone loved Smart Hulk in Avengers: Endgame and, quite frankly, who couldn’t love the idea of having Bruce Banner using Hulk’s body? It’s a very cool concept that played out really well on screen. So, what if he decides he’s tired of having the best of both worlds? What if he wants to go back to sharing a body with Hulk?

If this were to happen, it would be the best thing he could possibly do because he doesn’t have to include Hulk. He could just be himself without bringing out the big green guy. What purpose could the big dude have outside of destroying things? It’s not like he’s going to get angry at Jennifer for simply asking a question… right?

Theory #5: ‘Archival footage’

There’s every chance that Bruce doesn’t actually appear physically. For all we know, there might be video diaries that Jennifer finds of Banner’s that detail his journey into becoming Hulk. These might be clips or footage from his transformations from The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton but are re-filmed and re-edited with Mark Ruffalo’s likeness instead.

These diaries might help Jennifer understand how much Banner struggled when he first became the Hulk. It might even help her avoid making the same mistakes he did when it came to trusting people who would eventually stab him in the back.

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What do you think? Should Bruce appear in She-Hulk without Hulk? Let us know in the comments below!