Forget Endgame! The MCU battle we've been waiting for is reportedly happening

The renewal of a classic rivalry could lead to the biggest battle that Marvel's MCU has ever seen.
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..Thor (Chris Hemsworth)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..Thor (Chris Hemsworth)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019 /

Few franchises have done cinematic battles quite as consistently well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A good superhero movie needs a good fight scene, and the MCU has 33. Some shine brighter than others, but it is an indicator of what a battle veteran the film series has become over the years.

It doesn't get any bigger than Avengers: Endgame. The film featured the payoff of 11 years of storytelling and brought the shared universe together for the largest-scale battle the big screen had ever seen. And yet, there is a battle that could still feel bigger; not in the numbers manner nor in the epic scale, but in the general sense of raw and unadulterated power.

Yep, it doesn't get any bigger than this one, and rumor has it that it could finally be about to happen.

The Hulk and the Red Hulk will reportedly battle in the MCU

Marvel insider AlexFromCC (via The Cosmic Circus) recently teased that the MCU could finally deliver on that long-awaited showdown between the Incredible Hulk and the Red Hulk, adding that it will happen "sooner rather than later". The latter is expected to make his MCU debut in Captain America: Brave New World as President Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross will likely evolve into the large, red, hulking monster. And when that does happen, it will likely put him on a collision course with the Hulk himself.

Harrison Ford joins the MCU as President Ross, taking over the character from the late, great William Hurt who passed away in 2022. Hurt had played the role since 2008's The Incredible Hulk, reappearing in installments such as Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Black Widow. Fans had been speculating if the character would ever go on a journey like his comic book counterpart and take a modified version of the super soldier serum to become the Red Hulk. It seems that this is indeed the case.

(L-R): Harrison Ford as President Thaddeus Ross and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Captain America in Marvel Studios' CAPTAIN AMERICA: BRAVE NEW WORLD. Photo by Eli Adé. © 2024 MARVEL. /

With some aspects of Captain America 4's early marketing already confirming that Red Hulk will appear in the movie, it's only a matter of time until the hulking, red alter-ego of the former General Ross will make his live-action debut. And it sounds like that debut could lead to the collision we've all been waiting for. We'll just have to wait a bit longer for it since we know that the MCU's Hulk, Mark Ruffalo, will not be appearing in the movie.

The report also states that Marvel is slowly building towards a World War Hulk storyline, where Bruce Banner will see his worst nightmares realized as the governments of the world attempt to create their own versions of the Hulk. That's a storyline that has been rumored for years, so the thought of it coming to fruition, and getting to see that epic Hulk battle in the process, is incredibly intriguing.

The groundwork has been laid for the renewal of this rivalry

With Red Hulk practically confirmed to appear in Captain America: Brave New World, he will probably take on Sam Wilson first, but once he inevitably loses to the shield-bearing warrior, the long-game will likely be to have him and the Hulk come face-to-face. Remember, Ross has a history with Bruce Banner which has been pretty much overlooked throughout the majority of the MCU.

The two clashed in The Incredible Hulk (in which Banner and Ross were respectively portrayed by Edward Norton and William Hurt) as the Hulk had to go on the run to avoid being captured by Ross. When Ross resurfaced in subsequent MCU movies, the Hulk was off-world, meaning that their rivalry was never really revisited on-screen. It also meant that a lot of the plot threads left dangling in the 2008 movie were never revisited. Until now, that is.

Hulk, Marvel
Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015 /

Captain America: Brave New World is about to revisit a number of those storylines. The return of Ross (and his potential transformation into the Red Hulk) is obviously the biggest of them, but Tim Blake Nelson will reprise his role from the 2008 film as The Leader, who is set to be the big antagonist of the Captain America sequel. Liv Tyler is also expected to reprise her role as Betty Ross, the love of Bruce Banner's life and daughter of President Ross. It's not expected to be a major role, but it is pretty significant one considering she hasn't been part of the MCU since 2008.

With all of that in mind, it does feel like Marvel Studios is building towards the renewal of the rivalry between President Ross and the Incredible Hulk, and that's a good thing. Fans haven't loved how Hulk's storyline has been handled, with many feeling that he has become a supporting character used just for comic relief - a fate unworthy of the mighty Incredible Hulk. Perhaps reigniting the Hulk storylines could bring him back to the main event-level status he once had. He certainly deserves it as he's one of the last original Avengers left in the MCU.

Hulk is currently off-world again, having returned to Sakaar to get to know his son Skaar (as seen in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law), but between that show bringing back The Abomination and Captain America 4 dealing with more unanswered questions from the 2008 film, we might be in for a Hulk renaissance in the coming years; one that might even include that long-awaited battle between him and the Red Hulk. And honestly, that's wonderful.

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