Liv Tyler’s Captain America Return Is More Bad News For The Hulk

Liv Tyler's return to the MCU as Betty Ross is part of a pattern of Marvel cannibalizing Hulk's source material for other properties.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

Liv Tyler Captain America hulk

We told you Liv Tyler was about to return to Marvel back in October, and just yesterday The Hollywood Reporter confirmed our scoop that she will reprise the role of Betty Ross in next year’s Captain America: New World Order. I am disappointed in this news not because I dislike Tyler, I don’t, but because I am a ridiculously hardcore fan of the Marvel character the Hulk. Her return in the Captain America sequel is one more in a long list of examples of Marvel cannibalizing the Hulk’s stories to bolster their other IPs.

The first comic book I ever bought was 1982’s Incredible Hulk #278. If the last comic book I ever buy is not a Hulk comic, then you can be sure that’s only because by that point my eyesight will be so bad that I can’t differentiate between “Incredible Hulk” and “Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.” As a Hulk fan, I have endured a lot from the Marvel Cinematic Universe — including the green guy magically disappearing from entire movies — but so far nothing has been as infuriating as having his best stories and characters poached for other heroes’ films.

Nothing is ever adapted word for word, panel for panel, nor should it be. But the reason why Liv Tyler’s return in Captain America 4 just makes me groan is that in the case of the Hulk, it isn’t a case of the source material being adapted differently; they aren’t even adapted as Hulk stories.

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Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

The most brazen example is 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, which took easily one of the most epic Hulk stories of the last few decades and turned it into a colorful detour in not just another Marvel hero’s story, but a Thor story of all things. If you are unaware of the long rivalry between not only Hulk and Thor, but fans of both, just imagine if someone produced a Kanye West biopic, but rather than Ye’s life, took three quarters of the story from Pete Davidson‘s biography.

Just as Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross is now destined to become not a Hulk character, but a Captain America one, the last two Thor films took not only Hulk’s source material setting and story, but his cast. Korg and Miek are part of Hulk’s Warbound in the comics — a sacred, unbreakable connection that leads to the pair of aliens following the Hulk into a literal war with Earth.

William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross in Captain America: Civil War (2016)

There is of course Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross who — played by late William Hurt — has so far appeared in four MCU films after Incredible Hulk. In those films, he has shared a grand total of two scenes with Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and has shared lines of dialogue with him in exactly zero of those scenes. All this in spite of Banner being his object of obsessive rage and vengeance in the comics.

Along with the poaching of Ross, Sterns, and Liv Tyler’s Betty in Captain America 4, we have Hulk comic book characters who — as far as we’ve seen on the screen — have never even met Banner in the MCU. There’s Bill Murray’s Krylar in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, Adrian Pasdar’s Glenn Talbot in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and even the pink-skinned Bereet (Melia Kreiling) in Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Bill Murray in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania (2023) as Krylar, who in the source material lived and died in 1972’s incredible Hulk #156

At this rate I’m pretty sure if there was a Hulk comic book character named I-Hate-The-Hulk-And-Exist-Only-To-Kill-Hulk-To-Be-Clear-I-Only-Care-About-Hulk, he’d only show up in an episode of Moon Knight.

Of course it could be that with Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross, Harrison Ford taking over as Thaddeus Ross, and Tim Blake Nelson’s Leader, we could also be seeing Mark Ruffalo reprising his role as Bruce Banner/Hulk in Captain America: New World Order. But if so? He won’t be there as the focus, he’ll be there as the Worf like he was in Avengers: Infinity War — i.e., as the big guy the bad guys beat up to convince us how tough they are.


I get that Marvel Studios faces a lot of hurdles when it comes to the notion of making a solo Hulk film. But as a guy who doesn’t need to leave his home office to see an either embarrassing or impressive (depending on how you look at it) collection of Hulk memorabilia, if the best Marvel Studios can do is loan the peaks of his mythos to other characters, then I’d rather they keep him and his source material out of the MCU altogether.

Remember that Ant-Man movie that had appearances from Green Goblin, Aunt May, and Mary Jane, but no Peter Parker?

No. No you don’t.

Nothing goes over your head.

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