With the Marvel Cinematic Universe getting fully into its Phase Four, there has been a move to begin wrapping up stories among some of the legacy heroes we’ve seen in the franchise up until this point. Some are no longer alive and others are slowly making their way out of the stories. With Mark Ruffalo now apparently getting a solo Hulk movie though, it isn’t clear if this is the end or maybe just the beginning for the character. One recent rumor has a possible ending with the Hulk just becoming “human” again. Insider Daniel Richtman has it that a plan for Mark Ruffalo and his Hulk character would be to have him lose his abilities and just be a regular dude. In this way, it would be a little different “end” that we see for most other characters.
This is very just a rumor at this point, but it likely does nod to the general discussion the studio is having about what to do with Mark Ruffalo and Hulk going forward. He’s never gotten his own solo movie until now though Marvel is clearly angling and planning for it. With or without that story, there is just the overarching question of how he fits into the universe as a whole and what they would do to bring his story to a close if need be. From this perspective, having him lose his powers and go back to being a human would be a fitting end to the character’s arc.
Among all the Avengers and those within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner is definitely the one who most begrudgingly took on a superhero persona. The character has always had a Jekyll and Hyde inner personal relationship with the Hulk’s brutish violence and among everyone, Banner clearly doesn’t welcome the stronger and greener side of his inner being. Sure, by the time we get to Avengers: Endgame, he’s learned to deal with it, becoming a bit of a celebrity and embracing the change. But he also clearly did so as a way to maintain rather than a full embrace.
And right now it’s not totally clear what the future holds for Mark Ruffalo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s set to take part in the upcoming Disney+ series She-Hulk which focuses on Jessica Walters who comes upon similar Hulk-ish-ness. That show looks like it’s trending toward a legal comedy vibe and Ruffalo’s Banner has a part, though it isn’t known how big a role he’ll play in the narrative.
After that, though things are only in the planning stages for Mark Ruffalo. Unlike other characters who’ve been given long arcs and standalone stories to fully explore the character and whatnot, Hulk has long been in a different place. Because Universal owns the rights to the character, there have always had to be negotiations around Hulk’s use. And the relationship between the studios isn’t exactly stellar. The recent solo movie planning would suggest there’s been movement on that front, but it isn’t set in stone.
Again, if Mark Ruffalo were to take Bruce Banner back to simply being a regular human, I think most fans could get on board with that outcome. Considering he never really wanted the powers and fought his inner ‘demon” almost all the way through, it would be apropos to simply bid the Green Guy farewell and walk off into the human sunset. That alone would more than culminate the story and it looks like the direction Marvel might take.