As we get into the real meat of Phase 3 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, fans are in a real frenzy about the future of its characters, the state of the infinity stones, and what’s in store beyond the fourth Avengers film. At the Marvel Studios D23 panel, some light was shed on at least a few MCU characters that have been in limbo for the past 1-2 years.
It’s only fair that we start with the Hulk, who’s been missing on-screen since the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The last we saw of Hulk was on a quinjet after throwing Ultron from the cockpit and deciding to take himself off the grid for the safety of Earth, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, it’s been confirmed via its teaser trailer that Hulk will return in Thor: Ragnorok. But, according to Mark Ruffalo, the next big evolution for the Hulk will take place starting with Thor: Ragnorok and continue through Avengers: Infinity War and Untitled Avengers 4:
“There’s a huge change for Banner and for Hulk. It isn’t resolved in the first Infinity War, it sort of culminates into the second Infinity War. Thor 3 is the beginning of a lot of changes for Banner and for Hulk.“
While Ruffalo wouldn’t get into specifics, Don Cheadle wasn’t quite as tight lipped when he spoke about the future of War Machine:
“Obviously at the end of Civil War, with what happened with War Machine, Rhodey’s character has a lot to overcome. There’s a progression to the movies, without being specific and telling you what it is, there’s a progression and he gets back up.”
The last we saw of War Machine was at the end of Captain America: Civil War as he was attempting to rehab himself with exoskeletal legs created by Tony Stark after accidentally being shot out of the sky by Vision. Cheadle’s comments would seem to suggest that James Rhodes (“Rhodey”) will recover from what was teased as possible paralysis at the end of Civil War. Based on the difference in their comments, it would appear as though Hulk’s arc is being a lot more guarded while War Machine’s will be treated more as a foregone conclusion that is his recovery.
We still have a ways to go before we get to see the next evolution of Rhodey’s and Banner’s character arcs. Thor: Ragnorok will be released November 3, 2017, while Avengers: Infinity War will be released May 4, 2018.