[Ed. note: This post contains light spoilers for episode 2 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.]
In episode 2 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) drops a call with her cousin. Great, who hasn’t? Only unbeknownst to her, the cause is more complicated: While he was in the middle of talking about her latest step in her law career, we pull out to see that Hulk is actually aboard a spaceship headed… somewhere.
This obviously isn’t the first time spaceships have gotten in the way of Bruce Banner’s life. In the show, She-Hulk’s powers came from an accident caused by a Sakaaran spacecraft that dropped down in front of her and Bruce’s car. It’s a “Sakaaran Class A courier craft,” Bruce explains later. “They’re probably trying to deliver a message; I’ve got to get to the bottom of that.” And if you remember your Thor: Ragnarok details, Sakaar is the gladiator planet on which the Hulk was stranded for three years.
Though it would seem that Bruce has apparently gotten “to the bottom of that,” Marvel is playing it coy here with exactly where he’s going, what he’s doing, or what happens next. And with the MCU, it’s a toss-up as to whether this is simply a quick way to explain why Mark Ruffalo isn’t in more of the show or a hint at the future of the MCU. But if we take a look at the franchise, there are plenty of upcoming subplots to slot Hulk in on. Here are some places in the MCU he might land.
Marvel Secret Invasion
If Bruce is jetting off to a future movie or show, it’s almost certainly going to be Secret Invasion, due in early 2023 on Disney Plus. The television series will be loosely based on the Marvel Comics event of the same name, in which many of the heroes and humans of planet earth are revealed to have been replaced by shapeshifting skrull sleeper agents, as the skrulls make a play to take over the planet.
Samuel L. Jackson will star in the series, along with Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull Talos (from Captain Marvel), Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross (from Black Panther), and Don Cheadle as War Machine. What does that have to do with Sakaar and the Hulk? Not much, honestly. But Secret Invasion is chronologically the next time the MCU will turn its eyes to an extraterrestrial threat (unless you count the Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special, which we don’t).
And if the Hulk is already in space, maybe Skrulls are becoming a threat to Sakaar?
Loki season 2
What’s going on in Loki season 2? Probably some weird science time bullshit that it’d be great to have Dr. Bruce “Smart Hulk” Banner himself on. Perhaps Loki has gotten over his aversion to the big green man and called in the big brain guns to help him stand against Kang the Conqueror.
Enjoying a space vacation
Listen, who hasn’t enjoyed a lovely bit of time off in space once in a while? Nick Fury certainly has. And whether his whole off-planet time amounts to some Secret Invasion seeding or not, he certainly looked pretty relaxed as he wandered around a Skrull ship without shoes. Though Hulk has been absent from a lot of the MCU recently, it’s not like he’s gotten a good break (though who knows, maybe gladiatorial battle was a nice reprieve). Maybe it’s a new episode of What If...? or maybe it’s just some well-earned time off; either way, give Bruce Banner some PTO!
World War Hulk
In the MCU, the Hulk’s exit from Sakaar was relatively light and adventurous. In Marvel Comics, it was a whole thing. Hulk had fought his way to rulership over Sakaar and led an armada back to Earth to seek revenge on the superheroes who’d stranded him in space in the first place. He also had a big green son, Skaar, who got saddled with a hefty dose of daddy issues. Maybe this is all laying track for a future announcement of a World War Hulk event in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or maybe She-Hulk will end with an interstellar custody battle?
The She-Hulk season finale
Listen, CGI is expensive, and it’s not like Hulk has been doing a ton (aside from building a Mexican getaway off screen with Tony Stark, apparently). Maybe by the end of the season he’ll come right back to Earth and She-Hulk — either because he’s solved the Sakaarans’ problem, or because they play into some big law case Jen is working on. Hell, maybe Jen goes to space and helps Hulk out of an intergalactic legal jam. The last time we saw Grandmaster he was getting deposed (overthrown); maybe Jeff Goldblum will return to be deposed (testifying) by She-Hulk in a trial against him.