An episode of She-Hulk 2 is now airing on Disney Plus, along with the progression of Jennifer Walters’ storyline as a burgeoning superhero lawyer, the MCU story appears to be her cousin Bruce Banner entering its next chapter (or ‘stage’, to borrow the term Marvel Studios).
Following up on the sudden appearance of the Sakaaran ship that caused the accident that turns Jennifer Walters into She-Hulk in Episode 1, Episode Two finds Bruce aboard that same ship, apparently returning to Planet Sakaar – the place of his last visit in Thor: Ragnarok.
Thor: Ragnarok has partially adapted the storyboard hulk planet (Opens in a new tab) Which introduced Sakaar to the Marvel Universe (which is about to get a sequel in a new limited series). But the effects of Banner’s return to the planet in the MCU have many fans speculating about a sequel to that story, world war hulk (Opens in a new tab)where a giant ol’ jade rampage against those who exiled him to space in the first place, taking the fight to nearly the entire Marvel universe in the process.
Now, with all the pieces seemingly out of place in the MCU, could World War Hulk be on the horizon?
It may seem far-fetched, given Hulk’s current location and standing in the MCU, but in the comics, the 2007 Hulk’s World War was an important springboard on the road to 2015 secret wars (Opens in a new tab)which will soon give some spiritual inspiration to the now officially announced Avengers: Secret Wars movie.
So what really happened in World War Hulk, and how can the story give some hints about what might lie ahead in the MCU?
As always, Newsarama has the answers straight from the comics.
What is World War Hulk?
World War Hulk is a 2007 Marvel Comics event hosted by Greg Pak and John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson and Christina Strain, which follows the events of the 2006 story “Planet Hulk”. To understand World War Hulk, it is important to briefly explain the details of Planet Hulk.
In that story, which was partially adapted into the movie Thor: Ragnarok, the Hulk is banished to space by a secret society of powerful heroes known as the Illuminati, who decide that the Hulk’s rampage is too great a threat on Earth to control. They exile him to the planet Sakkar, where the Hulk becomes a gladiator known as the Green Scar in the fighting pits of the planet, Alla Thor: Ragnarok.
The Hulk eventually leads a rebellion against the planet’s tyrannical leaders, and makes his way to Earth bent on revenge on those who banished him to space – and here begins the Hulk World War.
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When the Hulk’s wife Sakaaran is killed in an explosion caused by the ship that originally brought the Hulk to Sakaar, he declares war on the Illuminati, and gathers his crew of loyal warriors known as the Warbound to his side.
(Two Warbounds, Korg and Miek, became Thor’s supporting characters in the MCU after debuting in Thor: Ragnarok.)
He returns to Earth where he has revealed the existence of the secret group to the world, and demands a confrontation with the members of the Illuminati who expelled him into space – Red Richards, Tony Stark, Charles Xavier, Black Bolt, and Dr. Strange (Hulk decides not to. His old ally attacks Namor, the only member of the Illuminati). who voted not to deny it.
What happens in World War Hulk?
Charged with the gamma of his time in Sakaar, the Hulk defeated the Black Bolt after he withstood his powerful and deadly roar. He defeats Iron Man while completely destroying the Stark Tower in a battle that may have inspired the Hulkbuster scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron in which Tony summons the shield from a satellite. He outruns demonic doctor Strange and crushes his hands. And it completely shattered the combined strength of two Avengers teams as well as Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four.
However, in an act of mercy, the Hulk decides not to bring down Xavier after discovering that all but about 200 mutants have lost their powers in the events of the House of M story, in which Wanda Maximoff has cast her infamous comic book – “No More Mutants” spell circles – Although he basically defeats all of the X-Men.
Using Sakaaran technology to neutralize the forces of his fallen enemies and their allies, the Hulk gathers Richards, Stark, String, and Black Bolt at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, where he forces them to battle sakaran monsters for survival – and promises they will. They must fight each other to the death afterwards.
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After a battle with the super-strong and highly unstable hero Sentry leaves the Hulk weak in the form of Bruce Banner, the Hulks are back once again after discovering that the explosion that killed his wife in Sakaar was caused by loyalists to the tyrannical leader who overthrew him.
Not only does he explode, but he gets so angry that he begins to release a world-threatening level of gamma radiation.
With the members of the Illuminati now empty of the Hulk’s arena, Tony Stark summons a satellite strike with a weapon designed to neutralize the Hulk, end his rampage and spread gamma radiation. Now stuck in human form as Bruce Banner, the Hulk is imprisoned in a special SHIELD containment unit three miles underground.
World War Hulk in the MCU
The aftermath of World War The Hulk knocked the Hulk out of the Marvel Universe for a while, with Hercules just introduced in the MCU taking over his title as Incredible Hercules. Meanwhile, the fallout from Bruce Banner’s loss of Gamma powers leads to General Thaddeus Ross ‘Thunderbolt’ becoming the Red Hulk.
There were a few hints and Easter eggs potentially pointing to the final MCU introduction to Red Hulk, and of course, there’s the upcoming Thunderbolts movie, which features a cast that included the Red Hulk as a member. The original Red Hulk, Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross may be off the table in the MCU as the actor William Hurt who portrayed him is dead, but there’s always the possibility of a recast, or use of a second Red Hulk, General Robert Maverick.
But perhaps more important is the possibility that Bruce Banner will once again lose control of the Hulk, as seen in the first episode of She-Hulk, and once again become a Sakaaran wrestler – and perhaps even get the full MCU Planet Hulk storyline.
And if that happens, the next logical leap will be World War Hulk – and finally seeing the Hulk unleash a Worldbreaker in the MCU.
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While the core MCU doesn’t have an Illuminati like the alternate reality version shown in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it’s on the cusp of having secret wars — something that has some roots in the World War Hulk show of the original Illuminati in the Marvel Universe.
Marvel Studios doesn’t always follow the exact same path as the original comic book stories they adapt, but there is comic book precedent for some level of connection between the Hulk, the fall of the Illuminati, and secret wars. So perhaps the World War II Hulk modification would give the audience reason to be suspicious of the MCU’s beloved Avengers heroes, rather than including a direct version of the Illuminati.
There’s also always a chance that Marvel can make the big reveal, and show that there have indeed been an Invisible Illuminati at the heart of the MCU all along. After all, that’s how they were revealed in the comics.
This is all just speculation, of course – but there’s now more than a few clues suggesting that some versions of World War Hulk may hit the MCU.
World War Hulk is one of the The best hulk stories all times.