Only 1 Of The MCU"s Hulk Movie Cast Had No Future, Despite Its Failure

  • Ty Burrell's Dr. Leonard Samson is an important Hulk enemy and ally in the comics, but he has been surprisingly absent from the MCU since his introduction in The Incredible Hulk.
  • In the comics, Doc Samson uses part of Hulk's Gamma energy to gain similar abilities, and he also helps Thaddeus Ross and Betty Ross transform into Red Hulk and Harpy.
  • The rest of The Incredible Hulk's main characters have returned in recent MCU projects, including Thaddeus Ross in Captain America: Civil War and Abomination in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law. Betty Ross, her father, and Samuel Sterns are set to return in Captain America: Brave New World.
Every major character in The Incredible Hulk has returned in recent MCU projects, which makes one standout absence all the more puzzling. In the MCU's early days, The Incredible Hulk struggled to make the same impact as Iron Man, but it did help launch Phase 1 successfully. Despite Bruce Banner's MCU recasting and the fact that Hulk never received a solo sequel afterward, various MCU movies and shows have referenced The Incredible Hulk, confirming that its plot is still canon within the franchise.
The Incredible Hulk summarized Hulk's MCU origin story in its opening credits and took up Bruce Banner's journey from his time escaping the authorities a few years after the Gamma incident that awakened his alter ego. Before joining the Avengers, Bruce Banner had only met his closest allies and enemies from the source material, including Betty Ross and her father General Ross, Emil Blonsky, and a certain psychiatrist whose name is well known to Hulk fans, Dr. Leonard Samson. However, the latter is yet to fulfill his full potential in the MCU, sixteen years after The Incredible Hulk.
Ty Burrell Is The Only Main Actor From The Incredible Hulk Who Didn't Return Ty Burrell's Leonard Samson Is An Important Hulk Character In Marvel Comics The Incredible Hulk introduced Ty Burrell's Dr. Leonard Samson as Betty Ross' boyfriend, who fell in love with Betty after Bruce Banner disappeared. Out of jealousy, Samson revealed Banner's location to General Ross, which resulted in Hulk's battle with the military at Culver University. After Betty broke up with Leonard Samson due to his betrayal, the psychiatrist never returned in any MCU movie or show. Leonard Samson's 16-year absence is rather surprising, as he has been a long-time Hulk enemy and ally in the comics.
Related Hulk's Movie Rights: Has Marvel Got Them Back From Universal & Is A New MCU Movie On The Way? Uncertainty remains about whether or not Disney has the distribution rights for Hulk movies in 2024 and beyond or if they remain with Universal.
In the source material, Leonard Skivorski Jr. a.k.a. Doc Samson helped Bruce Banner "cure" himself temporarily with the help of a "cathexis ray" projector, which he then used on himself to gain similar powers. Samson then flirted with Betty Ross, creating an enduring feud between him and Banner. Although Doc Samson made amends with Hulk, he also joined forces with Thaddeus Ross and MODOK, who incited Samson to create the Gamma-powered monsters Red Hulk, Harpy, and A-Bomb. Doc Samson's comic book history has plenty of material for multiple Hulk solo movies, but the MCU has completely ignored him.
Where All Of The Incredible's Main Cast Returned In The MCU Recent MCU Projects Have Redeemed The Incredible Hulk's Main Cast Close The MCU has brought back most of The Incredible Hulk's cast in different projects. Thaddeus Ross was an influential antagonist in Captain America: Civil War, as he tried to enforce the Sokovia Accords as Secretary of State. Now, Ross has become President of the United States and will transform into the Red Hulk in Captain America: Brave New World. Meanwhile, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law revealed that Emil Blonsky a.k.a. Abomination found peace while imprisoned, though he also likes to escape with Wong's help to participate in underground fighting competitions. Another character who has returned is Culver student Roger Harrington, who eventually became Peter Parker's science teacher.
The only solo project based on a Hulk-related character released after The Incredible Hulk has been She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, which introduced Jennifer Walters and her rival Titania.
Samuel Sterns and Betty Ross had also been absent in the MCU for a long time. However, both characters are confirmed to return in Captain America: Brave New World. While plot details about the MCU's fourth Captain America installment are still scarce, it's possible that Samuel Sterns will replace Doc Samson in transforming President Ross into the Red Hulk, and that Sterns himself will appear as the Gamma-infused villain The Leader, as teased by The Incredible Hulk's ending. Betty Ross, on the other hand, may only appear in a minor role to provide context for her absence.
The Incredible Hulk
Director Louis Leterrier Writers Zak Penn Cast Edward Norton , Liv Tyler , Tim Roth , William Hurt , Tim Blake Nelson , Ty Burrell , Lou Ferrigno Release Date June 13, 2008 Runtime 112 minutes Upcoming Marvel Movies
Release Date
Deadpool & Wolverine
July 26, 2024
Captain America: Brave New World
February 14, 2025
May 2, 2025
The Fantastic Four
July 25, 2025
November 7, 2025
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
May 1, 2026
Avengers: Secret Wars
May 7, 2027


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