Mark Ruffalo Thinks Anything Could Happen With Hulk's Future In The MCU

Warning: this post contains spoilers for episode 2 of "She-Hulk."

Anyone feeling a little more smashy, lately? That might have something to do with how all things Hulk-related are suddenly a topic of conversation after the release of "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law." Though predominantly focused on hardworking lawyer Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) navigating her abilities as a gamma-irradiated Hulk alongside her legal career, "She-Hulk" has also featured the character's cousin, Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner, in a key supporting role in the early going. His appearances have only stirred up even more excitement among fans about the original Avenger's role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward, which the actor himself is now weighing in on.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ruffalo speculated about all the different directions that the character could travel in the years ahead. Having played both mild-mannered Bruce and the mindless, rage-filled Hulk in "The Avengers," a slightly more in-control version in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," an almost toddler-like Hulk in "Thor: Ragnarok," and finally a fully-integrated Smart Hulk in "Avengers: Endgame" and beyond, the actor has covered a lot of ground in his last decade-plus in the role ... but what about his next appearance, after flying away in the last episode of "She-Hulk" into space-faring parts unknown?

Here's what Ruffalo had to say:

"Five years from now it could totally morph into anything, whatever's pertinent at the time. I almost see him going back to 'Berserker Hulk' or 'World War Hulk'. It could go anywhere. That's the exciting part — I've played five different versions from beginning to now, and that's kept it interesting for me and I hope interesting for other people."

'I think there's almost a standalone story to be told'...

Of all the various Avengers to grace the big screen since the MCU exploded in popularity, it almost feels unfair that Mark Ruffalo's Hulk has never really had a chance to shine on his own in the way that Edward Norton's version did with 2008's "The Incredible Hulk." Rights and distribution issues between Marvel and Universal have largely rendered such dreams moot, but at least we know the actor himself is game for more action should the opportunity present itself.

In the same interview, Ruffalo touched on a somewhat divisive aspect of "Avengers: Endgame" — the fact that Bruce Banner undergoes a dramatic change to become Smart Hulk, completely off-screen. For the actor, however, that just means there's plenty of space to further explore the character. As he put it:

"I think this is a good entry into that time period, that two years between 'Infinity War' and what happened in 'Endgame' — there's a gap where we don't know what happened to him and all of a sudden he's a professor and he is no longer Banner after he couldn't turn into the Hulk. I love how we start to open up that world, but I think there's almost a standalone story to be told for just those two years. How did we go from a Banner who couldn't turn into the Hulk anymore to all of a sudden this fully integrated version? This is a really nice way to introduce that story, but I also feel like it doesn't satisfy exactly what happened in that time period. I think there's a lot more to say about it."

"She-Hulk" only has so much time to explore that dynamic, so hopefully we'll see Ruffalo's Banner/Hulk again sooner than later.