It’s time to get your Hulk hands out of storage, because the MCU’s jolly green giant is back, and this time he’s bringing his family with him. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premieres today on Disney+, and follows the story of Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), cousin to Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), as she navigates her new life after an accident with her cousin turns her into a Hulk as well. We’ll be posting a full review of the fun season premier over the next couple of days, but for now, let’s review confirmed characters journeys leading up to the first episode of She-Hulk as well as where the show fits into the larger MCU.
Though the Hulk has only had one stand-alone MCU film, he has been a major player throughout all three phases of the Infinity Saga and looks poised to play a large roll in the Multiverse Saga as well.
In The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner (here played by Edward Norton) is a scientist who is trying to recreate the serum that turned Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) into Captain America. After an accident exposes Banner to seemingly lethal levels of gamma radiation, he turns into the Hulk, a fearsome beast who hungers for destruction and chaos. Hunted by the US Government (lead by General Ross, played by William Hurt), The Incredible Hulk sees Banner on the run while trying to find a cure for his affliction. At the end of the movie, he comes to peace with the fact that the Hulk is here to stay, and learns how to control his transformations.
We don’t see Bruce Banner or the Hulk again until The Avengers, and this time Banner is played by Mark Ruffalo. Recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. to track the mind stone in Loki’s scepter, Banner eventually joins the fight against Loki’s Chitauri army in New York City, officially becoming a member of the Avengers.
After the Battle of New York, Banner and Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) become ‘science bros’ forming a fast friendship based on scientific discovery and experimentation. We see Banner next in a post-credits scene for Iron Man 3, where we find out it was actually Banner that Stark was narrating the story to throughout that entire film.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Stark and Banner create Ultron, an artificial intelligence program designed to protect the world from extra-terrestrial attacks. Unfortunately, Ultron becomes self-aware and decides that the biggest threat to humanity is humanity itself, and tries to cause an extinction-level event that will wipe out all humans on Earth. During the events of Age of Ultron, we meet Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), who uses her powers to hypnotize Banner into turning into the Hulk and attacking Iron Man. Humiliated and terrified of the devastation his Hulk counterpart is capable of, Banner steals a spaceship at the end of the film and disappears into space, much to the dismay of Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson), with whom he was forming a romantic bond.
In Thor: Ragnarok, we learn that Banner, now fully Hulked out and more intelligent than the feral beast we’d seen previously, is now a gladiator-type warrior champion on the planet Sakaar. After battling with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the two ‘friends from work’ form a team called the Revengers and travel to Asgard to prevent Ragnarok, the destruction of worlds. Thor instead ensures that Ragnarok happens, resulting in the destruction of Asgard, and Hulk, Thor, and the rest of the surviving Asgardians flee the destruction on a massive ship.
The end of Thor: Ragnarok leads directly to the opening scenes of Avengers: Infinity War. The ship the remaining Asgardians are on is attacked by Thanos’ ship, and is all but completely destroyed. The Hulk tries to fight Thanos (Josh Brolin), but is quickly defeated, leading the Hulk to question his own strength and refuse to show up again throughout the remainder of Infinity War. Hulk is teleported to Earth by a dying Heimdall (Idris Elba), where he crash lands in the Sanctum Sanctorum and warns Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Wong (Benedict Wong) and Tony Stark that ‘Thanos is coming.’
Unable to turn into the Hulk, Banner joins the battle of Wakanda at the end of Infinity War in the Hulk-Smasher Iron Man suit, but is ultimately unable to stop Thanos from gathering the final Infinity Stone and killing half of all life across the galaxy.
Avengers: Endgame sees the remaining Avengers travel through space to Thanos’ farm and killing him. Five years pass and the next time we see Banner, both sides of his personality have merged to form Smart Hulk: a fully Hulked-out Banner who is extremely intelligent and completely in control of his body. Smart Hulk uses the time travel formula discovered by Stark to help the Avengers travel through time to steal the Infinity Stones in hopes of reversing Thanos’ snap from Avengers: Infinity War. Believing himself to be strong enough to withstand the effects of the Infinity Stones, Hulk uses them to bring back everyone Thanos killed, severely injuring his arm in the process. Hulk is successful in bringing everyone back, a battle ensues with a past version of Thanos, but the Avengers are ultimately successful in defeating Thanos once and for all.
The last time we see Hulk or Banner before his appearance in She-Hulk is in the post-credits scene from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. In the scene, Banner appears in a hologram, saying that he is investigating the origins of the titular ten rings. We see his injured arm in a sling, still damaged thanks to his contact with the Infinity Stones.
We first meet Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) in The Incredible Hulk, a member of the elite team tasked with hunting down and bringing in Bruce Banner. Blonsky decides to take the same serum that turned Banner into the Hulk, and turns himself in to Abomination, a sadistic, evil Hulked-out creature who Hulk eventually defeats and the end of the first film.
In the Marvel One-Shot short film The Consultant, the World Security Council discusses a plan to exonerate Emil Blonsky for his crimes in The Incredible Hulk so that he can become a member of the Avengers. The plan is ultimately foiled by Tony Stark.
We don’t see Blonsky or the Abomination again until Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, where he is seen cage-fighting Wong in a club in Macau. This version of Abomination is more mutated than we had previously seen, with more amphibian features including webbed ears.
Wong, who has been very busy in Phase Four, first graced our screens in Doctor Strange. Acting as a mentor to Doctor Strange, Wong helps teach the good doctor how to use the mystical arts and becomes a pseudo sidekick/partner to Strange.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Wong is there when Hulk crash lands in the stairwell of the Sanctum Sanctorum, but stays behind to protect the Sanctum from Thanos’ invasion. He is in the half of all life that survives Thanos’ snap, but Doctor Strange isn’t so lucky. With Strange seemingly dead, Wong becomes the Sorcerer Supreme and leads the charge to protect the Earth from supernatural, mystical threats.
Wong joins the final battle in Avengers: Endgame, helping bring together all the heroes throughout the MCU in the phenomenal portals scene towards the end of that film. In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, we see Wong cage-fighting with Abomination and the two of them leave via a portal after their fight concludes. Wong appears again at the end of the film to recruit Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina), where they learn from Bruce Banner and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) that the Ten Rings are sending out a beacon to an unknown location. The second post-credits scene sees Wong, Katy and Shang-Chi singing karaoke.
In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) visits Doctor Strange and Wong in the Sanctum Sanctorum to ask for Doctor Strange’s help in dealing with the fact that everyone in the world now knows he is Spider-Man. A fed up Wong leaves for Kamar-Taj, but not before admonishing Strange to not mess with a forgetfulness spell (spoiler: Strange doesn’t listen).
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sees Wong and Strange battling a mourning Scarlett Witch, who is desperately scouring the multiverse for a version of reality where her sons are still alive. Wanda tries to steal the multiverse-hopping powers of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), but ultimately sacrifices herself to stop an incursion from happening, where multiple realities crash into each other, leading to the destruction of one or both of the realities. At the end of that film, Chavez stays in Kamar-Taj with Wong to learn how to better control her powers.
Yes, Daredevil is making his official MCU return (after a cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home) in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, which makes sense when you consider the fact that Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is also an attorney. It is unclear if the first three seasons of Daredevil and the only season of The Defenders is cannon within the MCU, but here is a brief recap.
In the three seasons of Daredevil, we are introduced to the blind lawyer Matt Murdock, who is able to somewhat see thanks to super-heightened senses that came from the accident that caused him to go blind in the first place. Lawyer by day, crime-fighting vigilante by night, Murdock spends the first season of his show investigating the corruption and criminal deeds of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) alongside partner and best friend Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and secretary/on-again off-again love interest Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll).
Season two introduces us to another vigilante called the Punisher (Jon Bernthal) and Murdock’s ex-girlfriend Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung). Murdock and friends investigate an ancient criminal organization known as the Hand; the Punisher goes to jail but breaks out thanks to Fisk, and the season ends with Karen learning Daredevil’s secret identity.
The Defenders takes place after the events of season two, and sees Daredevil join forces with Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Danny Rand (Finn Jones) to take down the villainous Hand organization. The series ends with the supposed death of Murdock.
In season three of Daredevil, we discover that Murdock is alive, having been nursed back to health by none other than his mother, who was presumed to be dead. Fisk has been released from prison and enlists the help of Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter (Wilson Bethel) aka Bullseye to bring down Daredevil once and for all. The season ends with Fisk learning Daredevil’s true identity, but swearing to keep it secret in order to protect the life of his wife.
The next time we see Murdock is in Spider-Man: No Way Home, where he is Peter Parker’s lawyer, helping to defend him in the aftermath of Mysterio’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) false claims that Parker was responsible for his death.
Where does She-Hulk fit into the rest of the MCU?
After having watched the first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, it has become clear that the events of this show take place shortly after the post credits sequence featuring Bruce Banner in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
What other characters will we be introduced to in She-Hulk? Tune into Disney+ every Thursday for the next nine weeks to see what surprises and twists the entertaining show brings to the MCU. And be sure to stay tuned to Boss Rush where we’ll review every episode along the way.
Sources: Bustle, Tom’s Guide, Wikipedia
Featured image source: Gamers Tail
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