The Hulk's 2 Greatest Rivalries Are Unlikely To Happen In The MCU

An unfortunate consequence of the X-Men and Fantastic Four joining the MCU so late is that the Hulk's two best antagonists are unlikely to ever show up.

Even though the Hulk is one of the MCU's longest mainstays, the fact remains that many Hulk stories are highly unlikely to happen right now, especially his rivalry with at least two other heroes. Early on, the MCU decided to make the Hulk-Thor rivalry a bit comical in The Avengers, carrying over their relationship in the comics. This later became an integral part of Thor: Ragnarok, with the Hulk headlining the film. Hulk also had a chance to fight Iron Man, but it wouldn't be quite the same since Hulk has no distrust of the armored Avenger.

Unfortunately, in the MCU, the Emerald Giant's other two biggest rivalries with the X-Men's Wolverine and the Fantastic Four seem ill-fated. Thor also has a longstanding rivalry with the Hulk, so using that in an Avengers movie would make perfect sense. However, with the X-Men and Fantastic Four entering the MCU so late, and the Hulk making creative decisions that changed the status quo so drastically, these other rivalries don't have quite the same oxygen to continue. While the MCU does have the option Stage 5.

Hulk Won't Be Fighting Wolverine Or The Thing Anytime Soon

It's highly unlikely that audiences will see Bruce Banner down with Wolverine or The Thing on screen. Where Wolverine is involved, the rivalry with the Hulk has never been about strength. It's more about anger. Wolverine's notoriety for his rampaging rage, combined with Hulk's ability to go on basically forever, made for some long, brutal fights. However, thanks to the Hulk's guidance in Avengers: Endgame, and the reinforcements in She-Hulk, that rage simply isn't there. Aside from the fact that they have little reason to fight, the lack of shared anger between them makes such a fight less exciting.

On the other side of things is Hulk's rivalry with things in the Fantastic Four, and it's all about power. At this point, it's been established that the Hulk is stronger. Admittedly, some iterations lead to takeaways, at least technically, the Thing is sturdier than the Hulk. Of course, the Thing also has more control over itself than the Hulk usually does. However, there is no longer much reason to consider these comparisons, as the Hulk's point of self-control after Avengers: Endgame is now Moot, the question of strength has been brought up multiple times between Abomination, Thor, Thanos and She-Hulk.

The Thing's Hulk Rivalry Could Be Carried By She-Hulk

The Thing and Hulk rivalry doesn't have to lose all. This could simply be transferred to another Hulk. While Ben Green likely won't benefit much from a potential rivalry with Bruce Banner again, the chances of competing with the sensational She-Hulk are good. On the surface, a competition of this nature might seem odd, but the MCU already has the tools needed to make it work. In the comics, She-Hulk actually had a brief stint in the Fantastic Four, replacing that thing with this character due to circumstances at the time. Here's what the MCU can do after the Fantastic Four debut.

With She-Hulk stepping in to replace the Thing, though for reasons that may be entirely of the MCU's own invention, could set the stage for a rivalry between Orange and Green. It wouldn't actually be a competition for the characters' physicality, and that wouldn't be the most interesting thing about that story. This rivalry would be much more personal, and could affect She-Hulk's identity as a superhero. if It's based on The Thing's traditional dilemma with his humanity, which plays into She-Hulk's ability to control her state almost perfectly. In the end, it can make two characters close friends.

Secret Wars Could Show A Savage Hulk Variant

The upcoming Avengers: Secret War opens up multiple possibilities for Bruce Banner, including the return of the Savage Hulk. Bruce Banner Viewers may not be familiar with the origin of this particularly rampaging green giant. However, considering the premise of Secret Wars, a multiverse variant of the Hulk could end up annoying a new generation of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. In this case, all of the Hulk's old foes, from Thor to The Thing and even Wolverine trying to calm the Hulk down, could rear their head again.

The MCU likely won't show audiences a long-term rivalry between the Hulk and Wolverine or The Thing on screen. Hope isn't necessarily lost, however, as Marvel will soon be rolling out most, if not all, of what is necessary to make these rivalries play out in one form or another, if not in the way audiences expect. The MCU's multiverse is far from perfect, but it has so many possibilities that it's easy for She-Hulk or some variant of the Hulk to clash with Wolverine or The Thing in the future, adding to the list: Hulk gram opponent.

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