Rumours are making the rounds that Kevin Feige wants to make a Thunderbolts movie for Marvel’s Phase 5. And it looks like Red Hulk might show up in it. Also, thanks to Avengers: Endgame, the how’s and why’s of it have been explained already.
We saw William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross last in Black Widow, and then chronologically, he was at Tony Stark’s funeral. He looked utterly human then, but Phase 5 could significantly change the character.
Hurt had reappeared in Captain America: Civil War, and there General Ross was a thorn by the side of the superheroes, who were resisting regulation. Now, the Civil War over the Sokovia Accords might have been over, but WandaVision confirmed that its status was active after the theft of Vision’s body.
And it seems like Ross is unlikely to change his ideological standpoint simply due to Tony Stark’s death. In the wake of WandaVision and Falcon & The Winter Soldier’s events, he will probably be even more likely to press for regulation.
And what better way to get it done than by leading a thunderbolts team of alternative heroes to show the Avengers the other side of the coin. In the pages of Marvel comics, General Ross’s Red Hulk led The Thunderbolts team along with a group of villains and antiheroes.
The rumoured Thunderbolts movie should have Ross as its leader, even if he gets manipulated to put the team together. And despite Ross seeing the problems with Hulk’s blood in Emil Blonsky’s Abomination transformation, he now could believe that it could be used safely.
After all, Professor Hulk coming out in Endgame could alleviate fears of another abomination disaster if Ross used the serum on himself. Also, there’s an exciting precedent set up by Ross part in Black Widow. And this could further set up his Red Hulk transformation. Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff had said that Ross had a heart attack by the time he got on her tail on Phase 4’s first movie.
Ross is a man who is defined by a superiority complex and pride. This manifests as a stubborn reluctance to let superheroes go unchecked. So the very idea that he would be the one to succumb to a weak body while his enemy Banner enjoys immortality would be blasphemous to him.
So him becoming Red Hulk and imagining that he would become like Professor Hulk is an incredibly compelling Phase 5 arc for him. Now, fundamentally, General Ross becoming Red Hulk will be the best way to end his MCU arc finally.
He is utterly obsessed with Banner, even though the world calls him a hero. And he has now spent time with the new Hulk during Tony Stark’s memorial. This could prove convincing to a zealot that’s already committed to the idea of government-controlled and sponsored heroes. We know that Phase 4 will deal with one Hulk legacy character in She-Hulk.
As such, the stage is ready for Red Hulk and the thematic resonance it will bring to General Ross’s MCU arc along with Marvel’s Thunderbolts.
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