As the long line of upcoming Marvel shows grows in number, Disney decided to ramp up fans’ excitement by sharing the first look of She-Hulk. The TV series features Bruce Banner as Smart Hulk, even though he was seen as the normal Bruce Banner in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Following the end of the Infinity Saga, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has constantly and phenomenally been working towards expanding its universe. The production is exploring the world of TV and making shows to stream exclusively on Disney+. These shows will have interesting correlations to the franchise’s flagship content — the movies. Included in the amazing set of these TV series, is the upcoming Marvel’s She-Hulk. The series will tell the story of its titular character, but also bring back Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/The Hulk.
The basic storyline of She-Hulk, a legal drama superhero TV series, as revealed so far, includes Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters, who is Bruce’s cousin. Walters’s character is a lawyer who deals with cases brought forward concerning superpowered people. However, during her life, Jennifer gains the powers and capabilities of her cousin. These powers include the ability to turn into a larger, more powerful, green-hued version of herself.
There will be more on the why and hows of this transformation. But for the character to unfold her story, it is inevitable for She-Hulk to bring back Bruce Banner. Bruce’s last appearance in the MCU happened with Shang-Chi. The mid-credits scene in the movie showed Wong (Benedict Wong) turn to Bruce and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) for help. This scene retconned his last transformation as “Smart Hulk”.
Bruce Banner put the use of the five-year blip shown in Avengers: Endgame to come to terms with his counterpart. He decided to not fight “the other guy” but to embrace the best of both his sides. He brought together the Hulk’s strength, and Bruce’s intellect, and created an impressive version of himself called the Smart Hulk. Bruce was quite content in living as Smart Hulk.
This is why seeing him as his older human self in Shang-Chi was a little odd. And now with the first look of She-Hulk featuring Bruce as Smart Hulk again, we are even more puzzled. In the tease, Smart Hulk is seen helping Jennifer with her sudden transformation. However, since we ate still unaware of when these events occur in the MCU timeline, the appearance can be explained.
The MCU timeline is varied. While some of Marvel’s movies and TV shows follow a standard timeline, there are a few that switch back and forth. This is done to justify certain aspects of the stories being told. She-Hulk is supposed to release in 2022, but that does not mean that the occurrences in the story happened after Shang-Chi. There are chances that the story is set in between the period of Avengers: Endgame and Shang-Chi. As it would very much explain the involvement of Smart Hulk.
The series could also include a part where She-Hulk acknowledges Smart Hulk’s efforts at trying to reverse his experiment of creating a version of both his sides. Back then, Smart Hulk might just be on his way to de-Hulking himself to become Bruce Banner again. Thus, Shang-Chi. The teaser shows Smart Hulk working on Jennifer, so it would explain that during that time, he succeeded in going back to being his original self again.
Marvel has just begun advertising She-Hulk. There is still no release date or even details regarding the plot. This gives the fans plenty of time to make their assumptions as to why the teaser featured Smart Hulk. And also the facts about how Bruce turned himself back to his human self. But right now, it is likely that She-Hulk tells the story of a time before the events of Shang-Chi. When exactly is that, we will find out soon enough.