Cameos and appearances are something that has always been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Over the years, we have seen a lot of the major characters appear in short roles in features that introduced whole new characters. But one of the most surprising of these cameos has to be the amount of references Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings had with The Incredible Hulk. The appearance of Bruce Banner himself around the end of the movie ended up being a major part of the movie even though it was the introduction to the world of Shang-Chi. Let’s take a look at all the projects, both movies and TV shows that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings set up with the post-credits scene featuring Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner. Now let’s have a look at how Marvel has set up 6 MCU projects with the Hulk cameo in Shang-Chi:
World War Hulk
Following years of trying to gain control over the Hulk, Banner came up with a solution. This solution was none other than that of the Smart Hulk partnership which saw the character having the might of Hulk while at the same time having the brains of Banner. We saw this partnership during the events of Avengers: Endgame but later in his cameo in the post-credits scene for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings we saw him appear as Bruce Banner. This could mean that Hulk didn’t want to keep the partnership and it could clearly pave the way for a narrative like World War Hulk.
There has been a lot of talk regarding the Thunderbolts project and it was even hinted at in the franchise. We saw that Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine was working on her own team of characters for her own cause. There was no clear indication regarding the nomenclature for the team but we can be sure that this is going to be an essential part of the franchise. Hulk’s absence for this period of time from the franchise could mean that Red Hulk might also be coming into the franchise but there is some wonder about that narrative now considering Thunderbolt Ross actor William Hurt recently passed away.
The only confirmed appearance for the character is in the upcoming Disney+ series She-Hulk. Here we will see Banner help his cousin Jennifer Walters go through the transformation into the monstrous form. The first teaser for the series saw Banner appear as Hulk and this means that we will get to witness the character have transformations in three consecutive projects. Fans are wondering if this is indicative of the fact the series will take place before the events of Endgame as Hulk didn’t have the injury in his hand from Endgame. Now we will get to see She-Hulk take on the mantle of the character in the franchise.
Ever since the first trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness came out, fans were left wondering about the debut of the Illuminati. The possible return of Smart Hulk could mean that he can clearly be a part of the council of heroes as he is quite the brilliant character in the franchise. At the same time, if he isn’t a part of the council then we can get to see the comic book arc where Hulk is mistreated by the Illuminati and he returns with full vengeance. This might mean that Hulk could end up triggering a larger event in the future of the franchise, something quite similar to World War Hulk.
Another essential addition to the franchise is going to be the character of She-Hulk. We clearly witnessed that Banner was responsible for informing Shang-Chi that he is now an Avengers and we can expect him to do the same for some of the other characters in the franchise. This might mean that he will be an essential figure in the Young Avengers narrative.
Fans were wondering if Hulk’s injury meant that the character won’t have a place amongst the Avengers following his injury in Endgame. But if the real Hulk ends up appearing, he could end up being an essential part of the franchise instead of solely being dependent on Smart Hulk. But if Shang-Chi is indicative of anything, it is the fact that Banner might be absent from the franchise for a certain period of time. Thus paving the way for She-Hulk to join the team and become a part of a whole new rendition of the heroes we have seen over the years.
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