After years of anticipation, a Marvel Comics clash of the ages could come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe through Phase 5, albeit with a specific caveat. One of the greatest match-ups in Marvel Comics history has been the numerous battles between Wolverine and Hulk. With both characters also being prevalent in various franchises for the better part of two decades, there’s been a high demand for a live-action adaptation of their rivalry.
Now that the MCU is heading into Phase 5 – the second Phase of the Multiverse Saga – the setup of Wolverine vs. Hulk is evident in various ways. While it’s true that only one of these characters – the Hulk – has a presence in the MCU, Marvel has alluded to Wolverine being on hand as well. Teases in projects like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law lay the groundwork for him to be introduced on Earth-616. Alternatively, a multiversal Wolverine could join via Deadpool 3. However, this foreshadowing of Hulk vs. Wolverine comes with a rather significant catch.
The Real Hulk vs. Wolverine Likely Cannot Happen In The MCU Now
Wolverine may fight a Hulk in the MCU, but that character is unlikely to be Mark Ruffalo’s version. Avengers: Endgame revealed that Hulk became Smart Hulk in the five-year gap after Thanos’ blip. Banner combined both parts of his personality, so that he could keep his own rage in check by employing his own mind inside Hulk’s body. This means that Hulk is no longer the giant rage monster he was in Phases 1-3, thus lowering his chances of fighting Wolverine in the MCU’s future.
Also, with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine confirmed for Deadpool 3 in the MCU, he will not be properly introduced until Phase 6. This means that Hulk will have even more development up to that point, and could even be written out of the MCU altogether. Despite this disappointment, though, the seeds have been planted for another clash of the titans involving Wolverine.
How The MCU Is Building To Red Hulk vs. Wolverine Instead
With Captain America: New World Order bringing Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross back into the MCU fold via Harrison Ford, it is clear the MCU has longer-term plans for the character. With that film also set to include Samuel Sterns a.k.a. The Leader, there’s a very good chance the Red Hulk will make his long-awaited entrance into the MCU. If that happens, his Red Hulk role could continue into Thunderbolts and beyond, with the character playing a big part in the MCU’s Phases 5 and 6.
When Wolverine is introduced, be it Hugh Jackman’s in Deadpool 3 or the MCU’s own version, it would be much more likely for him to fight Red Hulk at this point. With Red Hulk skirting the line between villain and anti-hero in Marvel Comics, it would make sense for him to clash with a variety of MCU heroes. With Wolverine on the horizon, the Marvel Cinematic Universe could finally have the long-awaited Hulk vs. Wolverine fight, only with the added catch of it being Thunderbolt Ross as Red Hulk facing down the Wolverine in the Green Goliath’s place.