Since the premiere of the latest Disney+ Marvel show She-Hulk, fans have had one major question in their minds. Who came for The Hulk, and why is he going back to Sakaar? Plenty of us think it’s the start of an adaptation of the seminal World War Hulk by Greg Pak from 2007, and Mark Ruffalo’s recent comments haven’t done anything to dampen those thoughts.
Here we have a look at that potential situation, but also any other reasons he might be going back to the gladiatorial world of Sakaar.
World War Hulk
Starting with the elephant in the room, we go with the most obvious solution. As already mentioned, World War Hulk was written by Greg Pak back in 2007 and is regarded as the second half of a whole with the Planet Hulk before it.
To understand World War Hulk, you need to know about Planet Hulk, where the Illuminati take the difficult decision to send The Hulk into space, citing his mindless destruction and endangerment of civilians as their main reason, ultimately thinking The Hulk causes more harm than good. This was loosely adapted in Thor: Ragnarok, albeit not nearly as dramatically or with the same emotional stakes, The Hulk decides to exile himself at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, being the first of many changes to that storyline.
World War Hulk features The Hulk coming back to Earth, after his time on Sakaar ends with his new family, friends , and comrades being slaughtered by an explosion from unknown origins. The Hulk travels back to Earth with his remaining allies to wage war on who he thinks is to blame, The Illuminati, and so comes one of the best stories where The Hulk is a villain to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Something fans have been asking for for a while, fans thought we wouldn’t be seeing it due to the adaptation in Thor: Ragnarok, and the way he got sent back to Earth in Avengers: Infinity War.
However, with the arrival of the Sakaarian ship in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, The Hulk will find himself back on Sakaar for an unknown reason. As we all know, time moves differently on Sakaar, and no one knows exactly what The Hulk was up to in his two years before Thor turned up. Being a much-loved champion of the arena afforded him many perks and privileges, who can say that didn’t include consorts that took The Hulk’s fancy, and maybe he had a son called Skaar?
When the Revengers left Sakaar it was 2018, and now the MCU has fast-forwarded into 2025, so eight years our time, and God knows how long in Sakaar time, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that his son is a fully grown Hulk of his own.
The Grandmaster Requires Assistance
An unlikely candidate to be asking for The Hulk, and even more unlikely that he’d go and help, but what if The Grandmaster had a situation where The Hulk felt compelled to help? Maybe he’s threatened friends (or family as above) if The Hulk doesn’t turn up. Maybe he’s got some sort of information The Hulk thinks is worth making the trip.
Either way, it is admittedly incredibly unlikely, but it is widely known that Jeff Goldblum’s The Grandmaster filmed and had scenes cut from the recent Thor: Love and Thunder, where he was shown to be murdered by Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher. Not only does this mean he survived that particular encounter, as it essentially never happened, it means he survived his precarious situation at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, where he was surrounded by an incredibly angry mob of civilians on Sakaar.
It also seems a natural idea to have Jeff Goldblum reprise his character, regardless of circumstance, whenever we get the answers to this, particular question.
A lesser known storyline than either Planet Hulk or World War Hulk, but equally as important to the character, the Maestro storyline has reared its head several times in the last thirty years since his first appearance in 1992.
In the Future Imperfect mini-run in 1992, The Hulk is taken from our current timeline to a future one ninety years ahead. In this future, the world has been destroyed by nuclear war, and most humans are long since dead, other than some isolated groups living across the United States.
Taken to the future to help remove the dictator Maestro, The Hulk learns that Maestro is himself, albeit a twisted, distorted version lacking the humanity Banner possesses. Essentially an evil version of Smart Hulk, Maestro represents everything about The Hulk the wider public is scared of, and without any humanity to control his darker urges, Maestro takes over Dystopia, forcing them to do his bidding and treat him as their leader. When returning to his timeline, after finding out Maestro is the future incarnation of his Smart Hulk self, he decides to take a serum that reverses the combination of the two characters, reverting them to two separate entities as it once was.
Whilst a direct adaptation couldn’t happen for obvious reasons, the coming of Kang to the MCU, as well as the time-shenanigans on Sakaar, could offer the potential for this to be the base for the next storyline of The Hulk’s arc. With Kang and his endless time-traveling variants, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a Kang variant thinks it better to get The Hulk off the board so to speak, and messes with Sakaar in a way that would force him to go and help.
A Completely New And Unique Reason
Whilst we all have faith in Marvel Studios to do what’s best for the MCU, it’s not necessarily the same amount of trust about the character choices of The Hulk. Smart Hulk is widely seen as having overstayed his welcome, and this next character arc could be seen as a reason to revert to his more savage ways.
In what could be seen as disappointing to many fans, the MCU may just create a completely fresh reason as to why The Hulk is jetting off to Sakaar, deciding against drawing from any of its long comic history.
All of this is conjecture at the moment and we don’t know when we’ll be finding out the answers. With news that the current legal complications with Universal may well be coming to an end, it could give us the possibility of a feature-length solo Hulk movie that fans have been crying out for for years since the Edward Norton starring The Incredible Hulk back in 2008.