While the public reaction to She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has been divided, many fans of Tatiana Maslany’s major MCU debut are still enjoying it. However, fans are still wondering what the greater picture might be for her character in the MCU.
The Leader, the major antagonist of Captain America: New World Order, was revealed at the D23 Expo 2022, hinting at the MCU’s next Incredible Hulk narrative. The Leader (aka Samuel Sterns) usually appears as one of the Hulk’s principal foes, but when the character was touted as a villain in a Captain America film, many D23 attendees were perplexed. However, given the MCU’s path with The Leader, this Captain America: New World Order news most likely reveals the next Hulk narrative.
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How will the leader tie in She-Hulk and Captain America 4?
In The Incredible Hulk, Samuel Sterns, played by Tim Blake Nelson, became infected with Bruce Banner’s gamma-radiated blood through a cut on his forehead, resulting in the appearance of The Leader. Sterns’ brain begins to mutate as he lies on the floor, potentially establishing him as a villain in a sequel.
The Incredible Hulk 2 never materialized, and despite being one of the MCU’s early villain teases, The Leader has yet to appear in another MCU film. With the announcement that The Leader will be the villain of Captain America 4, it appears plausible that another Hulk-centered story may be a key focus for the MCU in the future.
The title Captain America: New World Order suggests that The Leader will attempt a classic plot. The Leader is obsessed with creating a master race of Hulks in the comics, and he requires Hulk blood to accomplish it. Jennifer Walters’ She-Hulk was created as a result of becoming infected with Banner’s blood, proving that the MCU can produce additional Hulks in this manner.
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Many speculate that The Leader is attempting to obtain She-Hulk’s blood in order to create more Hulks, with the Wrecking Crew paid to obtain Jennifer Walters’ blood by a secret boss in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. When combined with the title Captain America 4, the presence of The Leader as a villain clearly suggests that Captain America and The Winter Soldier may be facing a battle against an army of newly generated gamma monsters, potentially with the assistance of Hulk.
An army of Hulks is forthcoming in the MCU
SCOOP:#SheHulkAttorneyAtLaw will end with #TheLeader getting Jen’s blood(will be one of his underlings). This will be the basis of other #Hulk’s in the MCU who will be made through Jen’s blood. #CaptainAmericaNewWorldOrder will introduce these other new Hulks made by The leader. pic.twitter.com/6jpCefdwPX
— World War Hulk Updates (@WorldWarHulkNew) September 24, 2022
Bruce Banner and the Hulk have mostly become supporting characters in the MCU, thus a cameo appearance by him in Captain America: New World Order would not be shocking. Hulk also appeared in Thor: Ragnarok and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, demonstrating Mark Ruffalo‘s willingness to take a supporting role in many MCU projects. Furthermore, Hulk should face off against The Leader in his feature film debut. While Sam Wilson is powerful, he cannot defeat an army of The Leader’s Hulks without the assistance of Bruce Banner and Jennifer Walters.
While nothing has been confirmed, Bruce Banner appears in Captain America: New World Order. D23 hinted that The Leader’s intentions may involve gamma radiation and the development of an army of Hulks, and Banner should debut at the start of a major Hulk-centric MCU arc. The Leader will be the main antagonist in Captain America: New World Order and Captain America enlisting the Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk to stop him makes perfect sense.
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Also, New World Order may lead to the creation of agents of S.M.A.S.H by introducing further gamma characters like A-bomb, Red Hulk, Skaar, etc.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is streaming on Disney+ and releases a new episode every Thursday. Captain America: New World Order will release on May 3, 2024.
Source: World War Hulk Updates