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Mark Ruffalo wants to stick around the MCU long enough to portray 'the 67-year-old Hulk'
After a decade of playing Bruce Banner, Mark Ruffalo's definitely in it for the long haul.
A decade ago this past spring, Marvel Studios assembled the Avengers on the big-screen for the first time, and debuted Mark Ruffalo as the new Marvel Cinematic Universe incarnation of Bruce Banner. In the 10 years since, half of that original six-person team has moved on from the MCU in one way or another, but Ruffalo has stuck around. Alongside Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, Jon Favreau's Happy Hogan, Chris Hemsworth's Thor, and Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye, he's now one of the longest-serving stars in a rapidly shifting megafranchise, and he doesn't see himself stopping anytime soon.
In a new interview with Variety to promote his guest-starring role in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Ruffalo addressed his MCU longevity, which has progressed beyond a co-starring role in Avengers: Endgame to a cameo at the end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and now his first major Disney+ appearance. According to the Oscar-nominated star, it's not really a matter of when he's going to leave Banner behind; it's a matter of how many different versions of Banner he can ultimately portray.
"I’m always surprised that I’m still here," Ruffalo said. "I mean, me and Ed Norton [the first MCU Hulk] joke that the Hulk is like our generation’s Hamlet — we’re all going to get a shot at it. I keep waiting for the next version of it. I mean, I’ll probably do it as long as they’ll have me, if people are interested, and I can bring something that’s interesting to me to it, and interesting to the fans. But I have no idea. I mean, you know, when you look at the comics, there’s some pretty grizzled, old versions of him. I’m like, OK, the 67-year-old Hulk, that would be interesting — if all of us are still here making movies and there’s a world that allows for us to do that anymore."
As for what's up in the near future for Banner, Ruffalo's not sure, or if he is, he's not telling. The first two episodes of She-Hulk set up a plot point in which a ship from Sakaar -- the planet where Banner spent a couple of years as a gladiator in the lead-up to Thor: Ragnarok -- stopped by Earth and eventually got him to come along on some kind of cosmic voyage. Now, Banner's officially off-planet again, but we don't yet know why, and we also don't know how that story might factor into the future of the MCU. Whatever it's pointing towards, though, Ruffalo's on board.
"There has been some conversations about what happened in the two years where Hulk abandoned Banner and the Avengers [on Sakaar], and the emergence of Smart Hulk [between Infinity War and Endgame], which hasn’t ever fully been answered," Ruffalo said. "I think maybe we’ve given four sentences to that time period since then. It’s really an interesting, exciting part of the Hulk story and Banner story. I do think that the trip to Sakaar is a good place to start and what that means to the idea of what the fans have been asking for — this idea of Planet Hulk or World War Hulk or just the journey that Banner and Hulk have to make to come to peace with each other. That’s really interesting to me, and I do feel like there is some interest in exploring that down the line."
New episodes of She-Hulk drop, perhaps with future Banner cameos, Wednesdays on Disney+.