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According to recent insider reports, Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner will return in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Thor: Love and Thunder. We Got This Covered (WGTC) reported — relying on the same sources who told the outlet the Guardians would cameo in the fourth installment — that the current draft for the script includes the Jade Giant. 

Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo MCU
Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo attend the ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Sydney Screening Event | Scott Ehler for Disney

Following Taika Waitit’s take on Thor: Ragnarok, which turned the stoic and stern God into a sny and sarcastic butt-kicker, it goes without saying that the next movie will be just as crazy — even more “bombastic” to use the director’s own words. Yet, aside from the unpredictable narrative and light-hearted nature of the third Thor installment, the movie also worked to build a foundation for a relationship between Hulk and Thor.

If Hulk appears again, one would presume that this relationship would continue to grow, but in what way? What can we expect of the dynamic between the OG Avengers in Thor’s fourth outing (which is likely to be the God of Thunder’s last appearance in the MCU)? 

How the MCU could choose to develop Thor and Hulk’s relationship 

In the MCU, Captain America and Tony Stark see the world from polar perspectives, yet come to respect and trust one another. They grow through their differences and can rely on one another in times of crisis. 

Then you have Black Widow and Hawkeye; these two have got a best friend / brother-sister dynamic, as Clint’s kids even call Natasha “Aunt Nat.” And while Bruce and Nat had a never-fulfilled romance, Thor and Hulk largely failed to build a two-person dynamic equivalent to the aforementioned relationships. Thus, Thor: Ragnarok and Love and Thunder could be enough to fortify such a bond. 

Thor and Hulk have had to physically fight each other, they’ve picked on one another, and they’ve reveled in each other’s assistance. Based on what has already occurred, the two characters seem unlikely to align with the Stark/Rogers dynamic. Not to mention, there’s not enough time to string such a secondary arc within only one movie; it would feel forced and rushed — and would represent a reach for dramatization outside Waititi’s norm. 

Most likely, Hulk and Thor will continue to grow closer, like brothers, in a fashion similar to Nat and Clint. Yet, their relationship may have a bit more testosterone at the center — with both vying to prove superhero superiority in MCU comedic fashion. Who is stronger? Who is a better hero? Who always saves the day? Now that Hulk is Professor Hulk, he has a leg to stand on, as the brains and brawns will now come in unison. 

Will Thor die saving Hulk in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder?’

Considering Thor: Love and Thunder will feature Natalie Portman’s Mighty Thor, the actress will presumably take on the God of Thunder’s responsibilities moving forward. Chris Hemsworth has been in the MCU for quite some time, and it’s likely that this film will be his denouement. Yet, following Banner’s recent transformation, he needs to make a few more appearances as Professor Hulk first, and he will likely appear alongside his cousin Jennifer Walters in She-Hulk.

Thor could easily wind up sacrificing himself for Hulk, yet, the scene would likely be ridiculous as opposed to heartwrenching. If anyone can turn death and disaster into comedy, Waititi is the man. And, a Thor sacrifice would be an honorable farewell, and a great way to cement the bond that these two Avengers have come to develop.