Liv Tyler Rumors Suggest the Incredible Hulk Will Become Important to the MCU
Tyler's character of Betty Ross might lead up to other featured characters from the Incredible Hulk becoming part of the MCU in the near future.
Filming for Avengers: Infinity War just began in Scotland and several known actors have already been spotted on set. Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson are preparing to film scenes later this week and Samuel L. Jackson is apparently joining them shortly.
Aside from some of the mainstays of the #MarvelCinematicUniverse being seen on set, one supporting character rumored to be on set of Avengers: Infinity War could be reprising her role from The Incredible Hulk (2008).
Liv Tyler Is Reportedly Filming Scenes For Avengers: Infinity War
According to the initial report from the Daily Record, the press release for Avengers: Infinity War lists several known actors/actresses as filming in Glasgow, Edinburgh. Included in the list, we have the extremely notable presence of Liv Tyler.
If Liv Tyler is on set of Avengers: Infinity War, then she's probably reprising her role as Betty Ross from The Incredible Hulk. If so, Tyler's character of Betty Ross might lead up to other featured characters from #TheIncredibleHulk becoming part of the MCU in the near future.
The Incredible Hulk is canon in the MCU, but the only hint towards The Incredible Hulk being directly connected to the MCU is General Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt). Ross appeared in the post-credits scene of The Incredible Hulk alongside Iron Man, followed by his return in Captain America: Civil War.
Are More Characters from the Incredible Hulk Returning to the MCU?
The return of Thaddeus Ross in Captain America: Civil War could be considered evidence towards more elements of The Incredible Hulk making their way into the MCU. Taking into account the rumored appearance of #LivTyler in #AvengersInfinityWar, it's quite probable that other events of The Incredible Hulk will be addressed, including reintroducing us to another known Marvel villain, Abomination.
Abomination, otherwise known as Emil Blonsky, was the titular villain of The Incredible Hulk. Abomination met the Hulk in a massive confrontation in the middle of Harlem, New York but was ultimately defeated by Hulk.
Abomination is currently imprisoned in an undisclosed prison somewhere in Siberia. Abomination's prison is in no way related to the Soviet super soldier facility in Captain America: Civil War — there are just a few uncovered bunkers conveniently located in the MCU's Siberia.
Regardless of where he currently resides, Abomination might return if Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) does make an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War. Her full introduction to the MCU is evidence enough to suggest more of her co-cast from The Incredible Hulk returning alongside her. Along with General Ross (William Hurt) resurfacing in Captain America: Civil War, it would only be logical for Abomination to make a comeback in a future Marvel movie as well.
Will Samuel Sterns Resurface?
There's another character from The Incredible Hulk who seemingly had a major story arc set up and could play out in Phase 4 of the #MCU. Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson) — The Leader as he's known by in Marvel comics — made his auspicious debut in The Incredible Hulk. Sterns attempted to cure Bruce Banner of the gamma poisoning that turned him into the Hulk, but the procedure proved unsuccessful. After Bruce and Betty were taken captive by General Ross, Emil Blonsky was left alone with Dr. Samuel Sterns.
In their own private agreement, Sterns agreed to pump Blonsky full of Hulk DNA to turn him into the Abomination. The procedure was successful and upon completion, Abomination rose from the table and knocked down Dr. Sterns.
Is Sterns's Character Arc as the Leader Being Prepped For The MCU?
When Sterns gets knocked to the ground, the vial of Hulk DNA which Sterns injected into Emil Blonsky starts leaking on Sterns's head. The last images of Sterns show his head changing from the contact with the Hulk DNA. Nothing else is said of Sterns (he hasn't been seen since), but we will likely see him become more like his comic book counterpart, The Leader.
In the comics, Dr. Samuel Sterns becomes a gamma poisoned villain after a similar event involving the Hulk leaves him altered. Accounting for Thaddeus Ross' return in Captain America: Civil War, and the rumored appearance of Betty Ross in Avengers: Infinity War, the next logical step would be to reintroduce Samuel Sterns a.k.a. The Leader.
When Could the Leader Feasibly Be Introduced?
As to when the Leader might have an appearance in the MCU, that matter is up for debate. The Leader might be held until Hulk gets another standalone feature, one in which The Leader will be the main antagonist. That being said, The Leader could factor into an Avengers' conflict when the Avengers return to Earth after their Infinity War adventure. If The Leader learns of Hulk's reemergence on Earth at the conclusion of the Infinity Wars he may decide to enact his dastardly plan then.
In the comics, The Leader is known for holding a strong resentment for the Hulk and attempts to replicate the Hulk's power on multiple occasions, but none prove successful. With that in mind, the MCU's version of The Leader could exact a plan similar to his comic book counterpart — a plan that'll see Hulk's powers extracted from his body and placed into another (his own).
For now, all these claims are merely speculation. We'll have to wait until Liv Tyler is actually spotted filming on the set of Avengers: Infinity War before we can make any more theories on which alum from The Incredible Hulk will show up in the mainstream plot of the MCU.
Avengers: Infinity War premieres May 4, 2018.