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How Harrison Ford’s Thunderbolts Role Could Bring Back Betty Ross

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The MCU’s Thunderbolts is bringing back Thunderbolt Ross, which sets up the perfect opportunity to bring back his daughter Betty for future stories.

While The Hulk has been a fixture of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Phase One, many elements of his solo film The Incredible Hulk have been more or less ignored since then. Prominent among them was Elizabeth “Betty” Ross, introduced in the film as Bruce Banner’s primary love interest and closest ally.

With her father Thunderbolt Ross set to make his MCU return in Thunderbolts and the Leader poised to become a major threat in Captain America: New World Order, the MCU seems to finally be bringing that film back into the timeline. As a result, now is the perfect time for Betty Ross to make her own return to the franchise — and potentially set the stage for some of her biggest comics transformations.

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How Betty Ross Debuted in (and Disappeared From) the MCU


Betty Ross has been a long-time fixture of Hulk comics and made her MCU debut alongside Bruce in The Incredible Hulk. Played by Liv Tyler, the character is introduced as Bruce Banner’s ex-girlfriend who is trying to live her life while still somewhat pining for Bruce. Introduced in a relationship with Leonard Samson, she ends up doing her best to help Bruce when their paths cross — even going on the run with him while reigniting some of the sparks of their romance. Betty is present during Bruce’s attempt to cure himself of The Hulk and witnesses the battle between him and The Abomination. The film ends with the pair once again separated, as Hulk ventures off alone to try to gain full control of his more destructive side.

Since then, however, Betty has only made one formal appearance in the MCU — and it was technically non-canon to the Sacred Timeline at the core of the franchise. Instead, Betty Ross has only reappeared on an episode of What If…?, where she’s present for The Hulk’s death as part of Hank Pym’s revenge against Nick Fury in that timeline. However, her father — Thunderbolt Ross — has returned in multiple projects, relaying the Sokovia Accords to the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War and attending Tony Stark’s funeral in Avengers: Endgame. Thunderbolt Ross is currently set to play a major role in the upcoming Thunderbolts, now played by Harrison Ford in light of William Hurt’s passing. This could also quietly mean it’s the perfect time for Betty to return to the big screen as well.

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Why Now Is the Perfect Time To Bring Betty Back to the MCU

red she hulk

Betty Ross was established in the MCU as understanding of Bruce’s plight and did everything she could to help him — putting her at odds with her father, who sought to bring down The Hulk by any means necessary. That inclination towards helping the kind of people Ross usually believes to be threats could carry over to Thunderbolts, making her an ideal contrast to her father’s more hard-lined approach to superheroes and super-people. This could open the door for Betty to become a reoccurring figure in the MCU after years of being shunted to the sidelines. Her experience with Samuel Sterns in The Incredible Hulk could make her an ideal character to turn to in the upcoming Captain America: New World Order, which is set to see Sterns finally return to the MCU as the film universe’s version of the Leader.

While Black Widow may have supplanted her as The Hulk’s primary MCU love interest, her connection to The Hulk could also easily be reexamined in light of recent events in his life. Notably, this includes the revelation from She-Hulk: Attorney at Law that The Hulk fathered a son while off-planet — potentially complicating any romances he’s had in the past. Betty could prove to be a fun character to introduce in a prospective second season of She-Hulk, especially in contrast to Jen Walters and The Hulk’s son. She could even become a bigger wildcard by being exposed to gamma radiation herself, setting the stage for the MCU Betty to achieve the same transformations her comics counterpart has made as Red She-Hulk or Harpy. As the MCU finally reincorporates elements of The Incredible Hulk into its universe, it shouldn’t ignore Betty’s contribution to that film — or her potential as a major character going forward.

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