MCU’s Hulk Movies in Order: Including All Appearances

The character of Hulk first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1962 and immediately became really popular amongst the fans. Bruce Banner and his ability to turn into a powerful green monster while angry is something everyone fears. His character got introduced to Marvel Cinematic Universe with the 2008 film, The Incredible Hulk and immediately showed his power. Of course, after an independent movie and a change of actors, Hulk became a huge part of the MCU. Still, Universal holding rights to Hulk’s character made some things complicated for Marvel and its executives.

In this article, we will introduce you to MCU’s Hulk movies in order and include all appearances that happened over the years. We will mention why Hulk never got his own movie after 2008, why there was a change of actors, and explain each movie and appearance of Bruce Banner in the MCU. If you are interested in this topic, stay with us until the end.

How many Hulk movies are out there?

Despite being a huge part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hulk has only one independent movie, The Incredible Hulk, released in 2008. Edward Norton was the original cast of the notable Marvel superhero, but that changed after the movie was released, and the actor decided that he didn’t want to be marked as “a guy who played Hulk.” Kevin Feige soon cast Mark Ruffalo as the new Bruce Banner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the hopes of the new movie got smaller as the years went by.

However, the lack of an independent Hulk project didn’t stop Hulk from appearing in MCU, and today, Hulk is in eight Marvel movies, including his original feature.

Hulk movies in order (at a glance)

  1. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  2. The Avengers (2012)
  3. Iron Man 3 (2013)
  4. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  5. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  6. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  7. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  8. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

As we already mentioned, Hulk has only one independent movie in Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the reason stems from the fact that Universal Studios still have movie rights to Hulk’s character. Another Hulk movie not considered part of the MCU happened in 2003, released and developed by Universal Studios. They decided on a Hulk movie reboot in 2008, with Edward Norton as the actor playing Bruce Banner, while Marvel Studios released the first Iron Man movie simultaneously. Kevin Feige finally realized his dream of creating Marvel characters on the silver screen and crossovers that will reflect the ones from the comics.

However, Universal Studios still held the rights of first refusal to distribute future Hulk films. Hence why Hulk mostly has appearances in other projects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and not his own.

RELATED: How Many Hulks Are There? MCU & Comics

Are Hulk movies/appearances connected?

Hulk movies or appearances are connected. Despite changing the actor and appointing Mark Ruffalo as the new Bruce Banner, Feige decided he would leave The Incredible Hulk movie as the origin story movie for Hulk’s character and only continue his story in MCU.

Because Universal Studios prevented the development of future Hulk movies, Marvel executives and Mark Ruffalo explained that each Hulk’s appearance in MCU marks his progression and character’s journey. All these appearances make one standalone Hulk movie when connected or added up, so yes, Hulk movies are connected.

Do you need to watch Hulk movies in a specific order?

One must watch Hulk movies and appearances chronologically to understand Hulk and his role in Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each appearance marks Hulk’s progression through the story and the build-up until the ultimate and epic fight of Marvel superheroes against their foes.

Hulk movies in order (chronologically)

1. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

MCU's Hulk Movies in Order: Including All Appearances

The Incredible Hulk is a movie released in 2008. The movie’s director was Louis Leterrier, while Zak Penn was the main writer. The Incredible Hulk cast of the movie included Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, and Ty Burrell. Movie creators that included Kevin Feige as one of the producers wanted to develop the character of Hulk from Marvel Comics and replicate the charm of The Incredible Hulk TV series from 1978.

The story follows Bruce Banner, a scientist who becomes the Hulk and needs to escape the military scheme run by Thaddeus Ross, a U.S. Army general. Ross wants to use Hulk for a military scheme that includes reviving the Super-Soldier program. Of course, Banner isn’t thrilled with that and decides to go on a run and simultaneously try to find a cure for his “Hulk condition.”

RELATED: 15 Strongest Hulk Versions Ranked

The Incredible Hulk was commercially the least successful MCU movie, earning only around 200 million dollars, while critics liked the upgrade from the 2003’s Hulk but lacked depth in the story. Edward Norton started the Hulk’s journey in MCU but won’t continue it as Mark Ruffalo would replace him.

This is also the first and last Incredible Hulk independent movie in Marvel Cinematic Universe; everything we list next will be the character’s appearances.

2. The Avengers (2012)

MCU's Hulk Movies in Order: Including All Appearances

The Avengers is the first crossover movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it was an instant success. Joss Whedon directed it, while Zak Penn once again wrote the script for the movie. The formidable cast included Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, and other huge film stars.

The Avengers follows the story of Nick Fury, the director of the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. who recruits a group of Earth’s superheroes to stop Thor’s brother Loki from destroying the planet. The Avengers was an instant success both critically and commercially, and to this day, one of the best MCU movies ever made. Bruce Banner’s role in the movie was critical since he was the one who absolutely battered Loki in the infamous scene “I have an army. – We have a Hulk.”

Banner’s intelligence and scientific prowess proved to be very useful in planning the defense against aliens, and the Avengers kickstarted the character of Hulk, which will become instrumental in the peak of the Infinity Saga.

3. Iron Man 3 (2013)

After the Avengers crossover, we have the third Iron Man movie starring Robert Downey Jr. The film was directed and written by Shane Black, with Drew Pearce helping with the screenplay. Besides Downey Jr., other cast members included Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, and more.

Iron Man 3 follows the story of Tony Stark and his struggles in the aftermath of the events that transpired in 2012 in New York City. Bruce Banner doesn’t appear in the movie, but the post-credit scene shows the scientist listening (or trying) to Stark sharing his story and experience with the Extremis Formula, which was the movie’s main plot point.

In the funny post-credit scene, Banner falls asleep during Stark’s reminiscing and tells him he’s “not that kind of doctor.” At first, it doesn’t seem important, but the scene shows how Banner and Stark got close after the Battle of New York.

RELATED: How Long Would It Take to Watch All of the MCU Movies?

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron is another crossover on this list, and it came in 2015. This movie was directed and written by Joss Whedon, and the cast included Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, and more. This epic crossover follows Avengers against a threat that they created – Tony Stark and Bruce Banner created artificial intelligence, which becomes sentient and decides to take over the world. Banner and his Hulk have a massive role in this movie – from going “full Hulk” in Johannesburg to establishing a romantic relationship with Natasha Romanoff (which was questionable) and, ultimately, leaving the Earth after defeating Ultron.

Bruce Banner is slowly but surely becoming one of the most important characters in the MCU, and Thanos’s threat helps that fact a lot in Infinity Saga. Hulk is absent for a considerable time in MCU until the next movie.

5. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok comes next in Hulk’s list of appearances, and in the movie, his character is extremely entertaining. The movie was directed by Taika Waititi and written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher L. Yost. The cast included Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, and others.

The movie follows Thor, who must escape the planet Sakaar and save his home Asgard from Hela, and Ragnarok, which is threatening as well. Bruce Banner is a supporting character in the movie, where fans finally find out what happened to Hulk after the events in Sokovia. With Thor, Loki, and Valkyrie, Hulk helps the surviving Asgardians flee the world just before Ragnarok.

6. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

MCU's Hulk Movies in Order: Including All Appearances

Avengers: Infinity War is the next movie, and it was glorious when it came out. Infinity War was directed by Russo Brothers and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The movie again features great actors like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and more.

As we know, the Infinity War movie follows the Avengers and their attempt to prevent Thanos from acquiring all six Infinity Stones that he will use to bring balance to the Universe. Probably the best movie ever created in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where Banner is struggling to turn into Hulk again after the events of Thor: Ragnarok. Moreover, Banner’s role in stopping Thanos gets even more important, especially in the next movie.

7. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame is the last movie of the Infinity Saga. Like the previous one, Endgame is also directed by the Russo Brothers and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Surviving and broken Avengers deal with the aftermath of the Snap that erased half of the universe’s population.

RELATED: Is the Hulk a Hero or a Villain? (& When Was He a Villain)

One of the surviving members is Bruce Banner, who used the five-year gap to undergo his gamma experimentation to balance his two sides, which resulted in his Professor Hulk form. With other surviving team members, Hulk helps them complete the Time Heist, which results in acquiring Infinity Stones of the past, and he is the one that undoes the Snap. One of the most important parts of the Infinity Saga, after the deaths and departs of Natasha Romanoff, Tony Stark, and Steve Rogers, Hulk, Hawkeye and Thor become the oldest Avengers members.

8. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

MCU's Hulk Movies in Order: Including All Appearances

Finally, we have Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, directed and written by Destin Daniel Cretton, Dave Callaham, and Andrew Lanham. The cast includes Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, and more.

The movie follows the story of Shang-Chi, who confronts his past. His father, Wenwu, the leader of the Ten Rings organization, brings his son and daughter home to China to search for the mythical village. Banner is not that much in the movie, but his appearance in the post-credit scene, where Wong dispatches both Banner and Carol Danvers, who help Shang-Chi discover what really happened in the movie’s events. This is the last movie appearance of Banner, with him being in Disney+ TV shows.

Where to watch Hulk movies?

Fans can watch all Hulk movies and appearances on Disney+ streaming platforms.

Will there be more Hulk movies?

Universal Studios still have the rights for Hulk movie distribution, so we won’t see any independent Hulk movies in the future. However, it seems that Marvel and Mark Ruffalo “bought-in” the idea of Hulk having his own standalone film through other Marvel Cinematic Universe projects, and that’s completely fine. But, if we look into the season finale of the Disney+ Marvel TV show, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, where Jen hints at a future Hulk project in the hilarious meta scene, there is a probability of the movie actually happening.

Universal Studios have allegedly “penned” that they have distribution rights for fifteen years after the release of the Incredible Hulk movie. The movie came out in 2008, and the next year marks the last year of the contract. All in all, this is all speculation, and we are not hundred percent sure that will actually happen, but as they say: “If there is smoke, there is a fire.”

Besides Thor, Hulk is one of the original Avengers of the MCU, and it seems that Ruffalo still has the determination to play the character, which automatically tells us that Hulk is part of the future Marvel projects, at least in Phase Five.

  • Dora is an avid sports fan who started taking interest in TV and movies while attending University of Osijek. Characters, storylines and cinematography is something she started analysing very intensely, which made her respect the art of TV and movies more.