The New MCU Hulk Could Have Had a Different Color, Adding Variety to Hulk Representations

The latest installment of Marvel’s “What If…?” Season 2 has unveiled a captivating addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) – a purple Hulk. This animated variation was intended to be the fourth color iteration for the Hulk in the MCU, had earlier plans come to fruition. Despite having undergone portrayals by both Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo, the Hulk has long been synonymous with the color green in the MCU. However, the recent introduction of a purple Hulk in “What If…?” adds a new layer to the character’s visual representation.

In the MCU, the primary color for the Hulk, mirroring the depiction in Marvel Comics, has been green. Edward Norton initiated Marvel Studios’ rendition of the hero in 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” and Mark Ruffalo continued the legacy from 2012’s “The Avengers” onward. Notably, the Hulk has consistently been identified as the Green Goliath in the MCU. However, the arrival of the purple Hulk in the animated series “What If…?” marks a noteworthy departure from this established norm.

This animated variant, introduced through a storyline involving Happy Hogan coming into contact with the Hulk’s blood, transforms into a version of the relatively obscure Marvel Comics character known as the Freak. While the purple Hulk’s inclusion offers a fresh perspective on the character, it also beckons the question of what might have been, considering past live-action Marvel Hulk plans that explored the possibility of other colors.

The MCU had initially envisioned a broader spectrum of Hulk colors beyond green. In particular, there were plans for both gray and red versions of the Hulk. These plans, however, were abandoned, making the animated series’ purple Hulk the fourth hypothetical color for the Hulk in the MCU. The idea of a color-shift for the Hulk was most prominently considered in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” where the Hulk was supposed to transition from green to gray as he assumed the “Berserker Hulk” form. This concept was eventually discarded, but it offered a glimpse into the potential diversity of Hulk representations.

Director Louis Leterrier, known for “The Incredible Hulk,” revealed scrapped sequel plans that involved exploring other Hulk colors. He mentioned the consideration of Grey Hulk and Red Hulk, expressing enthusiasm about the creative possibilities. Leterrier stated, “There was like Grey Hulk, Red Hulks – there was a lot of good stuff that we were planning.”

While the MCU didn’t materialize these original plans for multiple Hulk colors, there are indications that a diverse Hulk roster might still be on the horizon. Harrison Ford is set to become the new face of the MCU’s Thunderbolt Ross, who transforms into Red Hulk in the comics. A set photo from “Captain America: Brave New World” has teased the possibility of Ross evolving into Red Hulk, aligning with Marvel’s narrative trajectory.

Furthermore, Mark Ruffalo has hinted at potential developments for the Hulk character, suggesting the return of the ‘Berserker Hulk’ or ‘World War Hulk’ in the future. If realized, this could introduce the concept of Gray Hulk to the MCU, fulfilling earlier plans that were previously left unrealized.

In essence, while the animated purple Hulk in “What If…?” serves as a unique exploration of the character’s possibilities, it also prompts fans to reflect on the rich tapestry of Hulk variations that might have been in the live-action MCU. As the MCU continues to evolve, it remains to be seen how extensively the Hulk’s palette will be expanded, and whether fans can anticipate the realization of earlier concepts for a more colorful array of Hulk characters on the big screen.

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