Once again, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans are trying to bring an old favorite back to the MCU — only this time, the character is actually still alive. Problem was, she was in a movie few people liked.
Instead of pining for dead characters like Iron Man and Captain America, they’re thinking Betty Ross could come back. She’s the daughter of recurring character General “Thunderbolt” Ross, but she’s only ever appeared once, in the form of Liv Tyler. Might she be persuaded to come back?
Who has played Betty Ross?
Betty Ross was first seen on the big screen via Jennifer Connelly, who played her in the 2003 Hulk movie with Eric Bana. Betty Ross is Bruce Banner’s girlfriend who sometimes had conflicted feelings about Bruce, even before his anger issues became a monstrous problem.
Complicating matters is the fact that her father is General Thunderbolt Ross, who becomes a nemesis to the Hulk. He was played by Sam Elliott in the 2003 movie.
When the MCU came to play five years later, Betty Ross was played by Liv Tyler, while General Ross was played by William Hurt. Although many fans regarded The Incredible Hulk as more fun than its somber, non-MCU predecessor, that movie is still seen as one of the MCU’s weaker entries, if not the weakest.
All that said, few people placed the blame on the well-liked Tyler. Although sticky rights issues with Universal preclude another solo Hulk movie right now, it wouldn’t be out of the question for Betty Ross to appear, particularly considering Marvel has a She-Hulk TV show in the pipeline. So what’s stopping them from bringing Betty back?
If Natalie Portman could come back, why not Liv Tyler?
Fans discussed the issue in a wide-ranging thread about the good and the bad of The Incredible Hulk. One fan said, “Given that Marvel are bringing back characters I never thought we’d see again such as Red Skull, Jane Foster and Darcy, I don’t think any future return is off the table.”
The fan is referring to the fact that Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, came back even after Portman and Marvel had parted ways. Portman had reportedly been upset that Patty Jenkins did not direct the second Thor movie, The Dark World, another movie regarded as one of Marvel’s weaker entries.
However, Portman surprised everyone last year, first by showing up at the Avengers: Endgame premiere, and then by announcing her return in Love and Thunder, where she would play a female version of Thor.
If Liv Tyler had difficulties with Marvel, it has not been reported. Marvel. Moreover, “Thunderbolt” Ross has returned for a few movies, and if William Hurt can be persuaded, then perhaps Tyler could too. Portman was persuaded by a strong director in Taika Waititi, so if Marvel continues its trend of hiring strong directors, perhaps Tyler might take another piece of Marvel.
‘The Incredible Hulk’ casts a long shadow
Another fan on Reddit mentioned that General Ross hasn’t yet played a major role outside of The Incredible Hulk, and Marvel already pushed Betty Ross aside by giving Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk an unlikely romantic foil.
“Well firstly Ross didn’t come back for like 8 years. Also Bruce Banner’s screen bio on the Marvel website mentions TIH for like 5 sentences … Them trying to force a romance between Banner and Black Widow just shows how much they cared about Bruce and Betty Ross.”
Eventually, the Hulk/Natasha relationship explored in Age of Ultron went away along with its creator, Joss Whedon. Still, there is that She-Hulk show coming up, and Betty Ross could serve as kind of a connective tissue between the 2008 movie and eventual Disney+ series.
While fans probably shouldn’t place any bets on a Liv Tyler return, they probably shouldn’t bet against it either.
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