Regardless of how fans felt about Avengers: Age of Ultron, there's no doubt that the film radically changed the team dynamic for the Marvel heroes. By the time the credits roll, the audience ultimately ends up wondering what the future holds for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is left with a ton of questions that likely won't be addressed until next year's Captain America: Civil War, at the earliest.
One of the biggest unanswered questions centers on Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), whose storyline is ultimately left wide open for a world (or a galaxy?) of possibilities. Rumors of the actor's involvement in Civil War have been swirling, especially as the production is already roping in nearly the entire MCU. Ruffalo recently said that Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., indicated that he would make an appearance in Civil War.
Now, in a recent interview with HitFix, Ruffalo has offered something of an update on that statement. Here's what the actor had to say:
"If Robert Downey, Jr. says I'm in 'Captain America,' I'm in 'Captain America' dammit. And I will wait for the day that my call sheet shows up at my doorstep or my script. At this point, I'm told that I'm in it by Robert, which I'll take as biblical, but I just haven't heard or seen from production yet."
Perhaps the previous Downey quote Ruffalo shared could be interpreted as simple teasing over persistent rumors. However, the above certainly lends more credibility to the chance that Hulk (or at least Banner) will show up in Civil War. After all, other than Hulk, the only major MCU characters not already confirmed to return are Thor and Nick Fury. The former will likely be busy with the events of Thor: Ragnarok around the same time, and the latter is likely still laying low after faking his death in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
An argument could be made that an appearance by Banner/Hulk in Civil War would undercut the poignancy of his story in Age of Ultron. Still, Marvel knows that the character is too essential a figure in the MCU (and too much of a fan-favorite, to boot) for him not to figure into the storyline of Civil War in some capacity. Besides, if Iron Man is taking on Cap (and, presumably, a number of other characters), he will need an ally like his brother in science to help even things out.
Ant-Man opens in theaters July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5, 2017; the Spider-Man reboot on July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok on November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 on May 4, 2018; Black Panther on July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel on November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 on May 3, 2019; and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.