As soon as Tony Stark and Bruce Banner bonded over science in The Avengers, the connection between the two geniuses - that each has been bestowed a "terrible privilege," as Stark called it - made it clear to fans that this particular pairing has vast potential in future installments of the Marvel movie universe.
Unfortunately, it looks like fans will have a while to wait to see Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo trade more one-liners onscreen. Marvel has already confirmed, much to some fans' dismay, that Hulk will not appear in next year's Iron Man 3, and with a packed slate that now officially includes Edgar Wright's Ant-Man, the studio will not release a sequel to The Incredible Hulk until 2016 at the earliest.
However, while The Avengers 2 is likely the next chance for a live-action Stark/Banner reunion, fans can see the two characters team up even sooner in the Marvel Animation Studios release Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United. Now we have our first glimpse of the trailer for the film, which promises plenty of action.
Heroes United - which centers on its titular heroes teaming up against the evil Zzzax - features character designs and personalities clearly modeled after those from the live-action films. This is a wise move for Marvel, given that Phase One was most young fans' first exposure to these characters. There's no telling whether or not the film will feature any reference to the events of The Avengers, but it's far more likely that this particular release is aimed to whet fans' appetites for Marvel's Avengers Assemble, the new animated series which will replace The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes next year.
For a certain audience, Heroes United will serve as a welcome distraction until the 2015 release of the Avengers sequel, but for others, it may serve as a poor CG-animated replacement for the potential greatness that writer/director Joss Whedon's film will surely deliver to theaters.
Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 23rd, 2013.