Even as the Marvel Cinematic Universe approaches its tenth year, it seems that Marvel boss Kevin Feige cannot escape the forgotten Hulk villain, The Leader.
Fortune wasn’t on the side of Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk, when it was released in 2008 – in short, it couldn’t live up to the hype that Iron Man had enjoyed only a few months earlier. However, one of the biggest gripes was the introduction of Dr. Samuel Sterns as the Leader – a character, much like Jane Foster, that has found himself thrown onto the MCU scrapheap.
Speaking with Crave Online, Feige revealed that he’s very aware that the Leader seems like a wasted opportunity for hardcore Marvel fans:
“It is an embarrassment of riches of places we could go or characters we could reprise or bring back now that we’re… I think Ragnarok is our seventeenth MCU film. And you would be surprised how many… it’s come up. It’s come up. Just finding the right place. And as I said, if you can’t do it right, don’t do it or do it later, and the notion of “Hey, I’m here too! Next!” is not interesting to us. Abomination is in a prison somewhere too.’”
Avengers prelude, Fury’s Big Week, revealed that Sterns’ run-in with Banner’s blood, left a half-mutated Leader in the custody of S.H.I.E.L.D. thanks to Natasha Romanoff. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show famously saw a mass prison breakout, so there’s every likelihood that mutant Sterns is roaming around in full Leader persona. Which is too tantalising an option to leave out there.
Like Feige said, if you can’t do it right now, wait for a better time to make it work, and with Hulk more popular than ever, thanks to Ragnarok, now would be the perfect time to expand the screen time of Hulkverse characters like General Ross, the Leader, and Betty Ross.