The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been an unmitigated hit for over a decade now, with several actors growing to worldwide recognition because of the series of films. So far, a few characters have been recast after their debut, but it’s remained rare. But now, the MCU is getting another recasting, with veteran actor Harrison Ford taking over in the role of Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross for the late William Hurt.
Despite how prestigious this casting might sound, it’s likely a bad idea. Ford’s appearance of him isn’t that similar to Hurt’s, and his own feelings of him concerning franchise films make his inclusion of him in the MCU somewhat hard to parse. Here’s why the recent recasting will be incredibly difficult to take seriously, especially if it involves Thunderbolt Ross “seeing red” anytime soon.
Harrison Ford Is Not a Fan of Franchise Roles
Despite how iconic the role may be, Ford is known to be critical of Han Solo, the character that made him famous. Compared to the more world-weary Indiana Jones, Ford found Han to be a less developed and nuanced character, even referring to him in an interview as “dumb as a stump.” While grateful to George Lucas and the opportunity to be in Star WarsFord ultimately wished to distance himself from the role and not be so defined by it later in his career.
Thus, his taking on the role of what’s sure to continue to be a prominent part of the MCU is shocking. After all, the MCU is arguably even bigger – at the moment, at least – than Star Wars, making it just as much of a “machine.” At the same time, Thunderbolt Ross is certainly a more nuanced character than mere smuggler Han. However, one potential direction for the character may ruin that nuance and make Ford even harder to believe in the role.
Harrison Ford Will Be Laughable as the Red Hulk
One element from the comics that many fans have wanted to see on the big screen is the introduction of the Red Hulk. The character’s debut in the comics was highly mysterious, though he was revealed to be Thunderbolt Ross. Ross had gained the new form by channeling gamma radiation into his body di lui, hoping to finally be able to take out the Hulk once and for all. Of course, this being comic books, the thought of what was essentially an old man becoming a much younger-looking Hulk made for a cool visual. Unfortunately, that likely won’t translate well into live-action.
Obviously, if Ford’s Thunderbolt Ross becomes the Red Hulk, extensive CGI will be utilized. Even with this technology, however, making an older actor look convincible, even in Hulk form, will be a challenge. The designs and CGI quality for Professor Hulk, She-Hulk and Hulk’s newly introduced son Skaar have already been criticized, namely for the uncanny valley nature. An actor as recognizable and as old as Ford will possibly look incredibly comedic as a giant red monster. That is backed up by Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk increasingly just looking like a green, muscular version of himself.
Most importantly, there’s actually very little reason to even bring Thunderbolt Ross back in any capacity, be it as himself or Red Hulk. Hulk himself is basically just a dabbing suburban dad at this point, with his cousin di lei in control of her transformations and even his son di lei seemingly a far cry from the rage-filled warrior of the comics. Thus, a need to get on the Hulk’s level to stop his supposed threat of lui is pretty much unnecessary, as none of them are any more antagonistic than Iron Man and his technology of lui were. Ross could possibly show up to give his own name to the new Thunderbolts group, but such an idea would work far better if it was in memory of him after his death than him. Thus, Ford taking on the role isn’t just a potentially disastrous CGI affair – it’s also a casting that feels years too late.