At the end of The Incredible Hulk, Tony Stark confronts General Ross in a bar and says to him, "Why if I told you we were putting a team together?" This is yet another reference to the existence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a reality in which the Marvel films Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) now exist, and in which many future films will exist. As I've mentioned in the "Easter Egg Hunt: Iron Man (2008)" series (Part One, Part Two, Part Three), it is my intention to seek out all of the hints scattered throughout these films that point towards further films.
What I didn't mention in my first series of posts, because it wasn't necessary at the time, is that I will only comment on Easter Eggs that point forward, Easter Eggs that point, potentially, toward future Marvel projects. In Iron Man, there were only future projects, and this is because Iron Man is the first entry into the Marvel Cinematic universe. But already, months after Iron Man, we have our second entry: The Incredible Hulk, which points both forward (to projects such as The Avengers and potential The Incredible Hulk sequels) and backward (to Iron Man). I have chosen not to mention those Easter Eggs that point backward, so if you don't read anything about the fact that Stark Industries manufactured most of the Hulkbuster technology in this film, don't be surprised. There are plenty of references to Iron Man in this film, but if you want an in-depth coverage of them all, you're going to have to go somewhere else or do the work yourself.
The following is a discussion of characters and future films that have been hinted at in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk.
Though we don't get to see Agent Coulson and company in action in The Incredible Hulk, SHIELD is still a fairly important behind-the-scenes presence in the film. As a matter of fact, the movie does a good job getting us adjusted to how well SHIELD has become ingrained in all aspects of human life.
In the opening credits, we see a document with the SHIELD logo at the top and the words "STRATEGIC HOMELAND INTERVENTION ENFORCEMENT LOGISTICS DIVISION" underneath. It is from Nick Fury, Shield Command and details SHIELD's involvement in the Bruce Banner manhunt, describing Banner as "THREAT LEVEL RED." SHIELD enters into the plot of The Incredible Hulk long before the action of the film takes place.
It may seem normal that the same agency who courageously faced the Ironmonger armor suit would be involved in the hunt for the incredibly dangerous Bruce Banner, also known as the rage-driven Hulk. What might be surprising to you is that SHIELD is apparently a few degrees worse when it comes to Constitutional rights than even the Patriot Act. After Banner sends the e-mail to Mr. Blue, it is revealed that SHIELD has traced the e-mail and all prior correspondences to Samuel Sterns of the Department of Cell Biology at Grayburn College. Talk about an invasion of privacy.
It was strange to me that even though I had only seen one movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I was already used to the idea of lead-up to The Avengers by the time I saw The Incredible Hulk. Within three years of this film, I'd be saying, "We should stay to see if there's a preview for The Avengers" after every film I'd see, including DC's Green Lantern. After The Incredible Hulk concludes, we see General Ross getting drunk at a bar when a well-dressed man walks in the door. The person is revealed as Tony Stark. Regarding Ross's "unusual problem," Stark says, "What if I told you we were putting a team together?" Ross responds, "Who's 'we'?"
The fact that the question, "Who's 'we'?" is left unanswered means that we, the people of the audience, are meant to answer it for ourselves. The team that Tony Stark is talking about is called The Avengers, and we know that it is to be assembled by SHIELD agents and people like Tony Stark with special abilities/technologies.
Part Two can be viewed here.
Part Three can be viewed here.