Early Life

Having joined the miltary and participated in the Vietnam War, Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross returned to America at the age of 27.[1] Over the years he rose to the rank of a three-star general and also had had a daughter named Betty. His wife and Betty's mother died for not revealed reasons.[citation needed]

Botched Gamma Ray Experience

General Ross was later involved in an army research and development program intended to recreate the "Super Soldier" biochemical enhancement first developed in World War II. Scientist and Betty's boyfriend Dr. Bruce Banner was involved in a scientific treatment that could make a soldier immune to radiation, but Ross, with the ambition to evaluate the effects of the Super Soldier Serum in humans, withheld information about the project from him. Involved in early phase research, Dr. Banner conducted a test on himself dealing with gamma radiation - instead of Vita-rays. However, the trial went horribly wrong, as Banner accidentally turned himself into a hulking creature that injured Ross and put Betty in a coma. Ross' anger caused Banner to flee and become a fugitive. Ross took charge of the army's effort to recover the fugitive in coordination with the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division.[2]

Meeting Tony Stark

Five years after the "Hulk incident", when Tony Stark got poisoned from his Arc Reactor palladium core, Ross met with Senator Stern and Lt. Col. James Rhodes to discuss the problem the new Iron Man technology posed. Of the mind that the country couldn't depend on Stark's irresponsible use of the Iron Man, Ross presented to them a new top secret weapon that was being developed by Hammer Industries - the Aerodynamic Marvel.[3]

Justin Hammer arrived to demonstrate the attack capabilities of the weapon. However, the machine was shot down during testing and it fell into enemy territory.[4] As Iron Man, Stark was able to rescue the pilot of the weapon from the Congolese Army. Ross later met with Stark at Cairo's Weat Air Base. Ross noted that Stark didn't return fire even when fired upon, then contrasted him with his father. Stark warned the general of the consequences he'd face should he put any more innocents in danger.[5]

Hunting the Hulk

Later, Ross discovered Banner's location, after his contaminated blood was found in a soft drink bottled in Brazil. Ross send a special team, led by British Royal Marines-trained officer Emil Blonsky, to Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro in order to capture Banner. General oversaw from a van the operation fail, as Banner became the raging monster, tore through the tactical unit, then fled.

Blonsky, now compelled by the mystery of the monster, pressed Ross for answers. While initially secretive about the creature, Ross eventually revealed how Banner was able to turn into the monster. He authorized the officer to inject an early version of Abraham Erskine's Super Soldier Serum, with the hope that Blonsky would be enough to take Banner down.

Betty's new boyfriend Leonard Samson soon revealed to the army that Banner had returned to Virginia. Ross and his forces, including the enhanced Blonsky as well as experimental weaponry developed by Stark Industries, surrounded Banner inside Culver University. Banner unsurprisingly transformed into the monster. However, Blonsky's hubris led him to lose the fight and end up apparently fatally beaten. The monster also escaped with Betty, much to Ross' dismay. Ross' defeat was heavily covered by the media, who later dubbed Banner's monster as the "Hulk."

Reeling from the defeat, Ross' resolve returned when he discovered Blonsky had fully recovered from his encounter with the Hulk.[2] In need of new information about the Hulk's movements, Ross obtained the World Security Council's permission to extract the data from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s computers. A few hours later, Ross was confronted by Nick Fury himself. Ross told Fury that he was not going to leave the safety of the world in his hands.[6]

Ross discovered Banner and Betty's whereabouts in Samuel Sterns's lab, New York City and take both into custody by a helicopter. However, Blonsky remained in the lab and ordered Dr. Sterns to inject him with Banner's synthesized blood sample, causing a volatile reaction with the serum in his blood, which transformed him into an abomination that matched the size and strength of the Hulk. After a rampage through Harlem, Ross begrudgingly freed Banner to return to fight the Abomination. Ross attempted to help the Hulk in the battle, but it was the Hulk who heroically defeated Blonsky.[2]

After the battle, General Ross took custody of Blonsky and ordered a soldier to call Nick Fury, while Banner went off the grid once more.[1]

Second Reunion with Tony Stark

Shortly after the Battle of Harlem, a drunk Ross meets Tony Stark in a bar, who wants to talk to him about the "Avengers Initiative".[7] Nick Fury's superiors wanted Blonsky for the Avengers Initiative due to his war record, intending to blame the Hulk for the rampage, but S.H.I.E.L.D., knowing that Blonsky was too unstable, sent Stark to 'negotiate' knowing that he would provoke Ross into retaining custody of Blonsky.[8]

Sokovia Accords

Nearly a decade later, Ross, now retired from the military after a heart attack while playing golf, met behind closed doors with President Matthew Ellis. Though the intent of the meeting wasn't publicized, news outlets speculated it was regarding creating government oversight for the Avengers.[9] A few days later, Ross was appointed Secretary of State.[10]

After Avenger Wanda Maximoff accidentally destroyed a Wakandan outreach program during a mission to recapture Crossbones, Ross used this opportunity to propose that the U.N. implement the Sokovia Accords, a legislation that would create a government authority to directly oversee the Avengers' activities. This action immediately created a division in the Avengers, with Steve Rogers objecting to oversight due to the risk of external corruption while Stark felt that the heroes had to accept limitations or be no better than the villains.

In coordination with the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre, Ross implemented the restrictions of the Sokovia Accords on the potential threats posed by enhanced individuals. Ross headed the apprehension of the Winter Soldier, after he allegedly bombed a United Nations conference, and later the manhunt of Captain America and other rogue Avengers who didn't comply with the accords.

While successful in detaining most of the rogue Avengers to the Raft, Ross was eluded by the Winter Soldier and Captain America, who ultimately were able to free the Avengers members that were arrested.[11]

Later, Ross met with Councilwoman Hawley to request the United Nations Security Council's aid in tracking down and apprehending the rogue Avenger Natasha Romanoff. Hawley was unconvinced Ross need devote the time, for Romanoff saved her life a couple years prior and she fought against Captain America at Leipzig/Halle Airport. Ross argued against her by reviewing Romanoff's history in multiple catastrophic international incidents, which led Hawley to finally agree to allocate resources to Ross' pursuit.[12]

Ross encountered Captain America once more two years later, during Thanos' coordinated invasion of Earth. Ross was insulted that he, Romanoff, Sam Wilson would have the nerve to return to the Avengers base and ordered Rhodes to arrest the fugitives. However, Rhodes declined and ended Ross' holographic transmission.[13]

The Snap

Ross was one of the fallen when Thanos' snapped half the universe's population out of existence. He, along with the rest of the fallen, were brought back to life five years later through the efforts of the surviving Avengers. Ross attended the funeral of Tony Stark, who gave his life to finally defeat Thanos.[14]

Abilities

General Ross is a highly experienced soldier and Vietnam War veteran.

Strength level

Ross possesses the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engages in moderate regular exercise.


Transportation

Ross uses all kinds of military vehicles at his disposal, mainly helicopters.

  • William Hurt portrays Thunderbolt Ross in the films The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. Hurt will reprise the role in the upcoming film Black Widow. Hurt also provided the character's voice for the video game The Incredible Hulk. Footage of Hurt from the The Incredible Hulk was re-used for the Marvel One-Shot "The Consultant."
  • Whereas his comic book counterpart is a lieutenant general in the United States Air Force, Thaddeus Ross of Marvel Cinematic Universe is a lieutenant general in the United States Army. When seen in the film wearing his class A green service uniform, Ross's decorations can be visually recognized as including the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge. However, Ross incorrectly wears the Infantry branch insignia and wears a rack of inauthentic ribbons, none of which are actual US military decorations.
  • The Red Hulk, General Ross's gamma-irradiated form across many continuities, appears in the Incredible Hulk video game as an alternate costume for the Hulk.
  • With his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, General Ross became the first character introduced in The Incredible Hulk other than the Hulk, to make another appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Hurt the first and so far only actor from the film to reprise a role (not counting Robert Downey Jr.'s post-credit cameo appearance as Tony Stark) from the film.

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References

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