Early life

Having joined the military and participated in the Vietnam War, Thaddeus 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 Elizabeth, who eventually went by the nickname Betty. His wife and Betty's mother died for not revealed reasons.

Botched Gamma Ray Experience

Thaddeus Ross was involved in an Army research and development program intended to recreate the "Super Soldier" biochemical enhancement first developed in World War II. The scientist Dr. Bruce Banner, lover of Betty, 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, not told him about the project. Banner involved in early phase research conducted a test on himself dealing with gamma radiation - instead of Vita-rays - and after an accidental explosion, became a "Hulk", that injured General's arm and leaves his daughter in a coma. 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, Senator Stern called Ross. When Ross arrived in Stern's office, he told him to forgive him as he was in a bit of a hurry as this was taking him away from the Gamma Project and he wanted to get back to it. Ross said that the United States Army could not afford to wait for Tony Stark to smarten up. He told both Stern and James Rhodes to follow him. Ross was about to show them something that was classified top secret, Stern asked where Justin Hammer was and Ross told him that Hammer was on the way. Ross told them that their new weapon would be the right way to send the right message to the enemies of freedom, the message being that they did not need Tony Stark.[3]

When Hammer arrived he presented to Rhodes and Ross the Aerodynamic Marvel, which he considered to be the next step on close-quarter combat with full protection and attack capabilities. When testing the machine it was shot down and fell into an enemy zone.[4]

Ross was informed that Iron Man was heading in to clean up. Ross was interested in seeing what Stark could do. After Stark saved the pilot, Ross ordered him to land on Cairo's Weat Air Base immediately. Stark met with Ross and asked if he had something to ask him, Ross told him that they picked up on a shoot out with the Congolese Army and Stark did not return fire, stating that when someone fires on an American, that American has to fire back; he also told him that by claiming that he would not make any more weapons, he was distancing himself from his father's legacy. Stark warned him that if he heard about another innocent being put in harm's way there would be consequences.[5]

Hunt for The Hulk Continues

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 saw from a van the operation fail, when Banner became the Hulk and fled.

After winning the trust for Blonsky, he tells how Banner has become the Hulk, and allows the officer to inject an early version of Super Soldier Serum, developed by Abraham Erskine. After that, Leonard Samson, Betty's new boyfriend, reveals to the army that Banner has comeback to Virginia. Ross and his forces, including the super soldier Blonsky and using experimental weaponry developed by Stark Industries, surround Banner inside Culver University which once again becomes the Hulk to fight the army. The operation goes horribly wrong, almost killing Blonsky and resulting in escape of Hulk with Betty. With much of Ross' surprise, Blonsky manages to recover very fast from the wounds suffered in the battle with Banner, that because of the Serum.[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 discovers Banner and Betty's whereabouts in Samuel Sterns's lab, New York City and take both into custody by a helicopter. However, Blonsky remains in the lab and orders Dr. Sterns to inject a Banner's synthesized blood sample, which reacts with the serum, transforming him into an abomination. For stopping Blonsky, Ross accepts Banner's help to fight with Blonsky.[2] After a battle in Harlem, General Ross took custody of Blonsky and ordered a soldier to call Nick Fury, while Banner disappeared.[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 the Scarlet Witch accidentally destroyed a Wakandan outreach program during a mission to recapture Brock Rumlow, 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.[11]


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.


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

  • William Hurt portrays General Ross in the films The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Endgame; and will reprise his role in the upcoming film Black Widow. Hurt also provided the character's voice for the video game adaptation 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 his role (not counting Robert Downey Jr.'s post-credit cameo appearance as Tony Stark).

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