Who Is The Purple Hulk-Like Freak?

What If…? has introduced plenty of new versions of familiar characters, from Captain Carter to Star-Lord T’Challa.

But for Happy Hogan, What If…? brought to the screen one identity of his that has not been seen for many decades – The Freak.

Who Is The Purple Hulk-Like Freak?

Animated Happy Hogan as The Freak in What If...?

The Freak debuted as a seemingly Purple Hulk in the MCU in What If…? Season 2 Episode 3, “What If… Happy Hogan Saved Christmas?” However, this version of Happy Hogan has actually been around in Marvel Comics since 1966.

In the comics, Happy was incredibly sick, and as a last-ditch effort, he was given an experimental procedure created by Tony Stark. While it saved his life, it turned the man into a rage monster with unbelievable levels of strength and durability.

In What If…?, Happy is accidentally injected with Hulk blood that Justin Hammer and two goons attempted to steal.

After being injected, he gradually transformed until he took full Purple Hulk shape. He fought Hammer (who eventually donned the Hulkbuster armor) with the help of Darcy Lewis and Maria Hill in a plot that closely resembled the story of 1988’s Die Hard.

Animated Avengers, Darcy Lewis, and The Freak in What If…?
Marvel Studios
Then, the Avengers came to help. At first, they thought Happy as this Purple Hulk figure was the villain before realizing Hammer was operating the suit and was their true foe.

Unlike in the comics, What If…? The Freak kept Happy’s mind and control, whereas The Freak only had vague hints of some of how Happy had felt in his original form.

Happy was not the only person to take on the name The Freak in the comics, as Eddie March also used the mantle. His version had gray skin and no hair, and most recently appeared in 1973.

In fact, according to an appendix entry last updated in 2003, that was the last time anyone appeared as The Freak in Marvel Comics, meaning What If…? broke a 50-year streak in Season 2, Episode 3.

Could The Freak Be Adapted for Live Action?

A few What If…? characters have gotten (or will be getting) either the live-action treatment or other animated appearances.

Most notably, Captain Carter appeared in live action, played by Hayley Atwell, in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Further, Marvel Zombies will hit Disney+ eventually, featuring a story inspired by the comics of the same name and the fifth episode of What If…?’s first season.

With the world of Iron Man being brought back into the fold of the MCU in projects like Ironheart and Armor Wars, it is always possible that fans will see more of Happy Hogan — perhaps even including a transformation into this comics deep-cut.

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