In what’s either going to be extremely awesome, or extremely disappointing news depending on whether or not it’s true, El Mayimbe at Latino Review has dropped a very interesting piece of scoopage.
First, a preamble. You may have noticed that the Hulk has been mysteriously absent from the development slate of Marvel Phase II. True, Guillermo Del Toro and David Eicke were developing a live-action TV series based on the Hulk, but del Toro himself has confirmed that those plans more or less ground to a halt a year ago. It’s also true that Mark Ruffalo, who played the character to some acclaim in The Avengers, is signed on for five more Marvel films under his contract, and doesn’t it seem rather unlikely that Marvel would keep Ruffalo in the back pocket until Avengers 2 in 2015?
So could Marvel be planning something big in Hulk’s future? More than another solo film, but an event that ties together all the characters introduced and not yet introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What possible, Hulk-centric story could possibly do that?
If you said Planet Hulk, then you get the prize.
In the comics, Planet Hulk is a storyline where in a group of the world’s most powerful heroes called The Illuminati – which is made up of Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Professor X, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Doctor Strange – send the Hulk into space after one too many rampages. Hulk crash lands on the planet Sakaar, where after leading a rebellion against the tyrants that rule the planet, the Hulk finally manages to find peace, even taking a mate. But when the ship that carried him to Sakaar explodes, and kills his pregnant wife and many of the planet’s inhabitants, the Hulk leads his army home to get revenge on the heroes that sent him to space in the first place in the storyline World War Hulk.
So how could this breakdown in movie form? Mayimbe reveals that Avengers 2 will feature a Hulk gone wild, and the end result will be a decision by multiple power players in the MCU deciding to cast the Hulk out into space. This would lead to a solo Planet Hulk movie to be released sometime between Avengers 2 and Avengers 3, which would then be followed by a full-on World War Hulk that would make up the storyline in Avengers 3.
Impressed yet? That would be a bold decision on the part of Marvel to pursue this plan. It would definitely require a degree of inter-connectivity rarely seen across franchises, even more than Marvel’s dipped their toe in thus far. But given Ruffalo’s popularity as Bruce Banner/the Hulk, and the characterization by Joss Whedon in The Avengers, Marvel would have to be crazy not to want to capitalize on that. And doing Planet Hulk would give a lot of meat for an actor like Ruffalo to chew on while doing something completely different than watching Bruce Banner on the run from Thunderbolt Ross for another 90 minutes.
Phase II kicks off later this year with Iron Man 3, and continues on through Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers 2. Phase III will feature Ant Man and rumored projects like Doctor Strange, Black Panther and more. The Avengers 2 is scheduled for release on May 1, 2015.
More news as it develops.