Could Marvel Have Long-Term ‘Hulk’ Plans That Involve ‘The Avengers?’

by on February 5, 2013

in Entertainment

production still of The Hulk fr The Avengers - Hulk Smash

Over at Think McFly Think , they came across some interesting if not, potentially spoiler-like news regarding Hulk from The Avengers movie.

Don’t worry, I’ll warn you when I get to the spoiler news, if it’s even real news.

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As anyone who has been a steadfast fan of Marvel movies, regardless of the outcome or finished product, you are fully & somewhat painfully aware of various productions based on the Hulk.

'The Incredible Hulk' still

There’s 2003′s Hulk from Ang Lee and 2008′s The Incredible Hulk, from Louis Leterrier.  Both had some select great aspects while on the flip-side of that, well, we all have our opinions.  (OK, 2003 was a bad year, period!)

But neither movie did anything tremendous, for either the character or those movies. Case in point, IMDb users gave Hulk a 5.7/10 and The Incredible Hulk, a 6.9.  Despite the better fan praise for the 2008 movie, it barely netted more money at the box office.  $242M vs $254M worldwide.

My suspicion is that movie fans were either wary of reboots or of the “noise” that was coming out of the 2008 camp with Norton fighting/insisting to take over screen-writing duties and other issues.  (And maybe his edits worked.)

Should I even go into the 1978 TV series?  Nah.  But I have to say, it made Lou Ferrigno a household name.  And did so for 5 TV seasons.  The fact that the TV series lasted 5 seasons said something about what folks liked about the character.  Or at least what that story told, with the late Bill Bixby.

The comic franchise has its own life and evolution of the character.  Of which Whedon tapped in to, I’m sure, when he wrote in the Hulk moments.

The Hulk came into this world in 1962.  He’s what Stan Lee called the culmination of Jekyll and Hyde and Frankenstein.  He started out gray, turned green and other color variations.  At first, he was just a rage machine, turning big and green when getting upset or hurt.  His key element is that his strength seemed limitless, tied in to his anger.  The angrier, the stronger.  How strong?  In a cross-over event many years ago, the Hulk gave Superman a run for his money!

Aside from color, he also went through various alterations of intelligence and other “situations.”

But one popular aspect of the franchise was when a group of heroes called the Illuminati* took it upon themselves to rid Earth of the potential destructive force Hulk represented and fired him off into space.

The plan was to send him to a peaceful planet, but then things went askew and he landed on a violent, war-torn planet where Hulk was was captured and made a gladiator, but then the Hulk rose through the ranks until he ruled the planet, and thus was born the Planet Hulk story line.

Planet Hulk on [Blu-ray]

The Hulk later returns to Earth, looking for revenge against the Illuminati.  (Can’t blame him, can ya?)

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He’s had an eventful and caustic existence in the franchise of comics.  But he’s popular enough that he keeps having his own titles or can’t be ignored in the Marvel comic universe when he doesn’t have his own title.  Yet the movies I mentioned earlier created an uphill image battle.  One of which is creating a decent story folks can wrap their minds around, or could possibly envision for any future Hulk project.

Marvel’s The Avengers (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)

Then along came Joss Whedon, tagged to helm The Avengers.  And when Whedon pulled in Mark Ruffalo to replace the difficult Norton to play Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk, seems now, to have been a stroke of genius.

Mark Ruffalo cast in 'The Avengers' as Bruce Banner

Adding it all up in the movie, being put in a huge and successful story and between being “always angry,” to “puny god,” to sucker punching Thor, Hulk may have brought forward some of the most astonishing and humorous moments in The Avengers movie.

We also learned that, at least in my eyes, there are two versions or modes of the Hulk.  There’s the one that gets surprised and angry by events and loses control and demolishes whole neighborhoods.  And there’s the version of the big green guy that Bruce Banner actually controls and can call at will.

And after The Avengers, fans started wondering if they will be seeing anything else with the Hulk?  When I saw that question, I had a hard time envisioning a decent movie based on the Hulk, as the primary character.

Sure, he stole the show from the other characters in the Whedon project.  But the previous two movies have tainted me in such a way that I can’t get past them.  And Whedon set the tone for the character that, again in my mind, belies potential other directions the character might take.

Fans saw both the angry side and the controlled side of Hulk and I think everyone loved the controlled Hulk.  But how do you take the good guy Hulk and move in any direction other than being a good guy?

That’s my question.

But the gang at Marvel, though initially being mumm on the issue after The Avengers, might, just might, have something up their sleeves.

That is, if the news is accurate to any degree.

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spoilers warning

SPOILERS that could be, are starting here…

TMT is recanting a report that Marvel’s plans for their Phase 2 and Phase 3 movie world could indeed include the Hulk.

Rumors suggest that sometime in The Avengers 2, the Hulk is fired off into space, leading to the aforementioned Planet Hulk story line.

Later, he returns to Earth to seek retribution on the Illuminati and per sources, could very well be the story line for The Avengers 3.

Whether it’s The Avengers who fire him off into space or not, I don’t know.  The rumors don’t hit the details that sharply.

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END SPOILER?

Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk in The Avengers

But we have to keep something in mind… and that is the contract that Mark Ruffalo signed with Marvel when he took over the role from Edward Norton, that being a six-movie contract.  (Anyone, raise your hands if you think Edward Norton is seriously kicking himself these days for alienating a billion dollar movie franchise studio?)

This isn’t a tell-tale proof of anything.  Studios like locking up talent, just in case.  But six?  Hmm.

Now with Whedon hired to oversee all Marvel productions, could we see a new Hulk movie that develops in the direction of this suggested plot?

There are no immediate plans that the public knows of right now.  The known world of Marvel’s Phase 2 movies include

  • Iron Man 3,
  • Thor: The Dark World,
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier,
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, &
  • The Avengers 2

And along with these new movies, who knows what other characters will be introduced and kept along for the ride.  Rumors suggest the The Falcon, showing up in Capt. America 2, could be in The Avengers 2, and so forth.  But rumors are just hopeful noise, or well-placed marketing sound-bytes!

Then there’s Marvels Phase 3 movies.  Right now we know of

  • Ant-Man &
  • Doctor Strange

Can we assume then that there might be a Planet Hulk movie slated for this third phase, along with what fans expect to be more sequels like Captain America 3, Thor 3, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and of course, The Avengers 3?

With all this said, does this also mean that Thanos might be a one-shot bad guy in The Avengers 2?  Or will he constantly be pulling strings in the background?  My bet is on TA2.  Marvel has always been good with teases that build to a payout.

Maybe it’s time I break out that shrink-wrapped Planet Hulk DVD screener I received a few years back and check out that story line?

I have a hard time envisioning the Hulk we now know, as anything other than a good guy.  But as we’ve seen time and time again, the movies that come out do create a new and condensed version of characters.  We didn’t have to sit through years of drunken stupors to get a taste of “Demon in a bottle” with Tony Stark.  Nor did we have to wait years to see War Machine.

Hence, a lot of modified detail and condensed history could go a long way towards the good guy Hulk returning to beat down the Illuminati, but the Avengers stepping in to keep him from harming the rest of the world.  Hence, a good-guy stand off, much like when we saw Cap, Shellhead and Thor first meeting in Avengers.

But that’s my take on the issue, as it stands.

*In the Marvel world, the Illuminati include Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Charles Xavier, Reed Richards, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and Iron Man.  At present, it could be a very long (never?) time before we ever see Charles Xavier or Reed Richards in a Disney/Marvel movie.  And the same can be said about the Silver Surfer.   (I’ll be touching more on these absences in a future different piece)

For now, these deets are just rumors.  The source of the rumors has been leaking fairly decent intel for quite some time now, so this latest one could be true.  But it will be so long from now, that if it pans out bad, it will be quietly forgotten.  If it comes to be true, then you know some serious chest-thumping will be taking place.  Or, like Reality Steve, they might be finding themselves under the hammer of some lawsuits.  (Though not likely. This isn’t Paramount.)

And that’s that for that, with the Hulk, The Avengers and the Marvel cinematic universe.  For now.

IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN The Avengers yet, DON’T WATCH THIS… it will ruin the moment when it comes.  Trust me, I laugh so hard every time I see it…

 

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I've been writing newsletters since 1999. I've worked for some great sites over the years and have had my work focused on by major networks and radio stations. Now I've been focusing on the entertainment consumer angle on mostly the sci-fi, fantasy and action genres of TV, movies and books. Mostly.

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