Who knows what to believe these days? Especially when it comes to Marvel.
Last week, a report hit the internet courtesy of Latino Review, a website known for it’s scoops and breaking news that, more often than not, end up being accurate. So when they reported that Marvel were drawing up plans to bring us big-screen versions of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk, fans of the series – as well as newer fans brought in by The Avengers – for excited. Given Latino Review‘s track record and reputation, this news was virtually taken as fact, and Planet Hulk become hotly-anticipated, despite not even the slightest hint of confirmation from Marvel.
But that anticipation took a hit yesterday when Ain’t It Cool came out with a story that poured heaps of “wait just a minute” on LR’s report. AICN’s Beaks wrote how he had spoken to two sources who categorically denied the Hulk rumours. A Hulk film that would require a CGI Hulk for virtually the whole running time – and therefore no Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner on-screen action – was enough for Marvel to decide against the plan. And it was hard to disagree with it. Ruffalo impressed all with his take on Banner in The Avengers, with many feeling he succeeded where Eric Bana and Ed Norton had previously failed. Marvel signing Ruffalo to a six-film deal, even before Avengers hit, highlighted their desire to see him play Banner on the big screen, and a solo Hulk film with virtually no Bruce Banner would not fit in with what they wanted.
Planet Hulk a no-go, then.
However, Latino Review shot back. Whilst reporting on casting news for another Marvel project – Guardians of the Galaxy – they commented on the Hulk denials, arguing the claims as well as justifying their original report.
Where is the rule that says when a movie adapts a comic book it has to verbatim? Mark Ruffalo’s role in a Planet Hulk movie wouldn’t be reduced. There are huge chunks of that story where Hulk can revert back to Banner…Remember, The Avengers in the 3rd act set up that Banner now has control over his transformations. That is key.
Yes, Ruffalo signed a six picture deal but you really believe we are going to see Ruffalo in only two other Avengers sequels? Does that make sense? If Marvel only wanted him for just Avengers sequels, Ruffalo would have negotiated for only three pictures. Like I said before, how many times are we going to see Hulk smash puny humans and be on the run from General Ross, ESPECIALLY now that he is part of the Avenger initiative? Audiences absolutely loved when Hulk smashed puny aliens last summer. Some food for thought.”
There are some good points there. A 6-film deal for an actor seemingly portraying a character only to be seen in ensemble films every 3-4 years seems a little off. Another thing to consider is Marvel’s attention to detail and utter thoroughness. With Thor, Iron Man and Captain America already having their own solo films, and upcoming sequels, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, do you really think Kevin Feige and the other Marvel heads wouldn’t want Hulk to have a piece of the standalone action? This would have been planned and mapped out as soon as it was decided that Hulk would be a part of the superhero group and it’s movies. Hulk has to have a solo film, and if that has to happen, it has to use possibly the most famous Hulk comic story as it’s source. And let’s face it, Hulk being banished, then warring on another planet, then coming back for a battle with The Avengers, seems like a can’t-miss story.
Another thing to think about is who else the Avengers can battle with in future sequels. With Thanos lined up to rival – but ultimately lose to – the heroes in The Avengers 2, and Loki already vanquished in the first outing, what other major villains are there to bring in (at least, villains that Marvel have the movie rights to)? So why not drop the traditional ‘good vs bad’ angle and go Hulk vs Avengers? Undoubtedly, the highlights of The Avengers were the Hulk and Thor battle, and the already-legendary sucker punch Hulk delivered later in the movie.
Of course, we wouldn’t get a full-on version of Planet and World War Hulk, due to other characters involved those stories being tied up under movie rights and permissions, but there is still enough there for Marvel to work with. And with Guardians of the Galaxy – and later Ant-Man and Doctor Strange – still to come on Marvel’s dance card, we are starting to move away from the mainstream-friendly content and getting more and more into the classic comic arcs.
Bottom line, we are a long way – and lots of reports and counter-reports – away from a solo Hulk film, whether that be Planet Hulk or something else, hitting the big screens. So much can and will happen between now and then. Realistically, we’ll know exactly where Marvel are taking us when the last scene of The Avengers 2 leaves the cinema screen in 2015.
Until then, let the giant angry green speculation continue.