After stealing the show in ‘The Avengers,’ many True Believers out there wanted to see a sequel to ‘The Incredible Hulk’ starring Mark Ruffalo. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of that happening in Phase Three and fans are just so confused as to why. Then, while promoting ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, the actor revealed that there is a rights issue with Universal that was preventing the sequel from finally happening. But now thanks to some new information, it seems like Ruffalo got some details mixed up.
According to an extensive piece about the Hulk’s future on the big screen published by Forbes, Marvel Studios does in fact have the full rights to the character after Universal Pictures’ license lapsed in 2005 when they failed to produce a sequel to Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’ from 2003. However, the studio retains the right of first refusal in regards to the distribution of any projects involving the Jade Giant. What that means is that there is nothing stopping Marvel from making another Hulk movie, but Universal would have to distribute it.
Considering that Marvel and Disney recently entered into a deal with Sony Pictures that allows them to use Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s hard to believe that the House of Ideas couldn’t come to a similar agreement with Universal over the Hulk. Sure, it’s probably not their first choice to have their film released under a different studio’s banner or to share profits, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. So what’s the hold up exactly?
The report states that there are three big reasons that another solo Hulk film has yet to be seen. First, based on the first two films’ performances at the box office, the company may not be fully convinced that investing money into another film starring Bruce Banner would be beneficial. Then, there’s concern over presenting a story that focused on the Hulk being the Hulk instead of Banner for most of the time since that runs the risk of alienating fans since this deviates from the way he’s been used in the ‘Avengers’ films, which has been a widely popular portrayal of the character. Finally, the amount of money required to have a CGI Hulk present for an entire movie may not be in the studio’s budget. While ‘Planet Hulk’ or ‘World War Hulk’ sound like great stories to adapt for the MCU, it wouldn’t be cheap to keep the other guy onscreen for that long.
At the end of the day, it sounds like Marvel Studios just isn’t ready for a Hulk movie from a narrative standpoint. Kevin Feige and company clearly have a specific story arc that they’re playing out over the course of their films and the Hulk (or Black Widow or the Runaways or a spinoff TV series starring Mockingbird) doesn’t fit into their plot just yet. We’ll just have to be patient and wait and see what they have in store for us over the next few years.
What do you think about the Hulk’s current role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Are you disappointed that Bruce Banner hasn’t had another solo film since Mark Ruffalo was cast in the role? Or are you patiently waiting to see what unfolds for Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, and the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in Phase Three? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section.