How badly do you want to see Planet Hulk on the big screen? Well, you might have to continue to rely on that animated version Marvel put out to fulfil that desire as Mark Ruffalo has shed some light on why Hulk has been stuck in the position of a supporting player since Edward Norton made his attempt at giving the big green guy a solo career.
Mark Ruffalo Shares Hulk's Secret
It turns out that, according to Mark Ruffalo, Universal still retains the rights on Hulk's stand-alone movies and with Ruffalo under contract with Marvel, things seem to be at a standstill for the time being. It will be interesting to see how things turn out for Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron. With fans getting a better look recently at the beginnings of the epic smackdown session between Hulk and Iron-Man's Hulkbuster armor it certainly appears that Bruce Banner and Hulk could be ending the movie with the character in a bad place.
The Argument Against Planet Hulk
I've always felt that after the Avengers: Age of Ultron we could see two outcomes for the Hulk - one, which for some reason many fans of the character still want to see, is Planet Hulk. After a particularly savage rampage (which we could see in Avengers 2) SHIELD, or some variation thereof, decides to launch Hulk to a safe place but he ends up on a crazy war-hungry world where he has to battle for freedom gladiator style.
Now I think there are a ton of problems with this idea - the most obvious is that this wouldn't be such a hugely expensive CGI heavy affair that we would hardly even need Mark Ruffalo to show up to work. There would be no progression of the Bruce Banner character, who has to stay suppressed for the entire duration, or really anything related to the bigger Marvel MCU story. This Hulk that we've seen has been established as not really being much of a talker so how would he suddenly be chatting it up with aliens and becoming their heroic leader?
The Argument for a Post-World War Hulk
What strikes me as a much better and more coherent way to move forward is to pick up Marvel's history with Hulk after Planet Hulk and around the time of World War Hulk. One of the reasons Hulk was so angry and took to having a big ol' SMASH happy time when he got back from Planet Hulk was that Hulk's wife was killed in an event that he blamed on the people who launched him into space, including pals like Iron-Man.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is definitely setting up a romance between Bruce Banner and Black Widow and there's a lot of potential here to see this relationship be something that can both calm Hulk down and set him off into smashing everything in sight. We'll have to see what Scarlet Witch does exactly that sets him off so bad as to require the Hulkbuster but there's a good chance it involves love in some form or another.
Bring on the Red Hulk
After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron we could see Hulk in the exact place he was after World War Hulk, locked up by SHIELD with Bruce Banner trying to cope with what he's done and whether or not he can ever get a good control over Hulk. The best kind of solo Hulk movie would see a new Red Hulk threat emerge that only Hulk can take care of - causing Bruce Banner to be released by SHIELD and sent into combat.
Using the Red Hulk storyline would also allow for a deepening of Hulk's backstory (which we haven't touched on since that Edward Norton movie) and could easily offer up plenty of opportunities for Marvel to expand their current universe in a way that could end up mixing with other properties, characters and move the larger MCU story forward - two important things for Hulk and Bruce Banner that Planet Hulk wouldn't really be able to accomplish.
The Civil War Between Marvel & Universal
So what are the chances that we'll ever get to see another solo Hulk movie? I doubt that whatever the standoff between Marvel and Universal is regarding it will last for too much longer. MTV tried its best to get to the bottom of the issue but, like many mysteries, it seemed to only deepen the more you dig into it.
From the Spider-Man deal with Sony, we've seen that if Marvel wants something badly enough, they can find a way to make it happen. And there will eventually come a time when they realize that Mark Ruffalo isn't getting any younger and they have him under a 6 movie contract that needs to see more action than the occasional Avengers movie.
Right now, it looks like Hulk is caught in a similar limbo that the character of Quicksilver is with Marvel and Fox. Universal may have an option on a movie they thought would act as a sequel to The Incredible Hulk that Marvel needs to buy out from them or else come to a co-production agreement of some sort. Or it could be the problem of Universal having some lingering rights to the supporting characters in Hulk's universe - who knows. Let's just hope Marvel clears this up soon.
What do you think? What kind of solo Hulk movie do you want to see after [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035), something that stands alone like Planet Hulk or something Earth-bound like the Red Hulk storyline? Or something completely different? Give us your favorite Hulk plot for the future of the MCU in the comments section below!