It's probably one of the most requested movies by Marvel fans alongside the Black Widow/ Hawkeye movie. The Hulk movie though has been speculated for some time though, ever since Phase 2 was announced. Everyone was kept wondering when we would see the Hulk back on the big screen in a solo outing. The last time we saw him was when Edward Norton took on the character back in Phase 1 and since then he;s only been a side character. I know he has been in The Avengers movies, but really it just seems he is a spectacle rather than a character. We need a movie where we see Ruffalo explore the character himself as well as the universe the Hulk has to offer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The question has been brought up to Ruffalo numerous times and his latest answer was:
"As far as a Hulk movie, a standalone Hulk movie, Marvel doesn’t really have the rights to that yet. That’s still Universal’s property, so there’s that issue. That’s a big impediment to moving forward with that. Now I don’t think that’s insurmountable, by the way, but I don’t know where it’s going from here for me."
What's actually going on between Marvel and Universal?
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That was what Ruffalo stated, but it seems things aren't as complicated and restricted with Universal and Marvel as he said. It seems that Marvel has full cinematic rights to make a Hulk movie and Universal only has distributions rights when it comes to Banner. This was all perfectly explained in a lengthier article by Forbes.
"Marvel regained the film production rights to the Hulk in 2005, after Universal’s license of the character lapsed due to failure to enter production on a sequel to 2003′s Ang Lee film Hulk.
But despite obtaining the cinematic rights to make Hulk movies, Marvel did not obtain distribution rights. Universal held those rights, and today I can confirm the exact situation is that Universal currently retains the right of first refusal to distribute any Hulk films in the future."
It turns out Marvel does have the power to make a Hulk solo movie and even though the distribution rights are still with Universal that wouldn't matter after negotiations. I mean, look at what's happening with Spider-Man and the deal Sony and Marvel have. This leads to the question: is the Hulk too much of a gamble that Marvel is hesitant to give him another solo film? It seems, according to Forbes, that it's mostly about narrative challenges and risk and reward from a financial standpoint - suggesting that demand for a sequel potentially doesn't outweigh the costs of production.
There's also the biggest reason, and that's just why would they make a big movie that would be released by a rival studio?
This seems to be the reason Marvel has been using the Hulk as a simple side character rather than front and center. The loophole has proven to be effective in both Avengers movies as they were able to use the character without a problem. Marvel simply has to make sure the Hulk's name isn't in the title of the movie and they are perfectly fine using him in any way as a supporting character. The real question is: what movie will we be seeing the Hulk in come Phase 3? There's the highly rumored Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and the possibility of seeing him in [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409); with General Ross coming back to the MCU it makes sense. Wherever we see the Hulk pop up next do you think it's a smart move from Marvel to just use him as a supporting character?
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