(Warning - the following may contain mild SPOILERS for the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok and the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general. Proceed with caution. As Bruce Banner's alter ego might argue: "Don't say Hulk didn't say Hulk didn't warn puny human.")
Now, we may be set to see a couple of hundred-or-so Marvel movies hit the big screen over the next few years, but that doesn't mean that our blood-boiling thirst for one particular - seemingly as far away as ever - movie has actually been sated. After all, the movies set to arrive between now and 2020 all sound distinctly awesome - but they're not Planet Hulk.
Which, seeing as that storyline is, to a whole lot of comic book fans, the holy grail of comic book movie adaptations...is something of a downer. What's more, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige has, in the past, seemed to indicate that it's never going to happen. Indeed, with Hulk's solo rights seemingly still being held by Universal, it seemed that our chances of seeing the Green Goliath headline his own movie lay somewhere between slim and none.
Hope, though - for a Hulk solo movie, if not Planet Hulk - arrived earlier this year, with an apparent clarification of the hero's rights situation, courtesy of Forbes. A Hulk solo movie, it seemed, was still very much Marvel Studios' to make - but its distribution rights would have to be offered to Universal. Were Universal to decline the option to distribute the movie (seemingly unlikely as that would be) then Disney would be able to pick up the rights instead. In other words? It sure seems as though the folks over at Marvel Studios have the rights to make (if not distribute) a Hulk solo movie.
Or...do they? Y'see...
According to Mark 'Hulk' Ruffalo Marvel Might Not Have the Rights to Make a Hulk Movie After All
Speaking recently to USAToday, Ruffalo was asked whether (in the light of his upcoming appearance in Thor: Ragnarok) there was any movement on that long-awaited Hulk movie. His response was...less than reassuring:
"Actually, it feels even further away...It's not Marvel's property, it's Universal's property. I don't know. It seems really problematic."
In other words, rumors of Marvel's ownership of the Hulk rights may well have been greatly exaggerated.
Or, y'know, Ruffalo might just see the lack of distribution rights - and thus full control over the movie's release - as being just as much of a deal-breaker to Marvel Studios as not having any control at all.
Either way, though, it's lucky that...
Ruffalo Also Had Some Good News About the Hulk
Indeed, his interview went on to suggest that...
We Could Still See Hulk End Up in Space
As Ruffalo put it, when asked about the possibility of Bruce Banner and the Hulk appearing alongside one another in a movie:
"When you get off of the planet Earth, you can start playing with that stuff a little bit. I'm angling for it. I don't know if it'll happen now, but at some point, I'd like to see it happen. When I was doing Age of Ultron — doing the Scarlet Witch acid trip scenes — it really took me a long time to figure out what the Hulk would be afraid of. And then I realized, it was Banner. That relationship is what we're all so into, but we've never seen them in the same scene together — you're either one or the other, or somewhere in between. But I always imagined that that could be pretty exciting if we could pull it off. In the Marvel Universe, there is some precedence for it. I remember as a kid, seeing a few of the comics that'd have this multidimensional thing, so there's a lot of ways to do it ... if we could find the right context to use it."
Before adding that...
Thor: Ragnarok Is Going to Center on Thor and Loki (With a Solid Dash of Hulk)
Plus, from the sounds of Ruffalo's description of the Taika Waititi-directed movie...
"I don't know what the story is yet, but it'll be (Loki) and Thor, and then I'll be in there here and there. But I don't know any of the particulars quite yet. I've talked to Taika a little bit and I like where it's headed. ... Chris (Hemsworth) and I have a really good time together, we goof off and play around when Tom Hiddleston is around. So it'll be a lot of funny back-and-forth, especially with Taika, he does that really well. It'll have that kind of antagonistic Odd Couple-thing going on."
...it's going to be AWESOME.
Which...actually does lessen the pain of us likely not seeing a Hulk movie anytime soon. Nicely played, Mark. Nicely played...
What do you reckon, though?