At the risk of making Hulk angry, it's safe to say that the Green Goliath's first two movies weren't exactly a (Hulk) smash, dividing fans and critics alike.
Things improved though after Mark Ruffalo was cast in the role of Bruce Banner, who went on to steal scenes from his fellow teammates in both Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, now that Marvel don't own the rights to developing a solo Hulk film, it looks like fan-favourite story lines such as World War Hulk may never make it to the big screen.
Or will they?
Hulk's Role In Thor: Ragnarok
Although Bruce Banner was absent during a little skirmish known as Captain America: Civil War, Ruffalo's Hulk is still set to appear in a number of Marvel's upcoming movies, starting with Thor: Ragnarok.
Touted as a cosmic buddy adventure, Thor's third film will see the fellow Avengers team up against the likes of Cate Blanchett's Hela and Karl Urban's Skurge in an epic showdown befitting these two powerhouses.
"...we’ve worked a really interesting arc into Thor 3, Avengers 3 and 4 for Banner that I think will – when it’s all added up – will feel like a Hulk movie, a standalone movie.”
A New Hulk 'Movie', Eh?
The cosmic nature of these films imply that this major story arc could draw inspiration from Planet Hulk, the story where Banner was thrown into space and conquered an entire planet, before returning home and seeking vengeance against Earth's heroes in the subsequent World War Hulk story line.
Some of the key players in the Planet Hulk comics don't belong to Marvel Studios, so loose changes will be required, but it's not's a stretch to imagine Hulk and perhaps even Thor arriving on the arena-obsessed planet of Sakaar, fighting for their lives thanks to the interference of Hela or Loki.
Ruffalo promises that we will see a "Hulk-ier Hulk" in Thor: Ragnarok, acting as confirmation for many fans who expect to see a stronger or possibly insane Hulk emerge from the alien bouts on Sakaar. Whether this occurs on or offscreen is questionable, as Ragnarok is still technically a Thor movie, but either way, the ramifications of this would undoubtedly have a huge impact once Hulk returns to Earth in Avengers: Infinity War.
Hulk's Return To Earth
Of course, there are no equivalent to the Illuminati in the MCU, so the studio would need to think of a different way to introduce an angry and vengeful Banner if they decide to go down the World War Hulk route. The most likely scenario would involve some kind of manipulation by Loki, Hela or even Thanos, engineering a fight between Hulk and the rest of the Avengers that distracts them long enough so he can complete his Infinity Gauntlet for use at the end of Phase 4.
We've already seen Iron Man go toe-to-toe with Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but an enraged Banner hardened by his time on the planet Sakaar would prove to be a far greater threat than any the Avengers have faced before, resulting in the largest Marvel set-piece yet.
Call it incredible insight or wishful thinking, but at the very least, World War Hulk's basic storyline could certainly provide inspiration for Banner's major arc over his next three films.
In the meantime, check out the trailer for Marvel's animated adaptation of the Planet Hulk saga, which may clear up things for those of you who became lost a few paragraphs back.