With all the films that Marvel is planning for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe none of them give The Hulk the chance to stand in the spotlight in his own film. Despite many fans saying they want one, Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk) and Kevin Feige (Marvel Studio executive) have shot that hope down and said that there wont be one made anytime soon.
Don’t start smashing stuff yet though Hulk fans because there is still hope for an awesome Hulk story. In a recent interview with Cinemablend Ruffalo talked about plans for The Hulk to get his own story arc told over the course of three movies starting with Thor: Ragnarok.
Ruffalo said "So basically, Kevin [Feige] pulled me aside before this, and said, 'If you were gonna do a... if we were going to do a standalone Hulk movie, what would it be?' And I said, 'I think it should be this, this, this, and this and this, and ends up like this.' And he's like, 'I love that. Why don't we do that in the next three movies, starting with Thor 3 and then we go into Avengers 3 and 4.' And I was like, 'That sounds great!' And so we are at the beginning of this arc."
Though not very detailed for obvious reasons it’s exciting to know that we will be able to learn more about the Jade Giant and what makes him smash. Even though we don’t know what the overall arc will be we can make an educated comic book geek guess.
The first clue comes from Thor: Ragnarok itself. We know the film will be about the Asgardian apocalypse and use material from the comic of the same name. However like the MCU does, it will likely also be using material from another comic story called Planet Hulk.
In a nutshell Planet Hulk has The Illumanti (a secret group of Marvel heroes) send Banner off planet because he’s too dangerous to keep on Earth. Though they mean to send him to a planet with no intelligent life, things go wrong and Hulk ends up on the planet Sakaar. While there, he becomes champion of the gladiatorial games, overthrows the evil emperor and is hailed as the mythical hero of the planet who would save them all known as “The Sakaarson.”
It’s very doubtful we will see this story in Thor but Sakaar will be where Hulk and Thor are reunited in the gladiatorial games. Hulk is even wearing his gladiator armor from the comics so that's at least one easter eggs for the fans. If we get even a piece of the story line with Hulk and Thor shutting down the games for good it'll be enough.
What about Avengers 3 and Avengers 4 though? Well, if we follow the same comic book storyline of Planet Hulk, things go downhill for Hulk, quickly. After restoring peace to the planet, becoming King, and even getting married; the rocket that Hulk came to the planet in explodes. The explosion destroys everything and almost everyone on it Sakaar, including to the best of Hulk’s knowledge, his wife and unborn child. This mass destruction sends Hulk into a rage that will only be calmed by war. Enter the major Marvel Comics event World War Hulk.
Hulk returns to Earth at the head of The Warbound, a group of warriors that survived Sakaar’s destruction, they have one purpose and that is to punish the heroes that banished Hulk in the first place. Given the changes that the MCU has already made it’s not hard to imagine a storyline where Thanos uses the infinity gems to alter Banner’s state of mind sending him on a warpath against the other heroes. We’ve already seen Hulk loose control in Avengers: Age of Ultron because of Scarlett Witch’s powers, which she got because of experiments from the scepter, which held the Mind stone by the way. So, with all of the stones under his control, it's feasible that Thanos might have similar plans in mind.
Personally, as a huge fan of both Planet Hulk and World War Hulk, I would love to see Thanos put Hulk into a alternative state of mind where he thinks the events of Planet Hulk actually happened right down to losing his wife and child. It would be a great nod to the comics and add depth to the character that so often gets lost because most people think of Hulk as a thoughtless smashing machine.
That depth is the heart of what makes Planet Hulk and World War Hulk must-reads. They dive into the relationship that Banner and the Hulk actually have. If you’ve read the comics than you are familiar with what I’m talking about. If you haven’t read them I can’t recommend them enough and you should try and read at least Planet Hulk before you see Thor: Ragnarok later this year.
Give them a read and see if you come to same conclusions that I have on where a Hulk storyline in the MCU could lead. Will we go even further down the comic book story line and meet Skaar, Hulk’s son in phase four? I doubt it. But wouldn't it be fun?
Thor: Ragnarok his theaters on November 3, 2017. Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018. Followed by Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019.