While the Hulk film rights are in a bit of a bind between Universal Pictures (who can distribute standalone Hulk movies, but so far have not seemed interested in doing so) and Marvel Studios (who can use the character in their “crossover” movies), it’s been noted that Marvel’s grumpy green giant will have a story arc over the course of Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and the next Avengers after that. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige explains why these three movies shouldn’t be seen as an unofficial Hulk trilogy in spite of this.
Talking with Uproxx to promote the third Thor movie by Taika Waititi, Kevin Feige explained that while he still can’t make the call for another Hulk movie, he does think that these next three films dive into the character like never before – even if they aren’t Hulk movies:
“…I wouldn’t call [Thor: Ragnarok] and the next Avengers movies an unofficial Hulk trilogy, but I would say that there is a character arc for Hulk within those three movies that, yes, track together by design. And I think it’s a testament to what Ruffalo has done to Bruce Banner and brought to this character. And it’s his performance of the Hulk, is that there is a sense in the comics, and a lot of even going back to the ‘Lonely Man’ theme of the TV series, there was a tragic tortured quality to the plight of the Hulk – which inhabited the first two Hulk features, the TV show, many of the comics. And when he’s a player in an ensemble portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, you don’t delve into much, because there’s not the time for it.
And also, as it turns out, there are other ways to play it. And Ruffalo is a master at not going deep and dark, but taking that inner pain and kind of trying to become zen about it. We saw that in Avengers 1, where Tony Stark is screwing around and poking him with something and saying, oh, careful, and he goes, ‘I can handle pointy things.’ He’s much more zen about it. His secret is he’s always angry. And that, I think, it’s just a much more charismatic and engaging way to see it. I’ve always wanted Hulk to talk more than he has and find the right circumstances, and finally we see that here.”
Lots of fans really want another Hulk movie, but for the time being, nobody is going to complain about three movies where Hulk is a major player. Especially considering how well Thor: Ragnarok has been received thus far. If anything, this makes it all the more likely that Marvel and Universal could work something out in the future, as the character seems to be more viable to the box office than he was when his only standalone movie in the MCU was released.
The Kevin Feige-produced Thor: Ragnarok collides on November 3, 2017, with a cast that includes Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson, Mark Ruffalo as Doctor Bruce Banner (The Hulk), Tesssa Thompson as Valkyrie, Sir Anthony Hopkins as Odin Borson, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange, Karl Urban as Skurge, Jeff Goldblum as En Dwi Gast (The Grandmaster), Tom Hiddleston as Loki Laufeyson, Cate Blanchett as Hela, and Clancy Brown as Surtur.