Ever since The Avengers, there has been lots of buzz around The Incredible Hulk. Despite having two attempts at solo films- which both under-performed- it would appear that Joss Whedon's use of the character was what finally sparked the imagination of the masses. That, and Mark Ruffalo's strong portrayal of Bruce Banner. Since then, much has been made about what Marvel would like to do with the character's scene-stealing popularity. Our own El Mayimbe once exclusively reported on plans for a film based on the Planet Hulk books, and his claims were more or less verified when concept art for Thor: The Dark World was released that showed that- at one point- Marvel was toying with the idea. The art showed characters that first appeared in those books, like the Oldstrong and Kaifi.
But now, as has been said before, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is confirming that any inkling they may have had to go in that direction has been scrapped. Amongst other reasons, one of the major obstacles for making that film would be that there'd be no Ruffalo.
"I think what's cool about the Planet Hulk story is it's all Hulk. He's a gladiator, he's fighting all these creatures on another world. Yes, some of those creatures show up in [Guardians of the Galaxy], which makes people think, 'Oh, maybe it could exist.' And maybe it could exist, someday. I don't think that's the first place we would go, though, for the very reason that you stated, which is, if we were ever able to do a standalone Hulk movie, 60 percent of the fun would be seeing Mark Ruffalo leading a Marvel movie -- and that's what we would do if we ever went down that road."
To that end, both Ruffalo and Lou Ferrigno (who played the character in the classic TV series "The Incredible Hulk," and who continues to provide Hulk's voice in the Marvel movies) have hinted that a solo outing for the character is in the cards. Feige sounds like the studio is definitely open to the idea, even if they're not racing towards it.
"After the first Avengers, Iron Man had his own movie, Thor had his own movie, Captain America had his own movie, and Widow and Fury were in The Winter Soldier. So it was really about, frankly, saving somebody so that the only place you could get Hulk between Avengers movies is the next Avengers movie, so [director Joss Whedon] could continue to play with that in [The Avengers: Age of Ultron]. Where we go after that, we'll see."
What do you think? What would you like to see? Keep Hulk as a team player as part of a larger ensemble in the Avengers movies? Give him a solo arch of movies? Shoot him up into space? Or what about- and this is what I would like- a team-up movie with him and one other character? I happen to think that if Marvel was willing to open up its checkbook, a Robert Downey Jr/Mark Ruffalo buddy action film for Stark and Banner would be a ton of fun based on their chemistry in the first Avengers.