– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Oh, Hulk. What’re we gonna do with you? You had one solo outing that most people scoffed at. You had another that didn’t manage to ignite a particularly passionate response. But then you stole The Avengers right out from under the likes of Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. Suddenly, there was intrigue about the idea of another attempt at a solo adventure for the character. But that was in 2012. Now here we are, three years later, and we’re still no closer to getting that next chapter in Bruce Banner’s internal saga. We got another strong performance from Mark Ruffalo as Banner/Hulk in this year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, sure, but the prospects for a standalone Hulk film still seem dim at best.

In a chat with USA Today, Ruffalo emphasizes this fact. Not one to try and give fans any modicum of false hope, the actor had this to say about a solo film for his big, green rage monster.

“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.”

Ruffalo, of course, is referencing the main logistical hurdle involved with Marvel trying to tell a Hulk story: Universal Pictures still owns the cinematic rights to the character. While they made an agreement that would allow him to appear in team-up films like The Avengers, and his upcoming appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, the deal prohibits Marvel from creating a film that is just a Hulk movie.

Ruffalo wishes that weren’t so, because he thinks there’s plenty of fertile ground for the character. The actor claims to brainstorm ideas constantly, 

“I’d love to do it, it’d be really fun. There’s a lot still to do with the character. I always try to think about different places we could go with him.”

One of the ideas he’s been talking about is this idea of Hulk confronting…Banner. 

“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.”

When Ruffalo mentions getting off planet Earth, he’s referencing the characters upcoming appearance in Thor: Ragnarok. The character is sitting out Captain America: Civil War, but it’s recently been revealed that he’ll be included in Thor’s next cosmic adventure. This has fans excited, and Ruffalo talks a little about what he’s looking forward to- while mentioning what kind of a dynamic the characters of Banner and Thor will have together in the film.

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 [director Taika Waititi] 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.”

The actor, of course, is referencing the classic 1965 Neil Simon play “The Odd Couple.” In the play, Felix is the straight-laced, proper, controlled, neat freak and Oscar is his wild, messy, impulsive, and untamed roommate. The play was adapted into a film, and also gave way to multiple TV adaptations. The relationship between the leads has become a classic trope over the years, and it sounds like that’s the direction Marvel wants to head in for Banner and Thor.

The Odd CoupleIn Space!

What do you think? Discuss.


Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.