We’ve known for a couple months now that Thor: Ragnarok will see the Prince of Asgard work with his Avenger teammate, Bruce Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk. When we reunite with the Green Goliath, he’ll help Thor defeat whatever forces threaten the Nine Realms, but what’s still a secret is how he gets drawn into the third Thor installment. After all, it’s not like Hulk is a major player in the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now the latest rumor says he’ll be thrown into the mix via a Planet Hulk-like set up.
Last week, it was reported that Thor: Ragnarok’s rumored antagonist, Hela, will ally with Loki to pull off a mysterious scheme. When Thor discovers what they’re up to, not only does Hela defeat him and banish him from Asgard, but Mjolnir is destroyed in the process. Geek.com now says that the God of Thunder will end up on a "gladiatorial planet" where he’ll be forced to fight for survival (and with a shaved head, no less). Knowing he has to escape the planet and find a way to defeat Hela and Loki, he fights through every warrior thrown at him, and his final opponent is, you guessed it, Hulk. Since we last saw him in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hulk has avoided transforming back into Bruce Banner, but thanks to the Banner and Hulk personalities merging, he recognizes Thor as his ally, and that will kick off their Midnight Run-style adventure.
Although this definitely sounds like a cool set up, there are some big reasons to be skeptical. Namely, nowhere in the report does it mention how Hulk ended up on a different planet. At the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Nick Fury told Black Widow that Hulk’s Quinjet crashed near Fiji. So unless he somehow hopped onto another space ship or was instantaneously transported elsewhere (similar to the Bifrost Bridge), there’s no way he could make it off Earth. Plus, one would think that Hulk fighting aliens gladiator-style would be worth its own story like in the comics, rather than just a half hour (or so) in a Thor movie. The Geek report later says that some of these details could still change since the Thor: Ragnarok script hasn’t been finalized yet, but even so, take this news with a grain of salt.
In the year leading up to Avengers: Age of Ultron, there were rumors of the Planet Hulk storyline being adapted in Marvel’s Phase 3, either in a solo Hulk adventure or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The complications surrounding Hulk’s film rights make the former not possible, while director James Gunn debunked Hulk’s presence in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 long before he was announced for Thor: Ragnarok. Even if this rumor doesn’t pan out, we can take comfort knowing Hulk will still get to journey across space with Thor before having to team up with the other Avengers in the Avengers: Infinity War movies.
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