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There has been a lot of chatter online regarding the Hulk, and how the mighty member of Marvel’s Avengers needs another standalone movie, this time with Mark Ruffalo shouldering the load of Bruce Banner and his angry alter ego. Given the amount of times Marvel tried to get Hulk off the ground, though, you can understand why they are a little gun shy. Still, a sequel allegedly was discussed after Ang Lee’s attempt at The Hulk in 2003, and now we have an idea of what that movie would have been about.
Screenwriter James Schamus is credited with the story for Ang Lee’s Hulk, and reportedly was set to pen the sequel. In a conversation with BAFTA officials (shared via Film Divider), the Oscar-nominated scripter revealed that he had "a really cool idea" for the sequel, which never materialized. He said:
It was on like a Native American reservation, and it was all about radioactivity, and it was really political and like, that would have been awesome."
That’s right. The Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Eat Drink Man Woman, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Lust, Caution speaks like a Valley Girl.
Lust, Caution, also helmed by Ang Lee, was James Schamus’ next credited screenplay, so it’s possibly that which he moved on to from Hulk 2. But Ang Lee’s approach to the hero wasn’t necessarily what Marvel had in mind when cracking the code of bringing the green giant to the big screen. Lee’s movie has its defenders, for sure. I, for one, loved his use of comic-book panels in his visual communications. Eric Bana’s Bruce was a little to wrapped up in his "Daddy Issues," though, and the action – when it happened – wasn’t memorable. I can hardly remember Nick Nolte’s scenery-chewing turn as the villain who was supposed to evolve into the Absorbing Man. Boy, was that mishandled.
To Ang Lee and James Schamus’ credit, bringing the Hulk to the big screen has confounded multiple filmmakers, and it wasn’t until Joss Whedon figured out how to ease him into a team that we finally got the Hulk we’ve wanted in a movie. But it says something that while Thor, Captain America and Iron Man have enjoyed sequels, Hulk has been relegated to the Rumors section, content to be part of the Avengers whenever they assemble.
It’s fun, though, to imagine what Ang Lee’s Hulk 2 might have been about – and how different the comic-book movie landscape might be now had he been given the greenlight to pull it off.