While Marvel has delighted fans with the return of characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America in Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a question that has been repeatedly brought up by fans is, "Where’s Hulk?" The green monster became a fan favorite after Joss Whedon’s The Avengers in 2012, and yet the film studio decided that he would be the only one of the four core team members without a solo movie sequel. Why? It turns out it was decided that he could be kept temporarily as a character unique to Avengers films.
It was director Joss Whedon who let this interesting tidbit slip while we had the chance to talk to him this summer while visiting the set of The Avengers: Age of Ultron with a small group of other film journalists. The writer/director was discussing the use of Hulk in the movie and the fact that he didn’t have his own Phase 2 solo film, and he remembered a conversation he had with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. Whedon quoted the executive, saying that he was told, "We think right now it’s good to have somebody who we could only have in The Avengers."
Interestingly enough, this was news that Joss Whedon was more than happy to hear. While he assured us that he wasn’t the one telling the folks at Marvel Studios not to make a Hulk movie, he revealed that it does make his job easier that at least one of his characters from the first Avengers didn’t go off on some kind of blockbuster adventure as seen in Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Said Whedon,
Everybody loves Mark [Ruffalo]. He’s phenomenal. But the fact that there hasn’t been a Hulk since that Hulk, it doesn’t suck. I mean, my job is hard enough. Cap’s had a movie, Thor’s had a movie. Everyone’s gone through big changes. Iron Man had a movie. So I have to juggle everybody’s perception of that while still making a movie that you can see having not seen any [other Marvel movies] except the first Avengers - or not even that."
Of course, fans will be quick to note that Hulk wasn’t the only Avengers team member not to get any spotlight time during Phase 2, as Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye exists in the same boat. While the absence of both characters has upset fans, the good news is that it’s been promised that the two heroes will have very important roles in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
It’s worth noting that Hulk won’t be getting his own solo movie in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe either, so both the present and the future remain very much a mystery for the character. We can’t wait to see how it all unfolds, and it begins with the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015.