While Marvel and Universal's complicated relationship means that Hulk won't be leading another solo movie for a while, Marvel is making sure that the green powerhouse isn't just sitting in the corner collecting dust. Along with being an integral player in the Avengers movies, Hulk will appear next year in Thor: Ragnarok, and while the God of Thunder is still the movie's main protagonist, Ragnarok is also being used to tell a backdoor Planet Hulk adaptation. This has already been confirmed by the addition certain players from the original comic book storyline and the likelihood that Hulk will don armor, but the biggest connection has been established with the inclusion of the planet Sakaar.
In the latest issue of Total Film (via MCU Exchange), director Taika Waititi revealed that Sakaar will be seen in Thor: Ragnarok, which is fitting given that that was the planet where Hulk was forced into gladiatorial combat in the comics. Waititi said:
Sakaar was just an insane, far-off futuristic place which was the biggest shift for the film and these characters.
Although Taika Waititi didn't directly confirm it in the interview, it's all but confirmed that Sakaar will be the same planet where Hulk will be forced into combat, just like his comic book counterpart was nearly a decade ago. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, the "games" will reportedly be overseen by Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster rather than Red King. It's also mentioned in the Total Film piece that Sakaar is where Thor will "reunite" with Hulk, who has "made a name for himself as a gladiator." This implies that rather than Thor recruiting Bruce Banner at the beginning of Thor: Ragnarok and taking him off Earth, the scientist and his monstrous darker half have somehow been transported off our planet.
The last time we saw Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron, he had flown away from the battle against Ultron in the Quinjet so he could keep Black Widow safe from him. The aircraft later crashed near Fiji, but Bruce Banner/Hulk's whereabouts have been unknown since then. Since the Quinjet didn't make it out into space, it's unclear just how Hulk ended up on Sakaar. Whatever the circumstances, it sounds like he's already asserted dominance over the other fighters, like Korg and Miek. In the comics, Hulk left Sakaar to travel back to Earth with his forces to seek revenge against the Illuminati, which led into the World War Hulk storyline. For Thor: Ragnarok, however, ideally Thor and Hulk will work together to escape Sakaar, and from there, the Green Goliath can help the God of Thunder defeat Hela, Skurge, Surtur and all the other villains who are antagonizing the Nine Realms.
Thor: Ragnarok storms into theaters on November 3, 2017.