Because of certain rights issues, Marvel Studios can't utilize The Hulk in the same way that they can most Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes. Solo movies are pretty much a no-go at this point, and he can basically only appear in features where he's not a titular character. This isn't stopping Mark Ruffalo and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige from sculpting a special Hulk trilogy, however, as the actor recently revealed to me that there is a very specific arc for the character built into Thor: Ragnarok, The Avengers: Infinity War, and the untitled Avengers 4. Said Ruffalo,
So basically, Kevin [Feige] pulled me aside before this, and said, 'If you were gonna do a... if we were going to do a standalone Hulk movie, what would it be?' And I said, 'I think it should be this, this, this, and this and this, and ends up like this.' And he's like, 'I love that. Why don't we do that in the next three movies, starting with Thor 3 and then we go into Avengers 3 and 4.' And I was like, 'That sounds great!' And so we are at the beginning of this arc.
Fans haven't seen The Incredible Hulk on the big screen since 2015's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but in the next two years we will be getting a mega-dose of the monstrous hero across three different titles. It offers the franchise a special opportunity with the sparsely-used character, and Mark Ruffalo and the studio are capitalizing on it with a specific and designed arc.
I spoke with Mark Ruffalo yesterday during the Los Angeles press junket for Thor: Ragnarok, and it was part of a conversation about Hulk's evolution that sparked his answer about the planned future for the hero. Specifically, I asked Ruffalo about how Hulk actually speaks more than just a few words in the new film, and he explained that it is a key part of the aforementioned special trilogy and the change that the character will undergo. The actor continued,
Hulk speaking is the start to separating of these two individuals, these identities in this split-identity person, and where that's going to end up going. So it was really interesting to me. He's like a baby! He's like a five year old or six year old. So he has the same syntax, he has the same world view, and so it was fun. It's like Chris [Hemsworth] - we all got to reinvent our characters in this.
When it comes to blockbuster movies, Hulk has always been a challenging character to adapt, as there is the constant tussle between the human story and the monster-filled action. Maintaining this balance has proved much easier when he's in a supporting role, but that just makes his parts in Thor: Ragnarok, The Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 that much more exciting. Hulk has been a highlight of both previous Avengers titles because as a hero without a solo trilogy of his own Joss Whedon and the studio knew to highlight him -- and it sounds like that same mindset is driving something special for Bruce Banner and his inner monster in the near future.
You can watch Mark Ruffalo talk about Hulk talking and the special arc planned in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by clicking play on the video below!
Marvel fans have been hungry for the big screen return of the Hulk, and that opportunity is coming soon. Thor: Ragnarok will be arriving in theaters on November 3rd, and in case you haven't heard, the buzz has been very positive. Stay tuned for a lot more Marvel content in the coming weeks, including interviews with all of the blockbuster's stars!
Pre-order your Thor: Ragnarok tickets here.