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What Might Happen to Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk After ‘Age of Ultron’?

Planet-Hulk-movie

***WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON***
***TREAD LIGHTLY***

Three years ago, it would’ve been hard to imagine that Mark Ruffalo being recast as Bruce Banner for 2012’s The Avengers could end up being the fan-favorite of the film.  A lot of people had enjoyed Edward Norton’s portrayal of the scientist-turned-monster in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, but seemed to forget all about it after seeing how Ruffalo took control of the character (literally).

Ever since, all fans seem to have been asking for is a Hulk sequel, since we haven’t really seen much of Banner/Hulk since The Avengers (over two years ago now), and won’t again until next years sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has mentioned a few times now that, while the idea of a Hulk sequel isn’t out of the realm of possibility, there haven’t been any grounded plans for one yet in the near future.  (That doesn’t stop Hulk legend Lou Ferrigno from thinking so.)

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There has been speculation that the plot of a future Hulk sequel could follow the Planet Hulk comic arc, in which Banner’s fellow heroes realize that he is simply too dangerous to be kept on Earth, and decide to launch him into space on a one-way ship.  Hulk is forced to live on a planet filled with aliens, as a misunderstood gladiator of sorts.  While the potential story-wise is definitely there, we wouldn’t have any chance to see Ruffalo as Banner (Planet Hulk doesn’t call for it); somehow forgetting about the hope fans had to see the actor on-screen in his own feature Marvel film.

Recently speaking to MTV, Ruffalo gave his thoughts on the matter; agreeing that while there should be a sequel for the green monster, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a complete retelling of Planet Hulk.  Here’s what he had to say:

“I don’t think that’s where they’re going to go… “Planet Hulk” is: they actually launch Bruce Banner into space to try and get rid of him and the Hulk. And he ends up freaking out, smashing up the spaceship, and it goes off course and it ends up on this planet of gladiator creatures, like pre-Christian, Romanesque.

“I don’t think that’s the way to go yet. I think you need more Banner. The whole thing is just him as Hulk, on a planet, fighting other gladiators. He falls in love, he has a baby, he finds a woman… and then The Avengers nuke the planet.”

Personally, I could go without seeing a Planet Hulk movie happen as well.  I think there are a lot of other potential stories to tell, and ones that might not need to follow direct comic arcs.  A Planet Hulk movie would also be a straight two-hour CGI fest, and would cost a very pretty penny to whip out.  I would much rather see Red Hulk or The Leader be brought back into the fold, or even Liv Tyler as Betty Ross to see how she works with Ruffalo.

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However, according to Drew from HitFixfans may end up being pleasantly surprised by the events between Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers 3, even if it doesn’t involve a direct adaptation to Planet Hulk.  Drew goes on to explain that, after visiting the set of Age of Ultron in London, he (very cautiously) has some big spoilers to share about the ending of the Avengers sequel.

***AGAIN, MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW. BEWARE***

 HitFix reports that during the third act of Age of Ultron and the commotion of the Avengers battling main baddie Ultron (voiced by James Spader), Banner will end up on the team’s new Quinjet, being launched into space with no way to turn back home.  However, instead of the previously-described Planet Hulk story unfolding, Banner ends up finding the Guardians of the Galaxy, setting up the sequel to the sci-fi adventure of the same name, which hits theaters this August.

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So instead of there being a Hulk sequel in Marvel’s “Phase Three” (between Age of Ultron and Avengers 3), Ruffalo would just have a major role in the sequel to Guardians.  The premise would be the team trying to figure out a way to get Banner back home to Earth, only to end up joining him in the trip back.

This makes perfect sense, especially when talking about tying plot points of the past back into each other…..

avengers_movie_thanos-thanos-major-role-in-guardians-of-the-galaxyRemember the big mastermind Thanos at the end of The Avengers?  We already know he’s going to be in Guardians of the Galaxy this Summer (voiced by Josh Brolin), and that Guardians director James Gunn has in fact confirmed his movie will connect to Avengers 3.   Thanos definitely has the motive to eventually come to Earth to face the Avengers himself, so it seems the heroes would need all the help they can get to face the Mad Titan (Enter: Hulk and the Guardians).

Perhaps one of the more interesting things Drew had to say was the following about how Age of Ultron sets up direct story lines for the team of characters for Phase Three:

Much of what excites me about the way that film is going to end is that it sets in motion a number of big narrative ideas that should go a long way toward setting up whatever storylines they’ll follow in the third “Thor” or the third “Captain America,” and those movies are going to feel like the inevitable next story steps that have to take place. That’s the most fiendishly interesting thing about the way Joss Whedon’s script for “Age Of Ultron” works… it not only tells a complete story, but it also makes it fairly clear what the big broad strokes are that are going to get us from the ending of that film to the start of “Avengers 3.”

From the basic outline, it makes 100% sense to do this.  Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel’s least-known franchise getting a feature film; and even if it ends up doing well at the box office come August, having it directly attached to Age of Ultron and having the lovable and massively popular Hulk as a major character in its sequel could never hurt.  Personally, I smell a post-credits scene in Age of Ultron of the Guardians finding Hulk’s crashed Quinjet.

What do you think?  Is Hulk mashing with Guardians of the Galaxy a good idea?  You can’t ignore the fact that Hulk, clashed with Rocket Raccoon and Groot doesn’t immediately call for some hilarious banter.

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1st, 2015.

– Josh Sazin, 7/2/14

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