Photo: Walt Disney Pictures
This has to be some sort of record: it took almost four weeks for a pretty big (Hulk-sized, in fact) Marvel Films rumor to be shot down (or at least vehemently denied).
As Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner and his suddenly heroic alter-ego (often referred to as "the other guy") were two of the best things about "The Avengers," it was inevitable that talk would emerge about the gifted/cursed scientist getting his own stand-alone movie. Earlier this month, a report from Latino Review claimed that Marvel was possibly going even further with plans to have the cranky goliath take center stage in more than just one cinematic adventure.
The report painted the Hulk as the big star of Marvel's Phase Three, with something in "The Avengers 2" setting up the stand-alone Hulk movie: an adaptation of Greg Pak's "Planet Hulk," which involves the green one being banished to outer space by the Illuminati, a secret organization of powerful heroes (to which Marvel owns the rights and not, say, Sony). Hulk ends up being enslaved on the planet Sakaar, where he's forced to participate in gladiatorial games and later becomes a hero of the people and a leader in the rebellion against the corrupt Red King.
Now backed up by an army, the Hulk prepares to return to Earth and exact his revenge. This would lead us to "The Avengers 3," which would possibly be an adaptation of "World War Hulk" (also by Greg Pak), in which Hulk and his minions smash almost every superhero on Earth and force them to fight each other for their own amusement.
Talk of possible big-screen adaptations of "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk" first came up last September when Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige said those stories were at least not not being considered.
"I don't think there's a lot that we couldn't do some day, as the cinematic universe continues to grow and expand and get as big as the comic book universe," Feige said in an interview with MTV. "'Planet Hulk' is a cool story. 'World War Hulk' is a cool story."
Feige had some reservations about "Planet Hulk," though, as, like its hero, it might just be too big for its own good.
"I think there's pitfalls of continuity-overload, and mythology getting so dense that it almost collapses in on itself," he said. "It happens every few decades or so in the comics. Apart from that, I'd say everything is on the table."
Someone has now taken it off the table, as Ain't It Cool News reports that a "Planet Hulk" movie isn't happening, with the main reason being that Marvel has a six-figure deal with Mark Ruffalo. While that might seem like all the more reason a "Planet Hulk" movie might happen rather than not, the snag is that Bruce Banner himself doesn't appear in that storyline at all -- apparently, that six-figure deal has a clause that says "Not just all mo-cap" (with the argument that Ruffalo himself is indeed "playing" the Hulk), as the Banner element is important to the studio.
So, back to the speculation, as all we know for sure is that the stand-alone Hulk movie -- whatever it may be about -- won't happen until "The Avengers 2" bows in May 2015, according to Feige. For now, we'll take it one movie at a time, starting with the first chapter of Marvel's Phase Two, "Iron Man 3," opening May 3.