For the longest time, Spider-Man stood as Marvel’s white whale, and any chance of the webslinger joining the roster of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was contingent on a deal being arranged between Sony and Marvel. And while it isn’t necessarily tit-for-tat, fans have been clamouring for a Hulk standalone movie ever since Mark Ruffalo turned in an eye-catching performance during The Avengers in 2012.
It’s not for want of trying, though; Ruffalo has expressed his desire to spin out the story of Bruce Banner and his towering alter-ego into a standalone movie in the past, but there’s still one major roadblock preventing any progress.
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As many already know, Universal still hold the rights to the character despite numerous on screen appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and, as Ruffalo revealed to Yahoo!, it’s ultimately the fraught relationship between the two studios that has cooled talk of a Hulk spinoff film for the time being.
“Marvel and Universal famously don’t get along, and so that’s working against us, definitely,” Ruffalo told the site. “But I know for a fact that everyone is holding out hope that one day we can do it.”
Is it possible that the two studios will broker a deal for Hulk in the style of Sony and Marvel’s partnership over Spider-Man? Perhaps. After all, it seemed as though Sony would hold onto the rights of Peter Parker for as long as possible, but when The Amazing Spider-Man franchise began to wane, leasing the costumed hero back to Marvel proved a logical decision. Will this prompt Universal to follow suit?
Hulk will remain on the sidelines for 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, before leaping back into action for Thor: Ragnarok on July 18, 2017.