If you weren’t already excited about Thor: Ragnarok, then the time to rejoice is now, as noted source JoBlo.com has let loose its latest scoop – which is that the Planet Hulk plot line will be a significant feature in the God of Thunder’s third movie. This is the news that many fans have been waiting for, for almost as long as Marvel has been making movies – but particularly since Mark Ruffalo assumed the Hulk mantle within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Planet Hulk storyline that began in The Incredible Hulk comic book series in 2006 is one of the rage monster’s most popular plot arcs. It sees certain sections of society decide that Hulk is too dangerous and destructive to reside on Earth, so he is lured into orbit by way of a faked mission to destroy a satellite. Once in the outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere, a shuttle is launched with the intention of transporting him out of the solar system, and onto a peaceful alien planet.
However, en route, the shuttle inadvertently travels through a wormhole, and eventually crash lands on the planet Sakaar. Here, Hulk is taken into slavery, by virtue of a control device that the local population fit to him. Hulk is forced to fight in gladiatorial games and becomes involved in an uprising of insurgents against the oppressive tyrant that has kept him, and so many others, under heavy-handed rule. During this period, Hulk finds love and starts a family – but when all of those things are taken from him he gathers his new-found gladiatorial allies and seeks revenge on Earth, leading to World War Hulk.
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There is a lot to be said for the idea that this storyline will feature in Thor: Ragnarok. Mark Ruffalo himself has already been teasing his role in the upcoming film, and we know that Hulk purposefully disappeared at the end of Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Both he and Thor were notably absent from the all-star Captain America: Civil War – giving further indication that their next outings would be a pairing of some kind. With Thor being the only other Avenger currently with an intergalactic element to his story, it makes perfect sense for Marvel to take this opportunity to explore the more fantastical sides of the Hulk source material – particularly in the absence of plans for a further standalone Hulk film series.
This news is especially exciting for fans because, although the Hulk source material is rich in characters and storylines, the live-action Hulk solo films that have thus far been produced have all focused on the single, narrow, Earth-bound fact of his relationship with Betty Ross and her military father. By combining the stories of Thor: Ragnarok and Planet Hulk, along with introducing Thor characters Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Hela (Cate Blanchett) Marvel promises an event movie that is at once a thrilling instalment in the Thor franchise, and an excellent way to further the plot arc of both Hulk and the MCU in general. We are moving toward Avengers: Infinity War at a pace now, after all.
So, while it remains technically unclear as to what specifically will cause Thor to arrive on Sakaar, we can assume it is to seek the help of his angry colleague in preventing Ragnarok which, in Norse mythology, is a series of events – including battles and natural disasters – that result in the deaths of gods and the rise of a new world. We have a great deal of time in which to speculate, though, as Thor: Ragnarok is not scheduled to arrive in theatres until next year.