The Hulk may be able to smash practically anything, but he can’t break free of the legal arrangement between Disney and Universal that’s put the kibosh on any future solo movies.
After 2003’s Hulk, Universal didn’t put a sequel into production, and the character rights soon reverted to Marvel Studios. Kevin Feige can theoretically make a big green blockbuster at any time he chooses, though the twist is that Universal has the right of first refusal on distributing it, and Disney is hardly keen on splitting those juicy profits.
This means Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk is trapped as a perpetual supporting character, with his MCU arc taking place in the background of films like Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, and soon She-Hulk: Attorney at Law on Disney Plus.
However, fans on r/MarvelStudios now think it’s time for the not-so-jolly green giant to step back into the spotlight. A thread fantasizes about a World War Hulk movie, loosely adapting the cataclysmic plot arc that saw the justifiably furious short shorts enthusiast squaring off against the Marvel universe. The starting point would be Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross returning, followed shortly by her death. This brings back ‘rage’ Hulk, and away we go.
Replies point out that right now, the MCU doesn’t have the heavy hitters needed to make this work, with Tony Stark’s absence creating a difficult-to-fill hole in the story. Others say that using the death of a woman as the motivation for a male-led story is classic fridging, and would be a contrived way to start the conflict.
There are rumors that 2024 will see the Hulk rights revert to Marvel in their entirety, freeing them up to finally put a capper on the story of Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and his alter-ego. But with the actor apparently happy to keep going, not to mention the CGI nature of the character meaning he doesn’t age, we like him as one of the few remaining heroes from Phase 1.
Either way, we’ll be seeing Hulk back in action very soon when She-Hulk: Attorney at Law lands on Disney Plus on August 17.