The Complicated Rights Issues Surrounding The Hulk Have Finally Been Explained


For years, we’ve heard various rumors about the Hulk‘s short and long-term future, many of which revolve around a second solo movie happening under the Marvel Studios banner.

It was just the other day that we heard a World War Hulk adaptation was said to be starting production next year, but the legal and contractual rights to the character have never been cleared up in a public forum, so we’re not even 100% sure if Kevin Feige’s team are even able to give such a project the green light.

However, new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (via CBR) has shed some light on the matter at long last. As per the tome, Universal and Marvel signed a new deal in 2006, which only came about after Ang Lee’s Hulk had failed to get a sequel, after which point the rights would revert to Marvel.

As a compromise, Marvel Studios produced The Incredible Hulk and Universal distributed it for a hefty share of the profits, with the MCU retaining the ability to use Bruce Banner and his alter ego as part of ensemble-based films. In short, Universal retains first refusal to distribute any standalone features, which obviously doesn’t fly with the Disney-owned and backed superhero series.

Mark Ruffalo was free to appear in She-Hulk because it’s a TV show, but those rumors of a brand-new movie with the big guy front and center look to be wide of the mark unless Universal agrees to give up its distribution privileges.