A couple of months ago, Avengers star Mark Ruffalo spoke with Collider about the future of a stand alone Hulk movie, citing the reason that Marvel hadn’t made one was that Universal still had the rights to the character:
“As far as a Hulk movie, a standalone Hulk movie, Marvel doesn’t really have the rights to that yet. That’s still Universal’s property, so there’s that issue. That’s a big impediment to moving forward with that. Now I don’t think that’s insurmountable, by the way, but I don’t know where it’s going from here for me.”
Well, as it turns out, that’s not entirely true. According to Forbes, Marvel has the rights to make a sequel to Incredible Hulk, as their movie rights deal with Marvel lapsed when a sequel to Ang lee’s Hulk never came to fruition. So Disney/Marvel can, at this point, produce a Hulk film. However, Universal still retains the right of first refusal for distribution of any future projects about the Hulk. Which means in theory, Disney could produce a Hulk movie that would be distributed by Universal.
After two Avengers movies, it’s very clear that Disney can produce and distribute films that feature the Hulk, just not a stand alone film. Marvel could very well simply make Bruce Banner and the Hulk featured costars in one of the future Phase Three fims to continue to get around the distribution issue (Guardians of the Galaxy 2 might be a decent place to throw a Planet Hulk story line in).
Our own Phil Bowman wrote a three part series on his thoughts on the Hulk’s future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Comment to let us know what you think.