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After sitting out the mini Avengers assembly that was Captain America: Civil War, who isn't glad to see Thor and the Incredible Hulk back on our screens for the God of Thunder's third solo outing? As the mean, green, fighting machine takes on Chris Hemsworth's golden-haired hero in the arena of the Grandmaster, it will likely remind fans of just how great Dr. Bruce Banner's alter ego really is. So, with recent rumors of a Hulk trilogy arc coming our way, will the MCU make good on its promise?
If you remember, Thor Ragnarok, Infinity War, and Avengers 4 were all tipped to navigate around a self-contained storyline for Hulk thanks to some joyful comments by Mark Ruffalo. However, speaking to Uproxx, Marvel bigwig Kevin Feige has said that the man behind the monster may have been caught up in all the Hulk hype:
“I wouldn’t call Ragnarok and the next Avengers movies an unofficial Hulk trilogy, but I would say that there is a character arc for Hulk within those three movies that, yes, track together by design. And I think it’s a testament to what Ruffalo has done to Bruce Banner and brought to this character."
For those hoping for a "World War Hulk" segue, or that Banner could take over from the likes of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers as the de facto leaders of the Avengers, it sounds like you may have to think again.
Counting Ruffalo's cameo in Iron Man 3, he has now played the ginormous genius in four MCU movies, but there are still no signs of that all-important solo movie. Heading back to 2008, you may remember that Edward Norton carried those giant shoulders for The Incredible Hulk, and it is a crying shame that a full-blown sequel never made it off the starting blocks. Just like Fox and The Fantastic Four, Universal still has first refusal on a Hulk standalone, and it doesn't look like they are budging when it comes to the Green Goliath. Why can't everyone just play nice like Sony and Disney loaning out Spider-Man whenever they want?
Thankfully, Ragnarok has Hulk with a newfound ability to actually speak, and fans of the MCU have waited nearly a decade to hear him say more than "Hulk smash" or the odd grunt. Continuing into the "Infinity" saga, Feige says that we should expect a whole new Hulk:
"Ruffalo is a master at not going deep and dark, but taking that inner pain and kind of trying to become zen about it. We saw that in Avengers 1, where Tony Stark is screwing around and poking him with something and saying, oh, careful, and he goes, 'I can handle pointy things.' He’s much more zen about it. His secret is he’s always angry. I think it’s just a much more charismatic and engaging way to see it. I’ve always wanted Hulk to talk more than he has and find the right circumstances, and finally we see that here."
As for the lack of a solid Hulk trilogy within the actual MCU, it continues a long line of crushing news when it comes to the Emerald Giant's place in the phases that Disney has planned for its Marvel properties. If being zapped with gamma rays wasn't enough to put a damper on your day, how about your own solo movie being confined to the depths of development hell? Sadly, as something of a sticking point for the MCU, it seems that the Green Meanie will continue to be relegated to the sidelines for some time to come!