As in his comic book incarnation, you just can't kill the Hulk. In Marvel's first venture into live action television since being purchased by Disney, they are relaunching the jolly green giant for a primetime ABC series under the aegis of "Battlestar Galactica" producer David Eick and beloved monster fan Guillermo Del Toro.
"I have always been attracted at the combination of comic book heroics and monsters, Jack Kirby's Demon or Kamandi or DC's Deadman or Marvel's Dr. Strange, Morbius, Metamorpho, Mike Mignola's Hellboy, etc," says the multi-hyphenate master of the macabre, stroking the collective geek boner. In this announcement, Del Toro also revealed that coming off "Blade II" he was in hot pursuit of the earlier "Hulk" film eventually given to (you won't like him when he's) Ang Lee. Del Toro will be supervising the series and directing the pilot, sharing the co-creator title with head writer Eick, a veteran of the cheeky "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and the easily forgotten "Bionic Woman" relaunch.
After the lukewarm results of both solo movies, the speculation was that putting the Hulk character alongside the heroes of "The Avengers" would allow for a rebooted third film. But it looks like the studio intends to use that tentpole to re-introduce the character to a new generation of television fans in fall 2012 instead. Mark Ruffalo is probably tousling his hair with rage.
The series will have no association with the films, which is a surprise considering just how infatuated Marvel is with continuity. Instead, boob tube fans will meet a twentysomething Bruce Banner getting acclimated to his new gamma-juiced abilities. With ideas and visuals culled from the original seventies television series as well as the comic run, the character will be a mixture of CGI, puppetry and prosthetics.
All of Marvel's plans seem to make sense provided all their films and series' are hits. But what if they're not? Even with Del Toro behind the scenes, there's always the possibility that fickle television audiences will turn away from "The Hulk." If the show flops, will Marvel finally get the message from the general public that this supposedly popular character isn't well-liked? And if so, will they finally relent on Hulk-related movies and shows? If the show doesn't catch, then "The Avengers" may be the first and last we see of Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner. And if "The Avengers" flops, that might be the deathblow that makes all of Hollywood reconsider this "Every Superhero Must Have A Movie" policy.