By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 4, 2013 at 8:59AM
Of the many things that contributed to the billion-dollar success of Marvel's "The Avengers" last year, one of the most obvious was the reboot of The Hulk. Now inhabited by Mark Ruffalo, the character was more tortured than ever before (if that was even possible), but also more funny, instantly charming fans and newcomers alike around the world with little more than the words: "Hulk smash." And while a standalone movie seemed like a no-brainer, last spring fans were told that the earliest they would see that happen is 2015.Additionally, while a TV series for the character was teased at the time as well, Guillermo Del Toro recently suggested those plans are on hold for now. So what gives? Well, if these rumors are close to correct, The Hulk will be a major player in Phase Two and Phase Three of Marvel's rollout.
Latino Review has apparently done some sleuthing and are reporting what they say are the comic company's plans for Phase Two and Phase Three for The Hulk, so needless to say, if you don't want anything spoiled you should probably stop reading here. Apparently, the third act or post-credits sequence of "The Avengers 2" will feature The Hulk getting booted out into space by The Illuminati (another superhero group of sorts that includes Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Professor Charles Xavier, Dr. Stephen Strange, Black Bolt and Namor) who deem the smashy-smash hero too dangerous to stay on Earth. This would essentially set up the movie, based on the comic "Planet Hulk," in which our hero lands on the titular planet and becomes a gladiator and a king. Okay, then.
But that's not all. The rumor further suggests that in "The Avengers 3," The Hulk will return to Earth in a story based on "World War Hulk" where in the angry green man goes after everyone who sent him up into space in the first place. Essentially, what you're looking at is the fan-favorite eventually being repositioned as the villain (of sorts), or our superhero team taking some dubious actions against one of their own and paying the price.
Is any of this true? Time well tell, we suppose. Ordinarily, we'd say an entire movie surrounding "Planet Hulk" (which has already been made into an animated feature, fyi) would seem a bit ridiculous, but then again, Marvel is pushing ahead with a movie that features talking raccoons and trees so what do we know. It certainly is an unexpected arc, and sure, we could belive that Marvel has a rough game plan for what they want to do with Hulk. And the inclusion of the Iluminati does mesh with Kevin Feige's recent revelation that Dr. Strange will be part of Marvel's Phase Three. That said, key characters of the Illuminati are still licensed to other studios (Charles Xavier, Reed Richards) however, Marvel can probably tinker with it or just take the core idea of sending Hulk into space (maybe by The Avengers themselves) and run with it.
But as always, take it all with a grain of salt as the rumors won't be stopping here. Thoughts? Do you think these are good storylines to pursue? Let us know below.