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Like a lot of you, I’ve been eagerly waiting for the next standalone Hulk movie. True, Hulk from 2003 wasn’t great, and The Incredible Hulk from 2008 isn’t as well received by fans as the rest of the MCU films, but the character still has a lot of on screen potential. Not only that, but the big guy even has a new actor in Mark Ruffalo, the guy everyone demands to see more of in the MCU.

Imagine that, but in a Ruffalo Hulk movie. Keep in mind too that Ruffalo’s Hulk is still Ed Norton’s Hulk, meaning the former has to pick up the plot lines from the latter’s movie. We know Blonsky hasn’t really gone anywhere, and Sterns is presumably still out there somewhere, assuming S.H.I.E.L.D. never picked him up after the events of The Incredible Hulk. On top of that, fans have been clamoring for a Planet/World War Hulk movie for some time now. What’s the deal Marvel?

Well, according to, one big problem stems from the fact that Universal still somewhat owns the Hulk’s film rights. They managed to get a quote from Ruffalo himself, who stated:

“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.”

Is this all there is to it though? Also, could a solo film based on the Hulk work in the MCU, with or without Ruffalo in it? Let’s take a look.

What’s the Problem?

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Like I mentioned above, The Incredible Hulk wasn’t, and still isn’t, considered among the greatest MCU films by fans and critics, for whatever reason (truth be told, I love this movie. I still think it’s a lot of fun). The constant complaints about the Ed Norton Hulk online were probably a factor pre-Avengers, however big or small, in Marvel’s decision to not pursue a standalone Hulk movie.

If true, then the company might have feared not making as much of a profit on this type of movie; however, this can be ignored by now, since they’ve proven that they can get both good directors and good actors, both of which will do the characters justice.

Possibly stemming from this is what I consider to be the real reason a standalone Hulk movie won’t be made, at least while Ruffalo is still playing Bruce Banner: overcrowding. Think about it: Phase 3 alone is going to be stuffed with characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, etc. Marvel has always been trying to branch out and do something new, so to go back to a franchise that didn’t get much acclaim would have been out of the question, even around Phase 2.

So the problem really is that fans weren’t entirely thrilled about the Hulk back when he first got a MCU standalone movie, forcing Marvel to take notice and pick more new characters to adapt. Now that fans want him, the schedule’s too full for his movie. If you believe Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige, then the company’s planned list of movies up to 2028 makes it even harder for Hulk to get his own movie again. Unless one of those films happens to be Planet Hulk, in which case it’s still unlikely we’ll have Ruffalo in the Banner role again.

Hulk Smash!

With all that out of the way, could a standalone Hulk film work in today’s market? Absolutely. Could it work without Mark Ruffalo though? Possibly, depending on a lot of factors.

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First, let’s look at Ruffalo’s Banner still being in the movie. Fans have already proven that they like his take on the character, and his Banner/Hulk tends to be very well written and extremely action heavy (who doesn’t enjoy seeing Loki get smashed around still?) On top of this, Captain America: Civil War is coming up really soon. In the comics, the Hulk was already in space during this event, leading to the popular “Planet Hulk” run.

Realistically, you can’t have the Hulk in the MCU version because it’s an unfair amount of power for either side (same goes for Thor, which is why I’m assuming he’ll go missing after the events of Age of Ultron). If Marvel does this solo Hulk movie as soon as possible, they can still use Ruffalo as Banner and as the mocap Hulk, tie it in with a comic accurate reason for his departure from Civil War, and give fans the movie they want to see.

As for a new actor to play Banner/Hulk? That’s a different story. Whoever the new actor is/will be, he’ll need to prove to fans that he’s a logical choice for the role, meaning we’ll need at least a movie or two of him in an Avengers film or in a character’s standalone film and playing off the other actors.

Even if the new guy’s really good and fans want to see more of him, this new casting could mean a replacement for everyone else in the Hulk’s supporting cast. The actors for Blonksy, Sterns, General Ross, even Betty might have to leave for new people, and then they have to prove themselves too.

Also by this point, it would no longer fit with a comic accurate version for the Hulk’s departure. However, that’s not that big of a deal though, considering we’d still need Namor, Prof. Xavier, and Mr. Fantastic to be part of the Illuminati first. Oh well, maybe eventually big guy.

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