Exclusive: (CONFIRMED) Mark Ruffalo's Hulk will return in Thor: Ragnarok
UPDATE: Deadline is reporting that this is confirmed, but since they don't feel like we deserve the proper linkage and acknowledgement for first breaking this, I won't be linking to them. I'm sure Marvel will have an official announcement up shortly. THR is reporting the same and giving proper linkage, so here's their confirmation as well.
Fans of Thor, Hulk, and “otherworldly” adventures, get ready to be happy.
The last time we saw ol' Bruce Banner/Hulk, he was flying off into the sunset in a Quinjet, which supposedly crashed in the ocean somewhere with no sign of the man or beast to be seen. This left a big question mark as to when or where the Hulk would reappear in the MCU prior to the obvious inclusion in THE AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR films. Well, wonder no more, my friends.
Hot on the heels of NYCC, we’ve gotten word from our inside sources that THOR: RAGNAROK will see Chris Hemsworth’s Thor team up with none other than Mark Ruffalo’s HULK for the Odinson's third solo film, which finds the God of Thunder facing what amounts to the Norse Apocalypse. Only this time out he'll have some help from a fellow Avenger.
Mark Ruffalo joins Tom Hiddleston (also confirmed by our sources) and Jaimie Alexander in RAGNAROK, which we’ve also heard will involve a “distant planet” that is "not Asgard and not Earth." What does that mean? Certainly the theory will be made that this is where Marvel will work in the long-rumored Planet Hulk storyline, and although we can’t completely verify that, we can’t completely deny it either. I’ll leave it to you on how you want to place your bets, but I know where my money is going. Regardless, Ruffalo is on board. As to how much time he’ll spend as Hulk vs. Banner, we can’t say, only that he’s absolutely part of the supporting cast and will feature prominently.
If you think about it, this makes perfect sense and is a smart move on Marvel’s part. It also follows the trend of folding more characters into these “solo” films, making them more of an ensemble. After the success of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER and the recent announcement of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, not to mention the upcoming CIVIL WAR, it appears “ensemble” is the new “solo”. And, really, why wouldn’t it be? We’re long past the introduction of Nick Fury in the credits of IRON MAN. The MCU is established, so why not capitalize on it?
Given the amount of fun we’ve already had with both Thor and Hulk in THE AVENGERS, it feels like the perfect match up. Personally, I think it’s the smartest damn thing they could do with both characters, which have struggled to find footing in their solo expeditions. Also, who could forget their first onscreen team-up in 1988 for the TV movie The Incredible Hulk Returns? Here, let's refresh...
Ah, we've come a long way, no? Anyway, who else would you team Thor up with for a mythological venture in space? Captain America? Iron Man? Hawkeye? You need someone that can survive the harsher elements to traverse time and space without space suits, software, hardware, and, well, oxygen. Granted, it’s just fantasy, but it still needs to be somewhat sensible, even for a gamma-infected monster and a mythological god.
Although director James Gunn has denied the whole Planet Hulk thing being a part of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (calling it “…complete bullshit” in fact), that doesn’t leave out the possibility of a post-credits sequence that teases the green goliath on a “distant planet”, which would make sense seeing as THOR: RAGNAROK is the next in line after GUARDIANS 2. Seems like the perfect set up to me, while leaving Gunn to carry on his Guardians story without interference, which I think we can all agree would be best. Guess we'll have to wait and see on that. Either way, the Hulk will be back, thankfully sooner than later.
What do YOU think about this direction for both Hulk and Thor?