POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR ALL MCU FILMS PAST AND FUTURE
Ever fancied watching a movie about The Hulk battling for survival against monstrous gladiators on an alien world? Firstly, that’s a very specific fantasy, and secondly, you’ve probably read Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk series, which, according to Latino Review, may form a basis for a new Hulk movie as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three.
For those who haven’t been following Marvel’s plans for cinematic superhero domination, Phase One consisted of everything up to an including The Avengers – which is to say Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Incredible Hulk. Phase Two will feature Iron Man 3 (due out April 26th), Thor: The Dark World (November 8th), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4th, 2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1st, 2014), culminating in Avengers 2 (May 1st, 2015).
Planet Hulk sees the eponymous anti-hero blasted into space by a secret order of heroes known as The Illuminati, who see it as the only way to protect the people of Earth. The Hulk ends up marooned on a hostile planet, at which point things get “John Carter-y”. The potential for CGI smack-downs aside, it’s difficult to imagine such a movie will have much room for Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, since Hulk remains in his big green form for the entirety of the Plant Hulk storyline. Who knows though, this might provide an opportunity to explore The Hulk as a character as opposed to having him smash things whenever plot or comedy require it.
Why The Hulk won’t be making a standalone appearance in Marvel’s Phase Two is open to debate. Maybe the roster is full enough already or maybe after having already taken two shots at the big green meanie – Ang Lee’s controversial 2005 Hulk and Louis Leterrier’s underwhelming effort – they want to be sure to get it perfectly right this time around.
It’s rumored that Planet Hulk will lead into Avengers 3, which will be based on Pak’s World War Hulk arc in which The Hulk returns to Earth to wreak revenge on the group who banished him. Given that Tony Stark is a founding member of The Illuminati, it seems that the petty squabbling we saw among the Avengers in the first film is destined to become all-out conflict.
Professor X, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Namor, and Doctor Strange also appear in The Illuminati’s lineup. As cool as it is to imagine Patrick Stewart and whoever they get to replace Ioan Gruffudd becoming an official part of the MCU, Marvel does not currently have the film rights to either the X-Men or Fantastic 4, making a cross-over unlikely. They may, however, want to use Avengers 2 as a means to introduce Dr. Strange, who might well be receiving his own feature in Phase Three, and Black Bolt, whose race of Inhumans could well provide a new wave of supporting cast. Now that Coulson is deceased (until proven otherwise), the non A-list MCU heroes are getting pretty thin on the ground.
Following the Phase Two quintet, Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man is officially due to kick off Phase Three on November 6th, 2015, though the production remains shrouded in mystery. All in all, however, the MCU continues to evolve in new and interesting ways. With Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 fast approaching and new information coming out on an almost daily basis, bring on Phase Two!