Some blockbuster new speculation about the Hulk's big-screen adventures has come to light, and we have to say it sounds pretty plausible. Warning: spoilers ahead!
Mark Ruffalo was asked earlier this week about the possibility of a standalone Hulk movie based on the popular Planet Hulk storyline from the comics. Ruffalo was quite adamant in saying that he didn't think it was a good idea -- and Joss Whedon has already firmly denied laying the groundwork for the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk storylines in The Avengers: Age of Ultron -- but now a new report hints that some aspects of that arc could make their way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe after all.
Big potential spoilers ahead, folks, so bail out now if you don't want to know anything about The Avengers: Age of Ultron or Marvel's Phase 3 plans.
Still with us? OK, here we go ...
According to Drew McWeeny at Hitfix -- who recently visited the set of Age of Ultron in London -- the ending of the Avengers sequel will indeed feature at least one element of the Planet Hulk story:
Banner continues to play a key role in things in this movie, and when the final war with Ultron spills onto the battlefield and out of the virtual realm, he has a major part to play. Unfortunately, that ends with him onboard a Quinjet on his way off the planet, with no way to immediately turn things around. He's going to have to ride out the trip. It's pre-programmed and he can't stop it.
Now, McWeeny is adamant that he doesn't think this will lead to a standalone Planet Hulk film in which the big green guy crashes on and becomes ruler of an alien planet.
Instead, he thinks that Hulk's ship will lead him on a direct course to the Guardians of the Galaxy, with whom he'll share a movie. The idea is that this film (presumably Guardians 2) will deal with the Guardians attempting to find a way to get Bruce Banner back to Earth -- and when they do, they'll have Thanos on their tails, which will set up The Avengers 3 (and if that film isn't subtitled The Infinity Gauntlet, I'll eat my "Avengers Assemble" hat).
McWeeny also mentions that the ending of Age of Ultron "sets in motion a number of big narrative ideas" that could very likely be fully explored in the next Thor and Captain America installments -- before it all comes together in The Avengers 3.
Now remember, much of this is speculation from the reporter, based on what he saw on the Ultron set and whatever other info he's gleaned from his sources. I'm frankly surprised that Marvel has not asked Hitfix to take the story down -- which could mean either that McWeeny is off base or the studio is not that concerned with this kind of speculation so far out. Either way, it sounds like a fascinating and highly probable game plan that addresses a number of different MCU scenarios all at the same time.
What do you make of it all? Does this sound like a solid plan for Marvel's Phase Three? Start the debate below ...