We've had hints that some sort of version of a famous Hulk story was happening. Now we know it's true.
First there was the news that Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) would be appearing in Thor: Ragnarok. Then there were glimpses of armor that were said to be worn in the film by the big green guy, gladiator-style.
Those were the early signs suggesting that the third Thor movie might actually incorporate some of the "Planet Hulk" storyline from the comics. And now we have another rather large detail from director Taika Waititi that all but clinches it: Thor: Ragnarok is going to visit Sakaar, the actual "Planet Hulk." Here's Waititi in Total Film:
"Sakaar was just an insane, far-off, futuristic place which was the biggest shift for the film and these characters…I was really excited when Kevin [Feige] and the rest of Marvel jumped on board with the idea to use [Jack] Kirby as a big influence in the design of the film. What’s really hard is staying authentic."
For those of you not familiar with it, the "Planet Hulk" storyline started in 2006 when the rest of Earth's superheroes decided that the Hulk was too dangerous to keep around anymore and shot him off into space. Although he was supposed to land on a peaceful planet, his ship got sucked through a wormhole and he landed on the planet Sakaar, where he was forced into fighting as a gladiator by the despotic ruler known as the Red King, until Hulk eventually overthrew him and became ruler of Sakaar himself.
While that might not be the exact narrative that Thor: Ragnarok follows -- because it is, in fact, a Thor movie and not a Hulk joint -- Total Film noted that Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will find Hulk on Sakaar, where the big beast has "made a name for himself as a gladiator.” And since we last saw the Hulk flying a Quinjet but still over the Earth in Avengers: Age of Ultron, I suspect he'll morph back into Bruce Banner to explain how he got to Sakaar in the first place.
It appears also that Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster is going to be the being overseeing the gladiatorial contests instead of the Red King, so while we won't be getting a totally faithful "Planet Hulk" adaptation, Marvel and Waititi will be doing that thing of incorporating elements from it in a cool way.
In addition to Hemsworth, Ruffalo and Goldblum, Thor: Ragnarok's extraordinary cast includes Cate Blanchett as Hela, Karl Urban as Skurge, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Idris Elba as Heimdall and quite likely Benedict Cumberbatch in his second turn as Stephen Strange. The hammer comes down on Nov. 3, 2017, and for the first time in a while, a Thor movie is sounding like an exciting prospect.