After his exit at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, many have been wondering and speculating when and where Bruce Banner and his alter-ego, Hulk, might return. Will it be in Captain America: Civil War? Will it be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, teasing a potential “Planet Hulk” adaptation? Will it be in one of the many other solo sequels in Phase Three? Will we just not see him again at all until Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1&2 (2018/2019)?
On the subject of Civil War, actor Mark Ruffalo has gone back and forth with his public comments about his involvement in the film. First it was “I don’t know.” Then came, “Downey says I’m in it, so I guess I am”. And now he’s backpedaling, stating that he might have been initially, but no longer thinks he is. Could he be telling the truth or is he simply backing off on it all at the behest of Marvel? It’s hard to say, but whatever the answer may be in that case, it leads this writer to believe that whatever scene he has or did have in Civil War was probably just a mid or post-credits tease.
The ending of Age of Ultron led us to believe that Hulk had isolated himself on an island, so that rules out a Guardians of the Galaxy appearance, as well as any of the other solo films coming our way. Given this, it seems likely that any Hulk seen…be it intact or postponed…will involve said island and such a quick aside doesn’t seen likely to happen mid-film. A credits scene makes the most sense in this case. If we take Ruffalo’s comments at face value, then perhaps Marvel initially had things set up that way and decided to put greater focus on them and move the scene elsewhere. Perhaps to the start of Infinity War Part One? Who knows.
Back to Guardians, in case conjecture isn’t enough, James Gunn himself weighed in on this particular rumor once more recently, via his Twitter account…
“I will comment on it now (as I’ve done before) – there is zero chance you will see Hulk in GotGVol2.”
As with Ruffalo, there’s always the chance he could be lying. After all, UK artist Sam Smith denied for months that he was the new vocalist for the latest James Bond film, SPECTRE, only to be announced today as the singer of its opening song. Denials don’t always mean that a rumor isn’t true. Sometimes they are done simply to cast aside the question and doubt on the rumor itself, so that everyone moves on to speculating about something else. I’m inclined to believe Gunn in this instance, however. He tends not to comment on such things unless he can give a definitive, truthful answer.
That’s the problem with rumors and scoops when it comes to the film industry. Lies, truths, and half-truths are told side by side, often by the same people, in an effort to conceal what actually is going on within each project. Things can also change at the drop of a hat. What is true today may be untrue next week and vice-versa. When will we see Hulk again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Will it be next year or not until the first Infinity War entry in 2018? I have no idea, but I won’t be too surprised if we at least get the slightest glimpse of the big guy come May.