While it’s been mentioned before as the likely reason as to why we have yet to see a sequel to 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, actor Mark Ruffalo…the man currently in the purple pants…has flat out stated it. Why can’t the actor be toplining an Incredible Hulk 2 anytime soon? The answer is simple: Universal Studios still holds those rights.
Ruffalo on the subject (courtesy of Yahoo! Movies)
“I think they’ve been working on it. Marvel and Universal famously don’t get along very well, and so that’s working against us, definitely. But I know for a fact that everyone is holding out hope that one day we can do it. But the nature of the relationship right now, it’s a little prohibitive. And I hope that that changes, that changes with regimes, it changes over the course of time. But right now it doesn’t look particularly promising.”
There you have it! While Marvel has the ability to put Hulk, Bruce Banner, General Ross, etc. into as many films as they’d like (or TV shows, in the case of The Absorbing Man, who appeared on “Agents of SHIELD“), they cannot make solo Hulk films. At least not without the involvement of Universal. They still hold distribution rights and would also share a piece of the pie when it comes to box office take.
Marvel’s relationship with the studio has been rocky for a few years now. Between Norton walking away from the franchise (and Marvel happily letting him) and that initial film underperforming, there’s been no hurry to get a sequel into production. Also, as much as I love Ruffalo in the role, he’s never been much of a draw as a leading man, so it’s hard to rush a sequel into production when that is considered, especially when Hulk himself doesn’t seem to be enough to bring in audience.
Further complicating the matter is the subject of The Sub-Mariner. Universal has held the rights to that character for a long while now. Long enough that, having not made a film with him yet, he should have reverted back to Marvel already. So what gives? Legal shenanigans. Universal has reportedly been playing dumb about which division of theirs holds the rights, sending Marvel on a goose chase. Marvel is supposedly none too pleased about this, which has strained relations even more.
When will we see a new solo Hulk film? It’s hard to say. I imagine such a project will not truly happen until Marvel regains full control of the property rights. Until then, we’ll have to settle for Avengers films and appearances in the franchises of others (such as the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok).
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