Fan Theory – The Hulk’s Future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

GameStop, Inc.

Incredible Hulk Volume 2 Issue #105

The Hulk is one of the most popular characters in Marvel history and is currently one of the core members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers along with Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, but is the only core member to only have one movie. This saddens me because Hulk is my favorite superhero and The Incredible Hulk did very well in the box office, had generally positive reviews, and was an awesome portrayal of the Jade Giant. With Marvel already releasing its future films, we know there is no upcoming Hulk movie and it shuts down the rumors about a Planet Hulk movie. This however does not mean we won’t see elements of Planet Hulk and maybe even World War Hulk in the upcoming films.

In the Comics: Planet Hulk and World War Hulk
Originally in the Planet Hulk story line, Hulk was sent off to space because a group of Earth’s superheroes called, “The Illuminati,” decided Hulk was too much of a liability. Hulk’s ship however, went off course and landed on a different planet than intended by the Illuminati, Sakaar. On Sakaar, Hulk dethroned the planet’s ruling tyrant, became the people’s savior and their king, and even found a wife, Caiera the Oldstrong. Hulk had finally found a home where he belonged and was accepted, but this was all taken away when the ship that took Hulk to Sakaar exploded and killed his people, including his wife. Hulk blames everyone’s deaths on the Illuminati and finds a way to return to Earth to seek revenge. This leads to the World War Hulk story line and arguably the strongest incarnation of Hulk to date.

The reason World War Hulk is the strongest incarnation of the Hulk is because for most of the character’s history, Banner had always tried to hold back the Hulk and never let Hulk’s full power be unleashed but Caiera’s death changes that. With Caiera being the only woman to accept Hulk and Banner without hesitation, her death led to a synchronized Hulk/Banner mind. Banner no longer wanted to hold back the Hulk, he wanted to help push him to his limits and get revenge. In addition, Hulk learned how to fight strategically and strengthen his mental defenses from his comrades during Planet Hulk and his training showed during World War Hulk where he defeated Iron Man’s improved Hulkbuster, the Fantastic Four, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, the Sentry, Juggernaut, the X-Men and many other superheroes. Don’t you want to see that Hulk on the big screen?

World War Hulk: X-Men

World War Hulk: X-Men

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Elements and easter eggs of Planet Hulk have been already implemented into the Marvel Cinematic Universe already (granted, some of these are kind of pushing it):

  • In Thor: The Dark World, Thor fights a rock creature. The rock creature bares a striking resemblance to Korg, one of Hulk’s comrades from the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk story lines.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy, the Sakaarans are introduced as Ronan’s army. Most notable is Djimon Hounsou who plays Korath.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron:
    • Tony Stark and Bruce Banner go back and forth with the phrase, “peace in our time,” when they were making Ultron. “Peace in Our Time” is the title of the four-chapter arc that leads to the “Planet Hulk” story line.
    • During Banner and Black Widow’s conversation in Hawkeye’s house, Banner mentioned he could never have a family. In Planet Hulk, Banner/Hulk marries Caiera. Caiera accepts both Hulk and Bruce Banner, and fun fact, is the only character to have sex with Hulk. Before she dies, Caiera tells Hulk that she is pregnant with his child.
    • During the same conversation, Banner asks the question, “Where on Earth can I go?” This is a trick question since the answer is not on Earth, but another planet.
    • At the end of the film, Hulk flies off in the Avengers’ Quinjet away from his teammates. This scene is reminiscent of when Hulk was sent off to space by the Illuminati in Planet Hulk but with one major difference, Hulk chose to isolate himself. The movie’s Quinjet however does not have the capability to fly into space so he is most likely still on Earth.

Incredible Hulk Volume 2 Issue #103

My Prediction
With the announcement that Mark Ruffalo will be in Thor: Ragnarok, there are several interpretations that can happen and this is mine:

Banner is found by Thor thanks to Heimdall since he has the ability to see all. With Asgard being a realm of warriors and battles, Thor will invite Banner to battle side by side with him against Asgard’s enemies. After Hulk’s battle with Iron Man’s Hulkbuster, Banner will accept since Asgard will be the only place that Hulk’s strength will be revered instead of feared and Thor is capable of holding his own against Hulk in case he goes berserk. Hulk can even receive the same training he got in Sakaar in Asgard and spar with Thor as part of his training, but there is a problem with this and I will talk more about it in a moment. We have seen Thor travel to different worlds multiple times and this is how Hulk will encounter Caiera in Sakaar. They meet during a battle and this sets up their love story. At some point, between Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War Part I, Caiera will die and it will be linked to Thanos. This will lead to a version of World War Hulk that will want revenge and will lead to an epic fight against Thanos.

What’s Wrong With My Theory
The problem with Hulk having a romantic relationship is that since the Marvel movies started Hulk has only said two lines, “Hulk Smash” from The Incredible Hulk and “Puny god” from Avengers. It would be very sudden for Hulk to have full conversations in Thor: Ragnarok and it will be ridiculous for Caiera to fall for Hulk if all he does is grunt and say one-liners. Hulk is capable of having a normal conversation as seen above when he talks to Charles Xavier, but this can change depending on the writer. It will be difficult to portray Hulk as a warrior that fights strategically since he has been portrayed with a gorilla-like posture since Avengers especially when combined with his grunts. I miss the upright posture from The Incredible Hulk and when he used the car-gloves to fight Abomination (Did the car-gloves really help in the fight? Probably not, but it looked awesome). The biggest problem with my theory is that Marvel can go completely off the comics and do something new with the Hulk. They already did it in Avengers: Age of Ultron with Black Widow and Banner’s relationship. Marvel can also introduce Red Hulk since General Thunderbolt Ross is returning in Captain America: Civil War and this can lead to a different plot line with Hulk.

Why it Needs to Happen
I would like to make it clear that Bruce Banner and Hulk are two separate entities. Hulk is not just an angry Banner, but a manifestation of Banner’s anger. This was made clear in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Hulk was got mad at Iron Man for calling him “Bruce” and Iron Man responded by saying he will stop mentioning “puny Banner.” The movies have also consistently referenced Hulk as “the other guy.” I make this point because it is Banner who has gotten character development in the movies and not Hulk. I have enjoyed Banner’s character development and his relationship with Black Widow, but the few times we have seen Hulk it was mostly just to smash. Long time fans know that Hulk is more than just a green savage that smashes everything. We have already seen a glimpse of this in the movies with his affection towards Black Widow and when he chooses to isolate himself to not be a liability to his teammates.

Incredible Hulk Volume 2 Issue #

Incredible Hulk Volume 2

Caiera would be a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as another strong female character since there are not that many in general (Black Widow, Maria Hill, Gamora, Wasp, the upcoming Captain Marvel and possibly Medusa, if she appears in Inhumans). Compared to the amount of male characters in the MCU, we need more women, especially one that can go toe-to-toe with Hulk in a fist fight and in bed. A love triangle between Black Widow, Hulk, and Caiera would just be awesome to see on the big screen because come on, it’s a love triangle with Black Widow, Hulk, and the only female to ever bare Hulk’s children. Let’s go crazy and even bring back Betty Ross into the mix to make a love square. More importantly, imagine the message Marvel would be sending about “the monster” (meaning Hulk not Banner) finding someone that accepts him for who he is. Let’s throw away society’s conventional views of how one should look to attract someone and be true to who we are, beings of massive strength that loves to smash.

So maybe my theory is pushing it, I might have missed a few things, and you may not agree with me. In the end, I just want to see more of the Green Goliath and I know you do too.

Happy Smashing.


Incredible Hulk Volume 2 Issue #103

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