Now that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a bonafide hit (both at the box office and among reviewers), attention now turns to the final “Phase 2″ Marvel movies – Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. No doubt, with the announcement of Captain America 3, along with rumors of a Doctor Strange movie, the studio has far-reaching plans (all the way to 2028) but before fans get worked into a frenzy over the new adventures we might see in “Phase 3″ and beyond, the studio is still busy preparing two of its most ambitious projects to date.
For now, Guardians of the Galaxy is locked away in post-production and we’re at the mercy of the official marketing machine; however, thanks to a steady stream of set photos and interviews with the ensemble cast, production on The Avengers: Age of Ultron continues to provide intriguing details along with some downright silly glimpses behind the scenes. As a result, it should come as no surprise that today we’re privy to an exciting confirmation as well as tongue-in-cheek antics on The Avengers 2 set.
Speaking with Nuke the Fridge at last week’s WonderCon, former Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno confirmed that he is returning to voice the mighty green “other guy” in The Avengers sequel. While the confirmation shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, especially to viewers who already knew that Ferrigno voiced the character in several animated films as well as The Incredible Hulk (where he got to say “Hulk Smash”) and The Avengers (where he was responsible for the character’s grunts and roars), there was always the possibility that Joss Whedon would simply alter the voice of Bruce Banner, and Hulk motion capture, actor Mark Ruffalo – as he did with the “Puny God” line in the prior film.
It’s unclear at this point what exactly “voicing” the character indicates and the source report doesn’t provide any context for what the actor might have been saying. Does Ferrigno just mean that he’s just supplying monster noises again – since Ruffalo was responsible for the Hulk’s dialogue in The Avengers – or will Ferrigno be expanding his duties and supplying the character’s entire audio track? Most likely, the comment is simply confirmation that he’s back for select vocals with Ruffalo being utilized for the “speaking” parts. After all, the design for The Avengers‘ Hulk was based on Ruffalo’s appearance, facial expressions, and movement – because Whedon wanted the audience to see the man inside the monster. For that reason, it wouldn’t have been a complete shock if the director had decided that including Ferrigno’s voice in The Avengers: Age of Ultron (at all) would be more trouble than it is actually worth. Nevertheless, Ferrigno (and his recent contributions to the character) are a fun nod to fans that remember the good old days of Bill Bixby’s David Bruce Banner paired with Ferrigno, a Brooklyn body-builder, painted head-to-toe in green make-up.
Given the character’s scene stealing line in The Avengers, moviegoers will likely be hoping to hear Ferrigno and Ruffalo get a few more opportunities to flex vocal chords in Age of Ultron – especially since the first movie implied that Banner was beginning to gain some control over his monstrous alter-ego. That said, anyone familiar with the Mean Green Machine will know that a chatty Hulk probably isn’t in the cards, yet (at least not until the oft-rumored Hulk solo film sequel). Still, Whedon is a major fan of the character, as evidenced by his ability to turn one of Marvel’s least successful live-action protagonists into an Avengers scene-stealer, so there’s plenty of reason to expect that whatever the filmmaker has written into the script for Ruffalo and Ferrigno, it should be memorable.
In other Hulk news, Mark Ruffalo recently tested the boundaries of super-secret Marvel movie making – by tweeting out set photos along with cohort Robert Downey Jr. (who recently joined the social network service).
Unlike bystander shots that revealed key details about what viewers will get to see in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ruffalo’s photos are a harmless and fun glimpse behind the scenes – but that didn’t stop the official Marvel twitter account from trying to put a lid on their Bruce Banner.
Check out the full series of tweets below (including two from Robert Downey Jr.):
Today was the first day of shooting "Age Of Ultron" when all of the Avengers we reassembled! Awesome sight! @Marvel— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) April 23, 2014
@MarkRuffalo Maaaarrrrrrrk.— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) April 23, 2014
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) April 23, 2014
I'm sorry @marvel. I will be better. I'm like your black sheep Avenger.— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) April 23, 2014
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) April 23, 2014
Aside from finding out that Downey Jr. will wear a shiny purple jacket (and has the shortest cast chair), the pair’s photos don’t offer substantive details – especially since Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) moves too quick for casual snapshots. Still, it’s fun to know that when The Avengers cast assembles, they still have a good time on set – in spite of all the pressure (and potential for A-lister egos).
Following his run-in with the Marvel twitter account, Ruffalo hasn’t posted any new photos or set details but it’s probably only a matter of time before the actor tests the line again (or gets an official go-ahead from PR) and drops more tongue-in-cheek glimpses at life in the Age of Ultron production.
After all, he can only contain the Hulk for so long, right?
Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters on August 1, 2014, with The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6, 2016, as well as unannounced films for July 8 2016 and May 5, 2017.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on The Avengers: Age of Ultron as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.