Fans will always have their own favorites in an ensemble property, but one of the most resounding successes of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers was the film’s depiction of The Hulk. A particularly popular aspect of Banner’s storyline was the relationship between Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk.

Many have wondered if that friendship dynamic will continue to evolve in Iron Man 3. Screen Rant had the opportunity to participate in the press line for the film this past weekend at Comic-Con 2012 where Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige confirmed that we would not be seeing The Hulk in the third installment of the Iron Man franchise.

When we quipped that the last time we had seen The Hulk and Iron Man (in Avengers) they were heading off into the sunset together, Feige joked back:

“I think he was just dropping Bruce off at the Port Authority [bus station].”

But when asked directly if we will see The Hulk make an appearance in Iron Man 3, Feige simply said: “No.”

As to the track they have taken with this film, many fans will be pleased to know that it will indeed be a standalone story and will not become over-bloated in an attempt to tie the itself into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe – a problem which derailed Iron Man 2 quite a bit.

Here is what Feige had to say about the story structure:

“The trick is to not let it get complicated. If you’re a fan of the comics than you’ll know that continuity in the comics can be really interesting and really fun and it can also start to crush under its own weight. ‘Iron Man 3’ is a direct move to prevent that from happening. So it is very much a (director) Shane Black/Tony Stark story.”

Shane Black, RDJ, Don Cheadle, Kevin Feige and Jon Favreau at Comic-Con 2012

Black followed up by saying that he cherishes the opportunity to make an Iron Man film that stands on its own, and can, as such, be more grounded in our real-world environment.

“You ever see the Spider-Man/Hobgoblin arch – I don’t know if you’re familiar with that – it got so continuity heavy that it just collapsed under its own weight. We’d love to be able to do a couple of one-offs where we realize that we can do ‘Cap,’ we can do ‘Thor’ we can do these sort of stand-alone movies that are just as engaging and in some ways just as big as ‘The Avengers’. Then we can rely on ‘The Avengers’ as a tentpole worth coming back to. So I love that we’re doing a stand-alone ‘Iron Man’ movie because it gets to be more real-world with no aliens.”

Black is, of course, the scribe behind one of our most beloved action franchises: Lethal Weapon. When asked if it was liberating for him to step behind the camera and take control of the visual construction of the film’s signature action sequences, he replied:

“It is liberating because you get a degree of compliance on the part of any director in terms of being able to show what you wrote but not always the feel. They don’t always convey it in the way you intended. So this way I can talk with the actor and I can talk with the stunt coordinator and we can get everything just right in terms of what kind of a feeling it’s supposed to leave you with. Having that degree of control is why I decided I wanted to direct instead of just write.”

Look for Iron Man 3 in theatres on May 3, 2013.

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