Director Taika Waititi explains how elements of the Planet Hulk comic book were integrated into the actual plot of this year’s Thor: Ragnarok. Love for that particular comic book – and its popular animated adaptation – which centers around Hulk bcrash landing on a foreign planet where he becomes a gladiator champion – has had fans begging Marvel Studios to find some way to insert it into one of their films for years.
With Marvel unwilling or unable to make their own standalone Hulk movie – something that Mark Ruffalo thinks will never happen – the studio found another way of bringing it to life on the big screen by combining the Planet Hulk storyline with the Ragnarok storyline in their upcoming third Thor film. So, with a plot like that – which was already going to be difficult to get right to begin with – the addition of a singular artist like Taika Waititi as the film’s director only made Thor: Ragnarok that much more of a Frankensteinian combination of film and comic book inspirations.
While speaking with IGN recently, Waititi opened up about what the process of incorporating elements from the Planet Hulk storyline into the film was like and how he managed to do that, while also working with Marvel to make sure it had the same sensibilities as his previous work:
“I was just trying to inject my tone and sensibility into it, and then those guys who actually know the comics came in and were like, ‘Let’s just push it in this direction back here. Korg and Miek, who are two characters from Planet Hulk, there’s that stuff. One difference is we have the Grandmaster ruling Sakaar instead of the Red King, and so there’s those things, but I don’t really pay that much attention to it.
I’m trying to create cool characters and tone and story instead of it has to be totally authentic to the comic because I think that’s when you run into trouble when you can’t be creatively free to adjust things.”
Indeed, while Thor: Ragnarok won’t be completely adapting the Planet Hulk storyline from the comics – presumably picking up with the character when he’s already an established champion on Sakaar – it’ll still be faithful enough to make fans happy. That’s not much of a surprise, though, considering that’s a formula that Marvel has managed to nail time and time again over the past nine years.
So far, the reactions to all of the footage from the film, specifically the latest Thor: Ragnarok trailer, has been overwhelmingly positive, which means that one of Marvel’s riskiest gambles could also just be one of its biggest successes yet. It’s just the latest film from the studio that has had a distinguished and well-respected filmmaker at its helm, with Waititi already having an established comedic filmography up until this point, and as such, looks like one of the comic book genre’s more unique films. The fact that it also manages to bring to life (mostly) a comic book storyline fans have been waiting years to see on the big screen, is more or less, just the cherry on top.
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