Ever since Mark Ruffalo took to the stage at San Diego Comic-Con 2010 alongside the full cast of The Avengers and was officially announced to be playing Bruce Banner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans have wondered if and when Ruffalo's Banner would get a chance leading a third Hulk movie. That curiosity turned into legitimate discussion when the Hulk became a fan-fave thanks to The Avengers hitting theaters in 2012 and becoming the third top-grossing film of all-time.
There was just something special to seeing Hulk smashing on Captain America's (Chris Evans) orders and Banner and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sharing lab space and techy banter (the "science bros."). With Ruffalo having signed a six-picture deal with Marvel Studios and The Avengers 1 & 2 writer-director Joss Whedon "believing" in the character - and happy to have him sort of exclusively for The Avengers: Age of Ultron - Ruffalo cannot avoid being grilled on the subject everywhere he makes an appearance.
We already know the Hulk will get even more screen time in his Age of Ultron return and there were rumors in early 2013 that this movie could launch (literally) Hulk into a position where he'd get a Planet Hulk/World War Hulk storyline from the comics and potentially, a new solo movie. That story from the comics essentially involves Hulk losing control and Earth's heroes feeling they have no other choice but to launch him into space. He lands on an alien planet (of a species featured in next month's Guardians of the Galaxy movie, no less) and becomes a gladiator, fighting in a Roman-style arena. Without getting into too much detail, some bad stuff happens and Hulk comes back to Earth on a mission of vengeance.
At the time, Ruffalo and Whedon shot down the rumors, but just last week Ruffalo went on record hinting that Marvel is indeed considering a new Hulk film. Of course, he can't tell us either way even if they were, but chances are Ruffalo and Whedon have a pretty good idea of where Bruce Banner and "The Other Guy" are headed given that producer and Marvel Studios president of production has mapped out the Marvel Cinematic Universe all the way to 2028.
Update: Great timing! Sideshow Collectibles just unveiled on July 2, 2014, a Marvel King Hulk Marvel Premium Format(TM) Figure that is now available for pre-order and begins shipping in July.
Betrayed by those he once called allies, and exiled to the savage alien world of Sakaar, the fearsome Hulk smashed, bled, and conquered his way from slave to gladiator, and then to king. Crowned with a gleaming diadem, the mighty victor finally found peace in his kingdom, until a tragic turn of events brought Hulk's world crashing down once again and set him on a new path of destruction.
Fueled by rage, and stronger than ever before, the volatile King Hulk is out for blood, girded for war in his gladiator attire and spiked armored gauntlet. Wielding a massive broadsword and deadly battle axe, the unstoppable World Breaker returns to seek vengeance and tear the Earth to shreds. Towering almost 30" tall over the cracked and broken streets of New York City, he is the Green Scar, the Eye of Anger, the Hulk... and he has come home.
Click here to see more images and official info from Sideshow Collectibles.
Ruffalo's latest thoughts on the next Hulk movie are that it shouldn't be about Planet Hulk though, but that doesn't mean we can't get something similar or parts of those storylines adapted...