After a lengthy and very structured lead up to Marvel Studios’ big 2012 release, The Avengers, the future of the film studio is looking up in the air for the first time in a long time. We know that Thor 2 and Captain America 2 are in the works, we know that quite a bit of work has been done preparing Iron Man 3, and there’s even been some talk about Edgar Wright’s Ant Man finally getting made – but what about films for the other members of The Avengers? What about films to introduce new characters who might take part in an Avengers 2? It’s starting to look like the first stages of those plans could be getting put together, with talks that could amount to yet another relaunch of the Hulk franchise.
Whether or not Marvel is seriously considering a third attempt at a modern Hulk solo story is in contention, but what’s clear is that the way early audiences are responding to the character’s involvement in The Avengers has the idea fresh on everyone at the studio’s minds. Both Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Marvel Entertainment’s President of Consumer Products for North America Paul Gitter have commented on the possibility of new Hulk material in recent interviews, but their outlooks on the matter see Marvel sending out a mixed message.
In an interview with The Huffington Post that was published on April 13, Feige commented on the possibility of doing another solo Hulk movie due to new interest being drummed up by The Avengers by saying, “Well, no. This was the other shot. Right? I mean, this was the third appearance of Hulk and everything that we had and were going for, we put in to Hulk’s appearance in Avengers.” He went on to explain, “Where we go next, we’ll see. But we’ll be very careful about it and deliberate—as we were in how we wanted to bring him back in Avengers.”
In an interview that Gitter did with Forbes, which was just published today, he stated that the Hulk character’s “sales are up in a major way,” and went on to claim, “We repositioned him from where he was always misunderstood to now depicting him in a more heroic and aspirational manner.” Gitter further intimated that if the sales of Hulk merchandise continue to rise that the studio, “will spin him off to a stand-alone program next year,” that would be, “supported by a big budget franchise movie in 2015.” That “stand-alone program” is likely the long-in-development television series that’s been set up at ABC. But what of the “big budget franchise movie?” At first glance, many seem to be jumping to the conclusion that he’s referring to a new Hulk solo movie; but that would fly in the face of Feige’s claims that their approach to further Hulk material would be “deliberate.” Might Gitter be referring to plans for positioning The Avengers 2 for a 2015 release?
What do you think? Are the cries around the Internet that Marvel is going to make a Mark Ruffalo-starring Hulk movie just everyone reading too much into Gitter’s comments, or has reaction to Ruffalo’s take on The Hulk in The Avengers resonated so strongly with the overseas audiences that have already seen it that Marvel’s entire strategy surrounding the character has changed in a matter of two weeks? Neither Ang Lee nor Louis Leterrier’s takes on the character performed at the box office the way Marvel wanted them to, but a lot can change after you release one of the biggest damned movies ever. [via The Playlist]