Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk is the only standalone Hulk movie in the MCU so far, and that’s because Marvel never had complete control over the character’s rights. Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is one of the original six Avengers, and the character has appeared in every Avengers movie since then. He also popped up in Thor: Ragnarok. That’s how Marvel told the Hulk story without actually giving Ruffalo his own standalone film. As a reminder, Edward Norton played Bruce Banner and the Hulk in the first MCU Hulk movie. But that might change soon. An exciting leak says Marvel will start production of the World War Hulk movie next year in preparation for a 2023 or 2024 release.
If that’s accurate, then fans will finally get the film they’ve been asking for. Mind you, some Marvel spoilers might follow below.
Bruce Banner’s story isn’t done
The arcs of several original Avengers concluded in Endgame. But Hulk’s story felt incomplete, considering what we had just seen. Banner and Hulk might have reconciled their differences, becoming the new Smart Hulk in the process. And this is the Hulk who was critical in perfecting the time travel machine and snapping everyone back into existence.
But Banner’s work with the Hulk happened off-camera. And the action scenes were more limited than we had expected. We never even got to see the Hulk vs. Thanos (Josh Brolin) rematch that we expected. And there was no real conclusion to the Nat-Bruce love story from the previous Avengers films. Then again, Marvel movies can’t deliver everything we want.
We weren’t sure what would happen to Hulk after Endgame. But when Marvel announced the She-Hulk, it was practically a given that Hulk would cameo. You can’t have another Hulk film without the Hulk we all love. That was enough to give fans hope that more Hulk stories would follow.
Then came the mind-blowing credits scenes in Shang-Chi. They tell us that the Avengers organization is very much still in business despite the significant losses in Endgame. Also interesting is the fact that we see Bruce Banner as an acting Avenger rather than Smart Hulk. Somehow, Banner decided to go back to his human form. And once again, it happened off-screen.
World War Hulk movie
Could a single movie explain all of that? We have no idea what World War Hulk might have to offer, but The GWW claims the project is in development. The movie will follow the events of the She-Hulk series, which is yet to get a Disney Plus release date.
The GWW speculates that Marvel and Disney must have regained rights to the Hulk from Universal Pictures in order for World War Hulk to happen. We won’t know for certain until Kevin Feige & Co. announce the project. The upcoming Disney Plus Day might very well be the kind of event where Marvel could announce release dates for future movies and TV shows.
It’s unclear whether World War Hulk will be the film’s final name, but there’s a Hulk comic storyline with the same title. In the comics, Hulk comes back to Earth for revenge after being banished by the Illuminati.
That’s a lot to unpack right there. First of all, Hulk already left Earth in Age of Ultron and then returned in Infinity War. Secondly, the Illuminati is a group of superheroes that hasn’t yet been introduced. Rumors say they will appear in Doctor Strange 2. But those Illuminati will appear in a separate timeline, not the primary MCU reality.
While you wait for World War Hulk news, you can rewatch all of Hulk’s adventures in the MCU. Here’s our guide on how to watch Hulk smash things in chronological order.