One of the consistent, welcome themes in the buzzy response to early screenings of The Avengers is that between Mark Ruffalo’s performance and Whedon’s handling of the character, Hulk has finally gotten his due on the big screen. While a little bit of between-lines reading suggests the film employs a hellacious third act that elevates a, perhaps, spottier beginning, apparently Bruce Banner’s green alter-ego plays a big, triumphant role in that climax. Naturally this will leave many wondering what they finally did differently that two other films didn’t manage, and especially if this means the character is well set-up for another solo round.
There aren’t any definitive answers in Ruffalo’s interview with Indiewire, but there are a few hints here and there. First of all, in discussing how he and Whedon decided to interpret the character, he mentions that the overall strategy was not to “reboot” the Hulk yet another time, but to keep a sort of natural continuity with what’s come before.
“We kind of felt like, we wanted to just go to the next generation, just take what they’ve done before and keep moving through with it. We came to the Hulk where we left Banner, almost meditating to see if he could start to control when those eyes turn green so you’re like, ‘Oh, maybe he’s going to have some mastery over it.’ We took the last Hulk where he’s meditating and can almost do it and we just made him more mature.”
Meanwhile, as fan reaction started flooding the net after various early peeks, Ruffalo made the common (and often wise) decision to tune out the noise and roll with it, saying, “I promised myself, you know what, I have no control over how people perceive it.”
But obviously what most Marvel fans will want to know is if there’s a discussed possibility of a new Hulk film. The long and short of it is: not yet, but they’ve spitballed.
“There’s been sort of toying around with the idea but no one from Marvel or Universal has mentioned it to me. It’s probably premature. They’re about to make another Captain America and another Thor and another Iron Man. I’m sure a third Hulk is predominately undermined at the moment. But I’d entertain that, definitely for the right story.”
And at the end of the day, no matter how much money Avengers makes and no matter how big the Hulk’s role is, the fact remains that two major Hulk films have done poorly in the last 10 years. Neither managed to make their budget back domestically, and while both probably broke something near even after international, that’s not a strong encouragement for the legendarily tight-fisted Marvel to strike with him again right away. That sounds more like a phase three plan to me. Still, who wouldn’t want to see Ruffalo knock a solo turn out of the park? He’s certainly game with some ideas of his own.
“I think we could do a lot more than anyone’s been able to do because of where the technology is. So something like ‘Planet Hulk,’ you could almost do something like that now. Although it’s mostly Hulk. I haven’t really thought about it… There’s something cool about Bruce Banner, especially in the ‘70s series, moving from place to place and falling in love… I saw this whole kind of funny, interesting thing with Bruce Banner in India and when Hulk came around everyone thought he was a God and they all painted themselves and worshipped him. There’s plenty to do.”
There are more details in the full interview (my favorite part being RDJ’s advice to Ruffalo to just take the role, because they were gonna have so much fun), so check it out and come back and let us know in the comments how soon you’d like to see a new solo Hulk movie, and what you’d want to see from it.