The worst part about this latest information is that it will mean that El Mayimbe was at least partially right. Dagnabbit!
The Latino Review scribe was the one who started the rumor in February of last year that the Hulk would be featured in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Planet Hulk/World War Hulk storyline from the comics would be the basis of of the film story. The rumor was almost immediately refuted by Ain’t It Cool News, but was so powerful that it still held enough sway that Mark Ruffalo felt the need to debunk in once again as recently as yesterday.
However, this most recent denial from Ruffalo was too much for HitFix’s Drew McWeeny. See, McWeeny paid a visit to the set of The Avengers: Age of Ultron and what he saw did not exactly jibe with what Ruffalo was saying, and it bothered him so much that, confidentiality agreement be damned, he felt compelled to say something. So, he did.
(See update below for clarification.)
Now, McWeeny felt the need to reveal where the Hulk is at the end of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Since I am going to be discussing as well, I think it calls for one of these:
And, since I want to be sure that you know what you are getting into, let me hit you with that again:
So, apparently McWeeny saw Bruce Banner’s final fate in The Avengers: Age of Ultron during his set visit. And this is what it is:
Without giving away why and how, let’s look at the state of things for Bruce Banner at the end of “Age Of Ultron.” Banner continues to play a key role in things in this movie, and when the final war with Ultron spills onto the battlefield and out of the virtual realm, he has a major part to play. Unfortunately, that ends with him onboard a Quin jet on his way off the planet, with no way to immediately turn things around. He’s going to have to ride out the trip. It’s pre-programmed and he can’t stop it.
I am immediately willing to discount this whole thing just because McWeeny doesn’t know that “Quinjet” is one word.
As any savvy comic fan knows, that is pretty much how the Planet Hulk storyline begins in the comics. I bet El Mayimbe is happy!
And look, he is!
However, McWeeny is quick to burst that particular bubble, by giving his own, non-Planet Hulk theory on how Banner’s exile will work out.
Here’s where I’d wager his spaceship is headed: wherever the Guardians of the Galaxy are located. If I was a betting man, I’d say there will be no Hulk solo film as part of Phase Three. Instead, Banner’s ship will take him to another planet, where he will end up meeting the Guardians and having an adventure with them. Hulk will definitely come out to play a few times. I suspect we’ll see some sequences that very much feel like they’re part of the Planet Hulk story, but that the larger story will be about the Guardians finding a way to get Banner home, only to end up going with him. That would move a big piece of the puzzle into place to get Thanos looking back at the Earth in time for the third “Avengers” film.
McWeeny’s theory does makes sense. Ruffalo has a lot of films to burn through and him being in GotG 2 will add another film. It will also add star power to the sequel, and provide a bridge between Marvel’s Earthbound heroes. But while Marvel supposedly has a plan until 2028, they typically don’t announce a sequel until they get a box office from the current film. I don’t think GotG2 is a done deal quite as of yet.
And, of course, there are could be other ways Marvel can go from here, everything from a pure Planet Hulk adaptation to a way to introduce the Inhumans into the Cinematic Universe. Also, just throwing this out there, this scene could have been a fake scene shot for McWeeny’s benefit as a test by Marvel if he would say anything. And, of course, now that this scene is out there, Marvel might decide to scrap it and go elsewhere since the surprise is gone. The possibilities are endless.
However, if either El Mayimbe’s or McWeeny’s theories are correct, it might be another sign that we are entering a dark period of creativity for Marvel Studios. You get the feeling that Marvel doesn’t believe that the “Hulk being a hunted man” storyline will no longer bear any fruit, even though The Incredible Hulk TV series ran for years on that very premise. But the Hulk is still one of Marvel’s most recognizable properties. Having to wait for an Avengers flick to see the character is bad enough. Having the next time we see him after that be once again as an ensemble player or the lead in a gladiatorial epic seems to be at best very risky or at worse, deadly for the character.
More should be clear as the weeks and months progress.
Drew McWeeny sent us an e-mail to clarify some confusion I had pertaining to his post:
The information I revealed about the fate of the Hulk in “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” was not something I learned during my set visit, nor did I say “confidentiality agreement be damned.” I did not discuss anything I saw during my trip to London. My own sources supplied me with my information about the end of the film, and I am 100% confident of its accuracy.
Please take this into account when considering my post above.