Imagine being Marvel Studios in a world where they have two staple Avenger characters that haven’t had any real live action success. That world is this world and those two characters are Thor and Hulk.
Hulk is…complicated. Marvel Studios owns the rights to the character but they do not own the rights to distribution of films where Hulk is the main character or in the title. That power still resides at Universal, and they have no intention of giving it up. This means that any profits made from a Hulk movie are being cut right out of the gate. Why would Marvel Studios fund a movie for one of their characters and then just give free money to Universal right out of the gate? So what is the solution for this problem? Get ready, we are about to ride a speculation train.
I have been sitting on this idea since it was announced that Hulk would be appearing in Ragnarok. I fully believe that there was a really great World War Hulk script floating around Marvel Studios offices that they loved but didn’t want to use because of the distribution rights issue. All they needed was a way to get this story into a movie that they would reap the full rewards of. Enter Thor.
Marvel Studios has known for years that Thor’s next movie would be almost entirely off-Earth since The Dark World left us in a place where Odin was missing and Loki was on the throne and all they would need to do was have Loki/Odin get Thor out of Asgard and into the domain of Hulk (who has been taken from Earth under unknown circumstances but I’m guessing The Collector is involved) so that they could take the opportunity to input pieces of their awesome Hulk script while keeping it a Thor movie. This means that they get to do the story that everyone has wanted for years and they don’t even have to pay Universal for it.
So let me know how you feel about this. Does the thought of Hulk playing second fiddle in his own story annoy you or are you just happy to get a Thor and Hulk team movie out of it?