This is an opinion piece on what I believe will happen in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe In regards to their next phase. I already have a fantastic record of “predicting” Marvel future plans by doing lots of research in and out of both comics and Hollywood. I have publicly written articles in the past on Marvel’s future plans to use Infinity Wars as movies, Spider-Man coming to Marvel, Starhawk as Star-Lords Father (this one will still come out to be true). Now onto my next public prediction article on what I think Marvel Studios might do with their phase four movie plans.
Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Three:
Since the very beginning of the Marvel Studios led cinematic universe we’ve only had one real Marvel solo Hulk movie, that came with the rebooted Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton . Edward Norton was a pretty good Bruce Banner, but it was deemed necessary to make a change to the actor when the first Avengers movie was being produced. While not many people had known Mark Ruffalo in the beginning, all that changed quickly with his outstanding performance as Bruce and the Hulk in the first Avengers movie. Many fans have wondered why a Hulk solo movie was never announced for phase two and now phase three as well. My speculation will be that we won’t see the Hulk in a major role till there is a Hulk-centric phase four!
Will there be a Hulk-Centered Marvel Phase Four? How it will happen in the movies / the lead up:
The final time we see Hulk in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, he has taken control of a ship and closes off all communication with the Avengers, leaving the fans wondering where is Hulk going at the end of Avengers 2. Marvel Studios can take two courses of action with this plot set-up. One being that Bruce Banner is going to take a short leave of absence from the team for much needed r & r. Till the next time a code green is called in Captain America: Civil War forcing Black Widow to find him in some hidden cabin in the woods.
Or Marvel Studios can take this great opportunity to begin the first phase of the Planet Hulk storyline by Banner taking a self-imposed exile from Earth. Knowing full well the devastation the Hulk causes around his fellow man and the undeniable truth that Banner now feels he cannot trust even Black Widow from forcing him to become the monster he desperately loathes.
What we know of the comic book story:
In the upcoming phase three films Civil War and Infinity Wars the Hulk is not even a prominent figure in these stories. The Hulk is off fighting the X-Men during Civil War and in the Infinity Gauntlet War, it’s Thor and Adam Warlock who are the real powerhouses of that story while Thanos pretty much makes Hulk look useless.
In the comic books, it is the superheroes most brilliant minds that group together to form The Illuminati. Composed of Professor X, Namor, Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Captain America, Black Panther, Black Bolt and Iron Man. Dr. Strange. The first three being characters Marvel Studios does not own the movie rights to.
The Illuminati secretly sends their friend (Bruce Banner) who is now perminantly changed to the Hulk, into space by tricking him. This leads the Hulk to go mad and start destroying the ship he’s been traveling deep in space with. This causes the ship to veere off course and instead of landing in a secluded paradise planet that the Illuminati found for Bruce, now he has crash landed on a harsh desolate planet Sakaar.
The Hulk is imprisoned by the natives and forced to fight in combat in front of a crowd like a gladiator of old. The Hulk takes command of the planet (of course) and rules this new world with a Queen. That is until the very ship that brought the Hulk to this planet in the first place, explodes its nuclear power core causing the death of his new love. This enrages the Hulk to finally find a way home to exact his revenge on all of Earths superheroes, this is the start of World War Hulk. When the Hulk arrives on Earth he gains the support of a small team of heroes that sympathies with what has happened with Bruce Banner.
The introduction of The Red Hulk, She-Hulk and more!
While the Hulk is in exile, Marvel is going to need some very big heavy hitters for their up coming movies. Captain Marvel will be a welcomed addition to the team but more muscle is needed. That is when an old familiar face will come back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but in a very unexpected way. Good Ol’ General Thunderbolt Ross will return from that very last cameo in the Incredible Hulk movie where Tony Stark tells him about a special group being formed.
This is where we will get The Red Hulk, most likely as early as during the Captain America: Civil War movie! Then I wouldn’t put it past Marvel Studios to bring in Bruce Banners female cousin who eventually becomes She-Hulk. If that’s the case they might as well toss in Red She-Hulk, A-Bomb (Rick Jones), Doc Sampson and Skaar (Hulk’s son from his Queen on Planet Hulk) to round out the rest of the Hulk supporting cast of comic book characters.
World War Hulk
If you think you’ve seen the Hulk angry before, you really have not seen anything yet, as the Hulk rolls past everyone that is tossed at him. In his return to Earth, Hulks main mission is to kick the crap out of the ones who tricked him into going to space in the first place. The Illuminati! Most of the main battle that take place in WWH can take place in the movies, with the exception of the Fantastic Four and Sentry (a powerhouse hero like Superman) if these characters are not brought along just yet. Those guys can easily be replaced with either a Captain Marvel or even Black Panther.
Guardians of the Galaxy vs The Avengers?
One good thing that could come from Planet Hulk would be the opportunity to make a perfect set-up to bring in the Guardians of the Galaxy into the Avengers world! On Planet Hulk there is a battle between Hulk and the Silver Surfer. While we all know that Silver Surfer is part of the Fantastic Four and FOX studios, that can be side-stepped by having the GotG take his place. Instead of there being a Hulk and Surfer battle we could get a Hulk vs Groot or Drax scene. With the GotG helping Bruce Banner out back to earth this is the perfect set-up to getting an Avengers vs. Guardians of the Galaxy movie. If Marvel Studios is smart they can coincide this with a return of Thanos storylines that dominate Marvel comics right before Secret Wars changed everything in the comics.
Could we see Fall of the Hulks?
One of the other storylines we could see on the big screen could be The Fall of the Hulks. Now with all these new Hulk family characters, I don’t see why Marvel Studios wouldn’t do yet another Hulk solo movie in phase four. Bring in MODOK from the Captain America films, the Leader and Abominations return vs. Hulk, Red Hulk, A-Bomb or Doc Sampson also. As the world is hulking out this could make for one intense action movie.
Could we see the creation of The New Avengers feat. Spider-Man?
The final step to having a Hulk-centric phase four will be the unvailing of The New Avengers. It would be perfect if FOX Studios would finally play ball and borrow out Wolverine for this team but I just don’t see that ever happening. Even though a killer team featuring Captain America (or either Falcon / Winter Soldier), Iron Man (or War Machine), Spider-man, Red Hulk, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man! This one I’m not going to try and predict. I’m just taking a wild guess on this last one.