Although most Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fans are eyeing the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War,” the minds behind the franchise are tackling some tough questions regarding the “Avengers” team up film, “Thor: Ragnarok.” With Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk joining the cast of a standalone movie for the first time, Marvel Studios is reportedly figuring out how drastically the character has changed since his last appearance in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
After exhibiting characteristics that are more human than monster in the actor’s second film outing as the character, it seems the studio heads are hard a work figuring out exactly how far the Banner/Hulk dynamic has shifted since that time. With the anger-fueled hero getting ready to suit up with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in the thunder god's third standalone film, the question is whether the Hulk or Banner will be calling the shots. In addition, many are perplexed with whether or not the Hulk has developed his speech any further.
“It's interesting, because at the moment, there's a big conversation that's happening about how far to push that. Whether or not The Hulk should be [verbal/conscious],” director Taika Waititi told Hitfix, confessing that the decision is for people above him at Marvel Studios. “I think a lot of those conversations have more to do with what's going to come up in future movies.”
For those that need a refresher on the Hulk’s evolving humanity, after he went on a rampage that terrorized a South African city, he then helped stop Ultron (James Spader) before stealing a jet to send himself into seclusion. While the move makes sense for the hero, the fact that the choice to go into exile was made by the Hulk and not his super-genius alter ego was significant.
“He’s on the run. I think that we carry that through. It’s not just a matter of taking himself to some remote place and hiding. Now he’s removing himself from humanity altogether. I’m not sure where we’re going to head with that, but I’m sure that’s probably still very much alive within him,” Ruffalo previously told Ain’t It Cool News in December. “It’s very subtle, but the Banner/Hulk consciousness is beginning to meld a little bit. Who decided to leave? Was it Banner or Hulk? It’s not really in the cinematic mythology of Hulk up until that moment to be that conscious and pro-active.”
Despite the lines between Banner and the Hulk getting more and more blurred, the character in his green form has remained a non-verbal entity in the MCU, with one huge exception. After throttling Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in the first “Avengers” film in 2012, the Hulk spoke for the first time, calling his enemy a “puny god.” The scene was mostly played for comedy and the hero hasn’t spoken a word since, but it established his verbal skills within the franchise’s canon. Now, with his mind warping into something new by the end of “Age of Ultron,” it’s possible the producers will opt to do what so many comic book writers have done in the past and give the Hulk the ability to communicate beyond grunts and punches. As of right now, it seems even the film's director has been told to stand by while Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and others decide how smart they want the Hulk to be when he returns in "Avengers: Infinity War."
Do you want to see the Hulk speak in “Thor: Ragnarok?” Comment below or tweet your thoughts to @TylerMcCarthy before the film hits theaters on Nov. 3, 2017.