The Incredible Hulk is the forgotten child of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Many people to this day forget that it is indeed still canon despite Bruce Banner being portrayed by Edward Norton. The only character that managed to continue on and grow in the MCU (besides Banner obviously) is William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross. Seeing him reprise the role as the now U.S Secretary of State in Civil War was definitely a treat for long time MCU audiences. Unfortunately, this is the only narrative thread that lived on from The Incredible Hulk. The film may seem to be forgotten by the studio, but not by these same long time fans. There are many unanswered questions left by the film that the studio is showing no signs of answering any time soon. The abomination was taken into custody, but by exactly who and where to? Did Samuel Sterns survive the effects of his new large head and take the first steps of becoming the notorious Hulk villain- The Leader? Crave recently sat down with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and addressed similar questions.
Fans should be aware that there are specific reasons as to why Marvel has left these threads untied. There has not been another stand alone Hulk film due to complications with the character’s film rights. This is the reason why Hulk gets a significant amount of focus in the films that he is allowed to be featured in. Feige further explains in the interview:
There are complicated issues in regards to a solo, standalone film. There are certain rights that Universal has, certain rights that we have, there are certain rights that we share. So that when he’s included in an ensemble, like he was in Ragnarok and Avengers, that’s fine. And standalone Hulk film, there are issues that need to be addressed with Universal.
He was then asked if this situation is trickier than the former legal negotiations with Sony on bringing Spider-Man into the MCU. He claimed that this situation is quite different, but added that he sees potential with there being resolution in the future.
Conversation eventually turned to the loose ends left by The Incredible Hulk. When asked if he remembers when the film set up Samuel Sterns as The Leader- he simply replied with “Yes”. Do not worry for that is not all that he said. These characters are not necessarily forgotten, but possibly being saved for the perfect time to be brought back.
It is an embarrassment of riches of places we could go or characters we could reprise or bring back now that we’re… I think Ragnarok is our seventeenth MCU film. And you would be surprised how many… it’s come up. It’s come up. Just finding the right place. And as I said, if you can’t do it right, don’t do it or do it later, and the notion of “Hey, I’m here too! Next!” is not interesting to us. Abomination is in a prison somewhere too.
Even if one is truly upset about not seeing The Leader or Abomination again on screen- they must admit that the perfect time for them to return has not really come yet. One could make the argument that they could have been teased in the background as Easter eggs at least. Would this really serve the villains the respect they deserve though? They are top tier Hulk villains in the comics after all. The MCU is not the same since the early days of its phase 1. If these characters were to make a come back, it would not be until phase 4 at least. The universe has simply not had time to give them a proper reintroduction in the films leading up to Infinity War. Feige himself is even hopeful to there being eventual resolution between the studio and Universal over Hulk’s screen rights. Whenever that day comes, these characters surely will not be overlooked. If this option does took too long to reach fruition, it would not be surprising if they reappear in some film featuring the “Masters of Evil”. The ringleader of this team, Zemo, is still alive after all.
Source: Crave Online
Stay tuned for more updates on the MCU leading up to the release of Black Panther next February- Andrew J. Salazar (@yokis101 on Twitter)