As a comic book character, The Hulk is a pretty interesting creation. Most Marvel heroes have a well-established place in the company’s overarching storyline; despite deviations and alterations here and there, the general persona of guys like Captain America and Spider-Man are well-defined. The Hulk is one who has been mutated (pun intended) many times over the years to be hero, villain, anti-hero, unwitting antagonist, and more.
Even on screen the Hulk has been relatively fluid, if not quite as all over the place as his comic appearances, with three major incarnations over the past decade, played by Eric Bana, Edward Norton, and Mark Ruffalo. Prior to Ruffalo’s appearance in The Avengers, the big-screen Hulks have been marginally successful, with varying degrees of fan appreciation.
The Avengers is doing so well, however, that the Hulk may have another shot at the big screen.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said just a couple weeks ago that the character probably wasn’t going to get another film of his own. The Huffington Post asked him about giving the Hulk “another shot,” to which Feige replied,
Well, no. This was the other shot. Right? I mean, this was the third appearance of Hulk and everything that we had and were going for, we put in to Hulk’s appearance in “Avengers.” So, I love that people are saying that and are feeling that way about Hulk, but mission accomplished at this point. And the way we go forward, we’ll see. But it was a long road to get to this point. … But we’ll be very careful about it and deliberate — as we were in how we wanted to bring him back in “Avengers.”
But today there is a piece in Forbes in which Marvel’s Paul Gitter, aka the company’s President of Consumer Products, suggests otherwise. Gitter says Marvel is “pleasantly surprised by the phenomenal response” to the current incarnation of the Hulk.
His sales are up in a major way. We repositioned him from where he was always misunderstood to now depicting him in a more heroic and aspirational manner.
Gitter wants to sell Hulk as a new corporate icon, and says that if the trend of popularity for the character continues, Marvel will take advantage of it, “[spinning] him off to a stand-alone program next year,” with a new movie in 2015.
What a difference two weeks and a weekend of successful international box office can bring. And while Kevin Feige, as president of Marvel Studios, may seem like he has the last word on whether or not a movie gets made, you can bet that if Marvel sees a big opportunity to sell a character like the Hulk, they’re going to seize it. (Gitter calls franchise moves “big commercials in the sky,” which should make the whole process pretty clear.)