For months now, speculation has swirled around the rumor that Hulk will appear in Marvel’s THOR: RAGNAROK in some fashion, especially since CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is already too packed full of heroes to make room for the big green meanie. Now a new rumor has surfaced that explains the Hulk’s absence over the next few Marvel movies and his reappearance in late 2017. Keep in mind that the script for the third THOR outing is currently being worked on by Christopher Yost (THOR: THE DARK WORLD), Craig Kyle, and Stephany Folsom, and that director Taika Waititi might punch up the film’s comedy a bit, so all story elements are in a state of flux.
That being said, Geek.com has a delightful theory that delves into the comic book history of both Hulk and Thor, one that, if their sources are legitimate, could bring two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most powerful heroes to blows. We’ve seen these two go at it in THE AVENGERS, but if this rumor pans out, fans can expect a wildly different scene in THOR: RAGNAROK. Let’s get into it.
Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner/Hulk, has been pretty chatty about THOR: RAGNAROK even though he hasn’t read the unfinished script just yet. In addition to describing the film as a “universal road movie” and the relationship between Thor and Hulk as being cast in the mold of MIDNIGHT RUN, Ruffalo has also described his character as one that’s starting to merge the personalities of the uncontrollable Hulk and the scientifically minded Banner. These tidbits, coupled with the banishing/disappearance of the Hulk at the end of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON and unsubstantiated rumors of a standalone “Planet Hulk” have all coalesced into this new theory. Potential spoilers follow.
Geek.com’s sources state that, in THOR: RAGNAROK, Chris Hemsworth’s title hero will get wise to the devious plans set forth by Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Cate Blanchett’s Hela, but he catches on too late. The villains somehow manage to destroy Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and banish the prince from Asgard, which sets up the journey that Thor must undertake. This banishment, and his resulting quest, drops him squarely on the alien world of Sakaar (referenced heavily in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY), a world in which Thor has his head shaved and is forced into gladiatorial combat in order to survive. Even without his hammer, Thor is able to best his opponents, at least until he fights his way to the arena champion: Hulk. From there, the theory goes that Banner’s recollections of his time cooperating with Thor will lead the two heroes to team up once again – after an entertaining skirmish, one would hope – in order to secure some sort of powerful weapon/MacGuffin that will help them defeat Loki and Hela.
This train of thought follows the rumors that we’ve been hearing lately to their logical conclusion, but there’s still little if any official news backing any of it up. This take on the plot would certainly be a great way for Marvel to include their “Planet Hulk” storyline in THOR: RAGNAROK without devoting resources (and possibly infringing on copyright claims) for a standalone HULK movie. It’d also be fun to see these two tangle again before buddying up in a road-trip adventure, but we’re still a long way away from the November 3, 2017 release. Perhaps the most shocking part of all of this would be for Thor to lose his long, flowing locks! (Oh, and the hammer, too, I guess.)