New details were revealed about The Incredible Hulk sequel that never was, and it sounds like it would have been a blast.
While Robert Downey Jr.'s big debut was a hit, Norton's didn't land so well. It received a lukewarm reception from critics and fans alike and only made $264.8 million worldwide at the box office (compared to Iron Man's $585).
Edward Norton would then go on to be replaced by Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner in 2012 when The Avengers landed. Since then, Hulk has not had another solo project—the original Avenger never got his sequel.
The Amazing Incredible Hulk Sequel That Never Happened
In a new interview with Comicbook.com, The Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier revealed that there were once extensive plans for a proper sequel to the 2008 movie.
The director revealed "there was a whole sequel" in the works that included "Grey Hulk" and "Red Hulks:"
"Yeah there was like a whole sequel... There was like Grey Hulk, Red Hulks – there was a lot of good stuff that we were planning."
Back in 2008, Tim Blake Nelson, who plays the Leader (who is set for his return in Captain America: Brave New World), made it clear that he was up for whatever any possible sequels would have brought to the table:
“... I really do hope [the sequel] happens, for all sorts of reasons. But yeah, we did, we had a great time on ‘Hulk’ together. I’m eager to do ‘Hulk 2’ if they make it... I’m signed on to do 'Hulk 2’ and '3’ whether Edward [Norton's] there or not, so it’s not even up to me... When I agreed to do ‘Hulk,’ I signed off for two sequels, so it’s a moot question. I certainly hope Edward is on the sequel -- but that’s up to Marvel and Edward.”
Even Ty Burrell's Doc Samson could have come back for more. The actor previously teased his sequel pitch, noting that his character might be "trying to cure Bruce [Banner]:"
"My pitch would be that he's trying to cure Bruce — that he's actually trying to help him, and he makes it worse. And it's his ego that kind of causes the trouble... If we see the radiation, then I'll definitely have the longer hair. Maybe we'll have to go with a wig. I don't know. [But I'm] voting for green, for sure!"
In the same interview, Leterrier expressed his interest in making the Leader the villain of the hypothetical Incredible Hulk 2, noting that "there's something unstoppable about him:
"I really love the Leader because there's something unstoppable about him, [but] it's also not the same thing. It's just different. The fact that [Leader] controls stuff with his mind — I just like that. There's an idea here that's more cinematic.'"
Producer Gale Anne Hurd backed up the desire to see The Leader take the villainous spotlight, coining him as "a completely different type of cerebral villain:"
"When I think of all the many, many, many villains in the Hulk universe, we've now done the Abomination, so wouldn't it be great to tackle the Leader? It's a completely different type of cerebral villain, which would give the movie a terrific new take on the character."
Audiences Were Deprived of Grey and Red Hulks
It truly is a shame that not only was there no Incredible Hulk 2, but the character himself couldn't be the focus of any solo projects due to rights being tangled up with Universal.
While the rights situation between the two companies remains unclear, things are looking good. The 2008 movie was recently put on Disney+ for the first time, possibly signaling a shift in the status quo.
The future of the character is looking bright. Over the course of the last year or two, rumors surfaced claiming that a World War Hulk movie was in development.
If true, the project would be the first Bruce Banner-focused story since 2008's The Incredible Hulk.
While that amazing-sounding sequel never happened, it seems like many threads from it will be key elements of Captain America: Brave New World. Not only will Tim Blake Nelson's Leader be returning as the main antagonist, but Harrison Ford's Thunderbolt Ross will almost certainly be transforming into the Red Hulk himself.
Brave New World hits theaters on July 26, 2024.