The Hulk has always had issues in regards to solo films, not having starred in one since his first appearance in The Incredible Hulk. Due to rights issues with Universal, Marvel is unable to use the character for solo ventures. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been able to counteract this discrepancy through his inclusion in team-up films, such as in the Avengers films and Thor: Ragnarok. Mark Ruffalo himself, who portrays Bruce Banner, voiced these frustrations at the 2017 D23 Expo, stating that he believed "A standalone ‘Hulk’ movie will never happen” due to the issues regarding rights. However, a previous rumor claimed that Marvel had managed to acquire the rights back from Universal earlier this year, opening the door for Hulk to star in non-Avengers outings. Ruffalo has now recently revealed a few other interesting tidbits relating to his future in the MCU...
In a recent Variety article discussing Ruffalo's acting career, Ruffalo noted that he was uncertain whether he would appear in future MCU films. Although Ruffalo has met with Marvel to discuss a potential Hulk appearance in the Disney+ series She-Hulk, nothing is concrete at this time. He did reaffirm his interest in the prospects of a solo film, saying:
“There's an idea that I think could be really interesting... We've never really followed him into his life. He's always kind of off on the side. He's like the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the Avengers. It'd be interesting to fill in all the blanks about what happened to him in between all these movies.”
Taika Waititi, director of Thor: Ragnarok and the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, recalled Ruffalo's committed approach to portraying the character of Bruce Banner:
“He puts a lot of prep into everything he does...I was surprised. I thought, ‘Oh well, he's playing Banner and the Hulk — how much work goes into being a screaming monster?' But he took it seriously and wanted to explore the duality of the character.”
WHAT THIS MEANS
From this, it seems as though Ruffalo is still very much committed to getting a Hulk solo movie off the ground. One comment that is particularly interesting is his suggestion of following Banner during a familiar time period, similar in the vein of how Black Widow will take place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. An 'interquel' may provide some more insight into Banner as well as the time period that they choose to focus on. The 5 years following Infinity War is yet to be explored, so a film chronicling this part of the MCU could track Bruce's transition into the 'Smart Hulk' persona that we see in Endgame.
Waititi's comments are also notable, conveying Ruffalo's commitment to the role and ensuring that Bruce Banner is portrayed and presented correctly. Ruffalo's passion for the character may be just the motivation Marvel needs to fast track a new Hulk-focused project.