Monday, July 21, 2014

Kevin Feige and James Gunn Comment on Plant Hulk, Guardians Team-up Rumors

The rumors of an upcoming Marvel film even loosely-adapted from the Planet Hulk story arc have been circulating for a couple of years. After the jump check out what Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and director James Gunn have to say about its potential.

Not long ago Hitfix's Drew McWeeney, fed up with the constant denials from Marvel about a Planet Hulk film, decided to open a can of worms by revealing that Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner will be, for reasons he chose not to reveal, SPOILER, highlight text to reveal, sent into space aboard a Quinjet in the finale of next summer's Avengers: Age of Ultron. As this story goes on, I'm going to be less delicate with the spoilery stuff, so read ahead at your own risk.

When asked by IGN about possible future Hulk-centric installments in the MCU, specifically a Planet Hulk adaptation which would take the focus off of Mark Ruffalo's Banner and put it all on the Jade Giant, Kevin Feige gave a simple response that seemed to reward the reporter's cleverly-worded question: "Well that's why there are no plans for Planet Hulk anytime soon." This is not the first time we've heard this answer from Feige. The studio knows that fans loved Ruffalo's portrayal of Banner in The Avengers and that something like Planet Hulk, which would put the focus on the Hulk and not Banner, might not be as well-received by fans and be a waste of the actor's talent, although he does seem to be embracing the motion-capture technology working with Andy Serkis while filming Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Feige went on to explain a little further why Planet Hulk, though a "cool" story, might not be the route down which Marvel chooses to go:
"I think what's cool about the Planet Hulk story is it's all Hulk," he said. "He's a gladiator, he's fighting all these creatures on another world. Yes, some of those creatures show up in [Guardians of the Galaxy], which makes people think, 'Oh, maybe it could exist.' And maybe it could exist, someday. I don't think that's the first place we would go though for the very reason that you stated, which is, if we were ever able to do a standalone Hulk movie, 60 percent of the fun would be seeing Mark Ruffalo leading a Marvel movie -- and that's what we would do if we ever went down that road."
 So while Feige is ruling out a Planet Hulk adaptation in the near future, he certainly seems to like the idea and is not saying never. Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn, did a little less tip-toeing in his interview with The Playlist. When asked about the rumor, which came from McWeeney's speculation about what Banner/Hulk might do once he ends up in space, Gunn answered bluntly, "I can answer that question very easily: it is absolute, 100% bullshit." Gunn continued, "It feels like a great relief to finally say this after all the dumb stuff on the Internet." And with that, I feel confident putting to rest any rumors that the Guardians will team up with Hulk.

On a roll, Gunn went on, addressing the Planet Hulk rumors along the way:
There's not going to be a 'Planet Hulk' movie, there was never going to be a 'Planet Hulk' movie, there was never a plan for the Hulk to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy – I wouldn't want the Hulk to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy! And it's all a bunch of complete bullshit."
Gunn went on to give his interpretation of the genesis of the Planet Hulk rumors, citing the inclusion of Sakaraan's into Guardians of the Galaxy as replacements for the Fox-owned Badoon, and really seemed relieved to be able to get this information out to the public. However, it's very clear that Gunn was familiar with McWeeney's story and it's very clear that while he was happy to clear up a boatload of misconceptions, he chose not to address the idea of Banner/Hulk in space and declare it bullshit as well. Gunn would know. It's highly likely that he's being groomed as Joss Whedon's successor as Godfather of the Marvel Universe as Whedon's deal with Marvel expires in June of 2015. When asked point blank by Bad Ass Digest's Devin Faraci if he would be directing Avengers 3, Gunn's response walk away. Once again, it's more important to look at what Gunn didn't say. The easy answer there would be,  "no." But Gunn didn't say that. You have to believe Gunn is very careful about what he says and doesn't say given his recent statement that he'll never lie to fans.

All of this began with El Mayimbe's report that Marvel was planning a Planet Hulk film. Drew McWeeney's was a corroboration of El Mayimbe's information. It is my belief that both of these gentlemen have gotten the information they say they did. While I can't be sure whether or not Marvel will make a Planet Hulk film or that a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel will feature a team-up with the Hulk, I'm sure that neither El Mayimbe or Drew McWeeney are full of it. These guys have legitimate sources which they have vetted. They've proven to be correct far more often than not and they believe 100% in the info they've passed along.  Keep in mind that the only part of the story McWeeny passed along as fact was Banner getting shot into space. He clearly stated that the rest, including the Guardians team up, was his speculation. I'll also say that Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has a proven track record of NOT lying to fans AND calling things how he sees them, so when he says something is "bullshit" it probably is. So, it seems like things are a bit of a debacle for the time being, but let's take a step back and take a closer look at things.

First of all, neither Gunn nor Feige are denying that Banner will end up in space. If James Gunn were to say, "No that's bullshit, Banner will NEVER end up in space," then I'd believe it, but he isn't saying that. And neither is Kevin Feige. Both of those gentlemen are extremely sharp and know all the rumors floating around, they've heard about Drew's report. If they wanted to say Banner will never end up in space, they'd say so. But they aren't and until they do, I will keep an open mind in regards to Drew McWeeney and El Mayimbe's reports. We have to keep in mind that while Planet Hulk is the most well-known Hulk-in-space story, it's by no means the only one. If Banner does in fact end up in space as is being reported, there are a handful of other directions in which that could go, the least of which could have to do with the fact that Ultron's consciousness is going to be aboard that same ship. It's times like these when it's healthy to reflect upon the fact that while we all like to play at knowing what Marvel has up its sleeve, we can't really be sure. There are so many stories and so many variables (rights to characters, for instance) that we can only guess...unless we have information that takes guessing out of the picture. As for me, I'm going to keep reading between the lines and seeing what the powers that be choose not to say and thinking it might be as important as what they do say.

Sources: The Playlist, IGN,