It’s been hard to pin down exactly what’s going on with Mark Ruffalo and his character, Bruce Banner, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers: Age of Ultron saw the Hulk going into hiding, stealing a quinjet after the climactic battle and taking off for parts unknown. Fans have wondered where he might pop up next in the interim, but now we might have an answer: Mark Ruffalo may join the cast of 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, according to JoBlo.
JoBlo’s report suggests Ruffalo would join the third (and potentially final) Thor movie in a major supporting role. If true, that’s a curious direction to take the character. The Chris Hemsworth-helmed Thor flicks, while based at least partially on Earth, tend to spend quite a bit of time in mythical Asgard and other various legendary realms. It’s possible that Ruffalo will stay planetside, but it’s also possible we’ll see him tear it up as the Hulk in the battlegrounds of the Nine Realms.
Of course, this rumor is already fueling speculation – as any tidbit of news involving the Hulk always seems to – that Marvel is setting up Banner to spin-off into another solo outing based on one of the characters’ most popular stories in recent memory, “Planet Hulk.” That 2006 story, written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan and Aaron Lopresti, saw the Hulk accidentally exiled to a hostile planet where he’s forced to become a gladiator, eventually toppling an entire planetary government (think Spartacus in space). It’s often one of the first stories people toss out when they’re talking about stories a Hulk solo movie could tackle – and with good reason; it’s a great story. The MCU’s Asgardians are essentially high-tech space aliens, so it’s not totally insane to use that as a jumping-off point if that’s the direction they’re headed.
All that said, take this with a big grain of salt until we get some more concrete confirmation. The rumor du jour a couple months back was that Ruffalo would play a role in May’s Captain America: Civil War, but that ended up being untrue. It’s entirely possible that Ruffalo won’t return until Avengers: Infinity War – Part One, due out in 2018.[via JoBlo]