Director Taika Waititi was just at Sundance to screen his newest comedy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, but the relatively obscure New Zealand-born filmmaker is about to break out in a big way with his next movie. Waititi is set to helm Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel in 2017, and though Wilderpeople had enough buzz at the fest, most people were eager to catch up with him at Sundance to ask the director about one of the MCU’s biggest wildcards: the Incredible Hulk.
The big green guy will make an appearance in Ragnarok, and star Mark Ruffalo previously hinted at Bruce Banner’s Jekyll-like alter-ego being a bit more evolved than what we’ve seen in the past. In an interview with HitFix, Waititi mirrored Ruffalo’s statement about the Hulk being a bit more sentient in the third Thor movie.
“It’s interesting, because at the moment, there’s a big conversation that’s happening about how far to push that,” he told them. “Whether or not the Hulk should be [verbal/conscious].”
He continued by explaining that a more responsive Hulk might lead into another Hulk movie:
“I think a lot of those conversations have more to do with what’s going to come up in future movies. So I think a lot of those decisions are larger group decisions, rather than anything to do with just me or the writer. They have a lot of stuff that they have to consider. But I do think that’s the best way to track it. I think we all want that. I think we all want to see that development and the evolution of that character. I also think you can do it in a fun way.”
It’s obvious that even to Waititi, the Hulk is still a bit of an issue for filmmakers coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Someone like Joss Whedon was able to give the Hulk his own moments in the Avengers movies, which people loved.
But the question now is whether to gradually increase the Hulk’s screen-time to ease him into a sequel to The Incredible Hulk, still the least successful entry in the MCU. Before that, Bruce Banner got some screentime in director Ang Lee’s non-MCU movie Hulk, which was also a bit of a box office fiasco.
It should come as no surprise that Kevin Feige and the Marvel braintrust are still trying to crack ways to make the character work “in future movies.” He’s the only Avenger with his own standalone movie that doesn’t have a sequel, and Marvel must want to rectify that as soon as possible.
In the meantime, get ready for Thor: Ragnarok before it hits theaters on November 3, 2017.