The internet was all aflutter after Latino Review claimed that Marvel Studio's "Phase Three," which begins after 2015's The Avengers 2, will include a standalone Hulk movie based on Planet Hulk that will lead up to an Avengers 3 that adapts the World War Hulk storyline. In those stories, Bruce Banner (aka The Hulk, as if you didn't know), was stranded on a dangerous alien planet, winds up conquering it, and returns to Earth to exact revenge on the heroes who betrayed him. It was a juicy rumor, and it made a lot of sense for Marvel Studios, who reportedly want to boost The Hulk's visibility after his popularity gained a huge boost from Mark Ruffalo's performance in The Avengers movie last year. The Planet Hulk rumor is also, according to Avengers and Avengers 2 director Joss Whedon... "nonsense."
In a new interview with IGN, promoting his upcoming Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon responded to the allegations by saying, "Well I’m really not supposed to comment, but no, that’s nonsense."
Ordinarily, when a director debunks a rumor, that would be the end of it, but Joss Whedon did help spread the vicious lie that Phil Coulson wouldn't die in The Avengers, and we all know how that turned out.
Actually, wait a second, we do know how that turned out: Phil Coulson is going to be a recurring cast member on ABC's "SHIELD" television series. Maybe Whedon plays fair after all. These rumors have already been debunked, sort of, so maybe the whole Planet Hulk rumor mill got off to a false start, or maybe it was just an idea being floated around Marvel Studios that never took off. Or maybe it's happening after all, and nobody wants to give out spoilers for movies that are several years down the line. That's how rumors work, after all.
But for now, Joss Whedon says they're "nonsense." What a sensible response. Either way, we're sure we haven't heard the last of this rumor, and it will be at least two or three years before we find out if any of the Marvel Studios superhero movies are moving in that direction.
William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel, co-host of The B-Movies Podcast, co-star of The Trailer Hitch, and the writer of The Test of Time. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.