Summary

  • Despite being one of the strongest franchise figures and most popular characters in the MCU, Hulk has only had one solo movie in the franchise’s history.
  • Disney’s new update on Marvel’s release schedule may mean that Hulk will appear more in future MCU projects, potentially pushing him back into the spotlight.
  • The new update could also be the opportunity for Marvel Studios to finally give fans the highly-anticipated Hulk solo movie they have been waiting for, potentially adapting the World War Hulk storyline.


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A recent update from Disney surrounding the release schedule of the Marvel Cinematic Universe only worsens a 16-year-long character insult. Despite there only being one Marvel movie releasing in 2024 – at least connected to the MCU – the consensus of the franchise post-Avengers: Endgame is that it has simply been oversaturated. Too many projects have been produced, be it the extensive list of upcoming Marvel movies or the seemingly endless slate of MCU Disney+ TV shows.


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This has caused a greater deal of divisiveness concerning the critical reaction to the MCU than was present in the Infinity Saga. In light of this, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced a change in the way Marvel movies and TV shows will be released going forward. According to Iger, the MCU’s release schedule will slow down drastically, reducing the output of movies and shows and switching to a focus on stronger franchises under the Marvel Studios umbrella. While this may seem like a positive update, it actually worsens a character insult prevalent in the MCU for 16 years.


Hulk Is One Of Marvel’s Strongest Franchise Characters, Yet Only Has 1 Solo MCU Movie

The Incredible Hulk remains the only Hulk-led movie in the entire MCU.

Hulk shouting in Harlem in The Incredible Hulk


The idea that Marvel Studios will focus on the strongest franchises in the MCU going forward certainly makes sense from a business perspective, though it begs the question of which characters exactly it applies to. Concerning the current state of the MCU, it is likely that characters such as Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, and their various team-up connections like the Avengers would apply to Marvel’s new mandate. However, there is one other hero who would count among one of Marvel’s strongest franchise characters were it not for the lack of solo projects in the MCU: the Hulk.


Not only is Bruce Banner/Hulk one of the more popular characters in the sprawling MCU, but he was one of the few Marvel superheroes who still held widespread iconicity before the MCU. The MCU began with characters like Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man, all of whom were not considered among Marvel Comics’ most popular superheroes at the time. One character who was, however, is Hulk. Despite this popularity, Hulk has only received one solo movie in the MCU’s history thus far, 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.


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The reason for this is the complications involving Hulk’s rights with Universal Pictures. However, Marvel Studios has proven adept at avoiding such issues via deals with Sony Pictures for the character of Spider-Man. This makes the lack of Hulk solo movies in the MCU even worse, especially with Disney’s new mandate in play. Committing to stronger franchises is a good idea, but it only sheds more light on the fact that a major Marvel franchise character from even before the MCU has been sidelined since 2008.

Disney’s New Update Likely Means More Hulk In Other MCU Properties

Hulk’s MCU future may look more promising than it has in the Multiverse Saga thus far.

Mark Rufallo as Hulk looking angry and Bruce Banner looking threatening in the MCU


While the solo Hulk movie issue is prevalent in the MCU, Disney’s new update likely means his character will appear more in the future of the franchise. Since Avengers: Endgame, Hulk has only appeared in two live-action MCU Phase 4 or 5 properties: She-Hulk and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The former appearance was a brief guest-starring role, while the latter was a post-credit scene cameo, proving how Hulk has fallen down the pecking order of MCU characters since 2019.


Disney’s new update will likely rectify this, pushing Hulk to be a more central MCU character once again. As alluded to, Hulk is an incredibly popular Marvel character both in terms of the MCU and wider global recognition. If Disney insists that Marvel Studios begin pushing stronger franchises to the fore, it is likely Hulk will be one of the first characters to be thrown back into the spotlight. This will likely be done in the same way his character was handled in the latter stages of the Infinity Saga, with Hulk appearing in guest roles in other MCU properties.


Hulk Appearances In The Infinity Saga After The Incredible Hulk

The Avengers (2012)

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Team Thor (2016 Short Film)

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Captain Marvel (2019)

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Disney’s Release Update Could Finally Give Hulk A Highly-Anticipated MCU Movie

The new Marvel Studios update could be the push a specific Hulk solo movie so desperately needs.


Despite Disney’s release update only worsening the MCU’s insult to the Hulk regarding solo movies, it could also be the push Marvel Studios needs to commit to a Hulk-led project. If the higher-ups of Disney insist that stronger franchises are the focus going forward, it would make sense for the creatives of Marvel Studios to push for a Hulk solo movie. As Marvel Studios did with Sony Pictures and Spider-Man, the studio could strike a deal with Universal Pictures to begin production on a solo Hulk movie that audiences have desired for years: World War Hulk.


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The World War Hulk storyline from Marvel Comics is one of the most popular in the character’s history. This has led to a desire from many for a World War Hulk movie. Not only would this rectify the insult of Hulk being relegated to a side character, but it would bring back the more aggressive, angry nature of Hulk that has been missing from the MCU of late. If Disney truly wishes for stronger franchises to be at the forefront of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the studio need look no further than the Incredible Hulk himself.

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