Marvel Studios may be inching closer to finally giving fans a proper World War Hulk live-action movie. After appearing as a co-star in several Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Mark Ruffalo's version of the Jade Giant is rumored to headline a World War Hulk film, adapting the Marvel comic event of the same name. If this rumor turns out to be true, we could see World War Hulk join either Phase 4 or 5 of the MCU.
Geeks WorldWide reports the MCU's World War Hulk is scheduled for a production start date in 2022, with a likely release window in the later half of 2023 or the beginning of 2024. This would slot the film into one of the many untitled release dates Marvel Studios has secured for itself, even with its ever-evolving lineup seeing a number of changes. For example, a number of upcoming Phase 4 films recently had their debut dates pushed back, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Marvels and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
One of the major sticking points for Marvel Studios developing a Hulk-centered feature film had to do with the character's film rights. Universal Pictures has held the rights to any Hulk movies, with the last one coming in 2008's Incredible Hulk. The belief was if Marvel decided to work on a film featuring the Hulk as the lead, the studio would have to share profits with Universal. However, the rumor of a 2022 start date for World War Hulk possibly means Universal has lost the rights, which means they would revert back to Marvel. Another example is the Netflix slate of street-level characters (Daredevil, Punisher, Kingpin, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist) returning to Marvel after having their rights at the streamer.
Marvel's World War Hulk storyline came on the heels of Planet Hulk, which took the gamma-radiated hero to space. Of course, fans got to see a glimpse of that play out in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok when Hulk faced the God of Thunder on Sakaar. As for World War Hulk, Bruce Banner's alter ego returned to Earth determined to deliver revenge against his friends in the hero community who tried to exile him to the cosmos.
Mark Ruffalo is set to reprise his role as Bruce Banner/Hulk in the She-Hulk Disney+ series. Tatiana Maslany is playing Hulk's cousin Jennifer Walters, with Tim Roth reprising his Incredible Hulk role as Abomination. Coincidentally, both Bruce Banner and Abomination had surprising appearances in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, providing another example of how the MCU is all connected.