Marvel might have just regained the movie rights to one of their biggest characters
The biggest hint is the sudden arrival of a 15-year-old movie on Disney+ this week.
Today (16 June), The Incredible Hulk has been added to Disney+, 15 years to the week from when the movie first debuted in cinemas. It was the second ever movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but unlike most of the movies within the MCU since then, this movie's distribution rights were owned by Universal Pictures.
As reported by The Direct, because Universal owns the rights to the Hulk, any movie made with that character in the leading role would see a significant share of profits taken from Disney/Marvel to be shared with Universal.
That is why, even though Mark Ruffalo's version of Bruce Banner/The Hulk has appeared in The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, What If...?, and She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, he has yet to get his own movie.
But as per that report, an SEC deal states the following: "Distribution Term: Paramount shall have the right to exercise its Paramount Distribution Rights with respect to each Picture for an initial period of 15 years commencing on the initial Theatrical Exhibition of such Picture (the 'Initial Distribution Term')."
This means that the initial deal, for a production between Paramount and Marvel with distribution by Universal, ends 15 years after the release of the most recent Hulk standalone movie, which was released in June 2008... which brings us to June 2023.
The fact that The Incredible Hulk has arrived on Disney+, after being the only MCU entry not available on the streaming platform since it launched, has fans going into overdrive mode about the theories for what Marvel might have up their sleeve for a solo Hulk movie.
While they have very recently rejigged their upcoming Marvel cinematic release slate, with no mention of a Hulk movie on there, people are hopeful that we could finally see the big screen treatment of the much-loved World War Hulk storyline, in which Hulk is tricked off Earth by the Illuminati, and returns with nothing but revenge on his mind.
Where, or even if, that might fall into Disney's current plans for the future of the MCU, we'll have to wait and see...
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