Info On Hulk’s Status at Universal and Rumors of Kenneth Branagh Returning for ‘Thor 3’

Kenneth Branagh Thor 3

Kenneth Branagh on the set of Thor

Photo: Marvel / Paramount Pictures

Heroic Hollywood founder Umberto Gonzalez was on Popcorn Talk and briefly mentioned a possible return for Kenneth Branagh to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Branagh directed (in my opinion) one of the most fun, entertaining and unique movies in the MCU, Thor, and Gonzalez says Marvel may be looking to him to return to direct Thor: Ragnarok.

“I was hearing that Marvel wanted Kenneth Branagh back for Thor 3,” Gonzalez said before adding, “But, he just got an offer to direct Murder on the Orient Express at Fox. So, I don’t know if it is going to happen or not. They’re thinking about bringing him back into the fold.”

I don’t know how much of an impact Branagh, or any director working for Marvel for that matter, had on the first Thor, but the film managed to make a universe-sprawling story feel small and personal. It had a healthy focus on character and brought us the most interesting character in all o the MCU, Loki, played by the only actor that continues to impress in this franchise, Tom Hiddleston. So, that to me, tells me Branagh did something right.

Hulk standalone

Photo: Marvel / Disney

Meanwhile, there has been talk of a new standalone Incredible Hulk film ever since Mark Ruffalo took Joss Whedon‘s words and script and made the character a whole new reality in The Avengers. For a while there it sounded as if the character rights were part of the issue as Ruffalo told Collider:

As far as a Hulk movie, a standalone Hulk movie, Marvel doesn’t really have the rights to that yet. That’s still Universal’s property, so there’s that issue. That’s a big impediment to moving forward with that. Now I don’t think that’s insurmountable, by the way, but I don’t know where it’s going from here for me.

However, it sounds like that might not be entirely true. Forbes reveals that Universal does have some say in a Hulk standalone movie, but as it turns out it’s merely the first right of refusal to distribute the feature. This is to say Marvel could agree to make the film, but Universal would have the right to distribute it, not Disney, which may seem like it makes it a little more likely a Hulk film would get made, but I wouldn’t count on it, at least not just yet.

Marvel’s plans for their “Phase Three” seems set in stone, ending with Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 and 2. Ruffalo is rumored to be showing up as Hulk in Captain America: Civil War and is expected to show up in both of the Avengers features just mentioned and his contract may be written for one more appearance beyond that, but I wouldn’t go expecting a Hulk standalone until after Infinity War 2 and that would mean you’re holding your breath until at least 2020.