As most Marvel fans know, the highly-anticipated threequel Thor: Ragnorok loosely adapts the “Planet Hulk” storyline from the comics. What they may not realize, though, is that it almost didn’t happen.
Writer Umberto Gonzalez reported the Ragnorok rumor (say that five times fast) back in 2013, breaking the news that Marvel would use the “Planet Hulk” storyline in some capacity. Studio head Kevin Feige acknowledged this, and essentially explained how one journalist’s scoop would cause the studio to adjust at least two films in the Marvel Comics Extended Universe.
In an interview with The Wrap, Feige added that Chris Hemsworth himself requested as many Marvel characters as the franchise could logically muster.
So, before they had any hard ideas for the third Thor film, they at least knew that much. “We definitely wanted, of course, the continuing relationship with Loki,” Feige divulged, “We had early ideas for Valkyrie. We were talking about Balder. We were talking about Beta Ray Bill,” but even that didn’t feel bananas enough.Weirdly enough, according to Feige, the studio wasn’t firm on adapting the “Planet Hulk” story for the silver screen until they were already “well into development” on Thor: Ragnorok.
All they knew is they wanted to do a Thor film that was “big” and “different” from previous installments in the franchise. A joke about sending the entire cast to space led the team to rework “Planet Hulk” for Ragnorok, but their idea had a flaw the size of an angry Bruce Banner. Namely, the original ending of Avengers: Age of Ultron ended with the Hulk, in the Quinjet, floating in space.
If viewers saw Hulk in space, wouldn’t the super-secret plot of a movie 3+ years down the road be revealed? That one shot could have straight-up introduced the plot of Thor: Ragnorok, and the writing team hadn’t even settled on that direction yet. Considering Gonzalez had already begun to spread the rumor that “Planet Hulk” was happening years before, obviously, things were a little messy.
The result? Marvel politely asked director Joss Whedon to change the ending of Avengers: Age of Ultron ever-so-slightly.
The ending we see now has him hovering in a cloudy sky, destination unknown — but it could have been space.
Secret saved! Whew. You did it, Marvel team. Now, quick question: Any chance you could fire up the ol’ Doctor Strange time warp machine and get someone to November 3rd right now? Asking for a friend.