Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk Deserves His Own Disney+ Show

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Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner also known as the HulkMarvel Studios

Over the last few weeks, there have been a number of rumours about certain characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe getting their own TV shows on Disney+.

From Scarlet Witch to Rocket and Groot it seems that no peripheral, but easily franchisable character, is safe from Marvel television’s commissioner or at least that’s what the rumour mill would have you believe.

So, as it’s his birthday, we’ve decided to pen a love letter to Mark Ruffalo explaining exactly why the ‘strongest Avenger’ deserves his own time to shine and why the small screen may be the perfect place for the Hulk.

Of course, we’ll start by addressing the great, big, green, elephant in the room, Disney doesn’t own the rights to the Hulk, Universal own him, which is why the not so jolly, green giant hasn’t had a solo movie in a while.

We’ll admit that as far as stumbling blocks go it’s a pretty abominable one, but like the late, great, Stan Lee for the purposes of this article, we’re going to let our imagination run wild and create our own universe.

One where for whatever reason the rights to the Hulk are back with Disney (also I am king because it’s my imaginary universe) and Disney are planning a Hulk led TV show.

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner also known as the HulkMarvel Studios

The idea of a Hulk television show (Which we’re going to refer to as The Immortal Hulk from now on) makes perfect sense for a number of reasons.

The first is that unlike any other of the main six Avenger, save Black Widow (who’s getting her own movie) and Hawkeye (who’s rumoured to have a television spin-off in the works) we know the least about him.

Were The Immortal Hulk a prequel series it would allow Marvel to expand on Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, helping to fill in his backstory which as of right now is only lightly coloured in by snatches of dialogue, and that dreadful Incredible Hulk movie.

In theory, the show could draw inspiration from the myriad of wonderful Hulk stories, written by the likes of Stan Lee, Bill Mantlo, and Peter David, expanding on Bruce’s tragic backstory and showing us how the good doctor dealt with his condition in the early years.

Also, I think, considering how staggeringly good an actor Ruffalo is (I told you this was a love letter) it’s a travesty that he’s not been given any of the emotional heavy lifting to do in the Avengers films.

A prequel would allow him to show off his considerable acting chops (we imagine turning into a 10-foot rage monster’s a troubling experience) while filling in Bruce Banner’s backstory in the MCU.

infinity war hulkMarvel Studios

This wouldn’t even necessarily have to contradict what we saw in The Incredible Hulk movie either and may even help improve the perception of that film (boo, hiss) through the benefit of hindsight and dare I say ‘retcons’.

An even better reason why Mark Ruffalo and his mean green alter ego deserve their own show is because the television is the Hulk’s spiritual home, not the cinema.

Look at like this, outside of the comicbooks and Avengers films (where he’s a player, not a star) what adaptation are Bruce David Banner and the Hulk best known from.

Bill Bixy and Lou Ferigno as Bruce Banner and the HulkNBC Universal Television

If you said the 1978 Incredible Hulk TV show then give yourself a gold star because you are a winner.

In all seriousness, if you can get past the fact that Bill Bixby turns into Lou Ferrigno covered in green body paint (and why shouldn’t you be able to?) it’s a brilliant piece of television.

The Incredible Hulk (1978) was the first television series to actually take superheroes seriously and use these larger than life characters to explore adult themes.

It also informed the mythology of the Hulk, with most modern adaptations including The Incredible Hulk (2008) taking inspiration from the iconic show.

Not only it beat the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe to the idea of a shared universe by a few decades. Yes, you read that right Avengers Assemble (2012) wasn’t the first time a live-action Thor and Hulk met.

Back in 1988 the Asgardian God of Hammers Thunder and the Hulk met in The Incredible Hulk Returns and teamed up to bring down a criminal gang which, now I write it, seems like a job they’re massively overqualified for.

Thor and the HulkYes that is Thor. I never said the costumes were good - NBC Universal Television

The Incredible Hulk can even do one better than the MCU, they actually had Daredevil appear on their show instead of banishing the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen to some nebulous Netflix limbo.

If Marvel could update this show for Disney+, bring in Mark Ruffalo, fill in the MCU Banner’s backstory and expand on their Hulk mythology I think it could be something special.

How you’d achieve the Hulk effect with a small screen budget is a problem I’ll admit, but it’s 2018 and the CW’s shows have proven even series with a lower budget can do impressive things.

We know it’s a stretch but if Disney could make The Immortal Hulk happen I’d be watching… and also I’d be king.

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Tom Percival

Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.