LOS ANGELES (WP) - The success of Marvel Studios' not so jolly, green and gamma-radiated giant in Thor: Ragnarok and guest appearances in past and future Avengers films have proven that the Hulk still has potential on the big screen.
What is not so clear is if the Hulk will continue to be the strongest guest star there is, or if he will once again star in his own movie as he did back in the early days of Marvel Studios.
A quick Internet search can point you to the comments of actor Mark Ruffalo - the only actor who has played Bruce Banner/Hulk in multiple movies - who said in July that a Hulk movie will never happen because Universal does not want to play nice with Marvel Studios.
If Marvel Studios wants to use the green giant in a movie, it must be in a guest star/team-up way; if it wanted to make a solo effort, Universal (which has the rights to a solo Hulk movie) would have to be involved.
Marvel Studios has already proven it can share with others with its successful reboot of Spider-Man. During the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), no one thought Spider-Man would be able to take part in an Avengers movie because the web-slinger's rights belonged to Sony.
But Marvel Studios made a bold move in its efforts to collaborate, and Sony very wisely realised it was in danger of tarnishing a once indestructible superhero movie brand. Both sides made it work.
You can almost understand Universal's hesitation to revisit the Hulk on film: Hulk movies are not the shining example of how to make a good superhero movie. If there is one blip in the MCU, it is The Incredible Hulk movie (directed by Louis Leterrier). Not even Robert Downey Jr's post-credit appearance was enough to help. And while the story line moved the MCU-connected movieverse along, it did not leave anyone hungry for more Hulk.
It is possible that Universal feels there are no more Hulk stories to tell, and that revisiting the character in a solo movie would produce more of the same ho-hum results.
But if that is the mentality, that just means it does not have any comic-book people over there, like Marvel Studios does with head honcho Kevin Feige. It is important to have people who know, love and, most importantly, really care about these characters and can dive through a library's worth of stories to find the right thing to adapt for both a superhero-loving and general audience.
If Universal did have executives like that, or a passionate director like, say, Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins, it will realise there are a lot of potential options for a movie.