So where does the Incredible Hulk go from Ragnarok?
The success of Marvel Studios' not so jolly, green and gamma-radiated giant in Thor: Ragnarok - as well as his guest appearances in past and future Avengers films - has proven the Hulk still has potential on the big screen.
What isn't so clear is if the Hulk will continue to be the strongest guest star there is, or if he'll once again star in his own movie as he did back in the early days of Marvel Studios. Mark Ruffalo - the only actor who has played Bruce Banner/Hulk in multiple movies - said in July that a Hulk movie would never happen because Universal doesn't 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 they wanted to make a solo effort, Universal would have to be involved.
Marvel Studios has proven they can share with others with their successful reboot of Spider-Man. During the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, 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 to collaborate, and Sony wisely realised they were 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 aren't the shining example of how to make a good superhero movie. If there's one blip in the MCU, it's Edward Norton's The Incredible Hulk movie, which ironically featured a villain called the Abomination.
It's possible Universal feels there are no more Hulk stories to tell. But if that's the mentality, that just means they don't have any comic-book people over there.
If Universal had executives who really cared about the characters, or a passionate director like, say, Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins, they'd realise there are a lot of potential options for a movie.
A piece to the Hulk moviemaking puzzle is there waiting in the MCU: William Hurt's Thaddeus Ross, Marvel Studios' military man, who resurfaced as secretary of state in 2016's Captain America: Civil War. And since the Planet Hulk comic-book story line has already been used in Thor: Ragnarok, why not revisit one of the next best Hulk tales out there for a movie adaptation: the Red Hulk?
The Red Hulk is stronger, and he retains his intelligence when he "hulks out". His secret identity? Thaddeus Ross, who has always hated the green Hulk and Bruce Banner equally. How great would it be seeing the Hulk going up against the Rulk? The gray Hulk could work, too: He's not as strong, but the much more intelligent Hulk appeared in Marvel Comics during the 1980s.
Everything is there to help the Hulk start smashing at the box office all by himself. But if a solo Hulk movie is never meant to happen again, at least we have the Revengers ... I mean, Avengers ... movies.