In case you haven't heard, allow me to quickly sum of the recent history of Marvel's The Incredible Hulk
as it pertains to the world of film.
- Ang Lee made Hulk just a few years ago. Unfortunately, he made it an Ang Lee movie instead of a Marvel movie, and most fans weren't too impressed. We didn't want a study in anger management, we wanted Hulk Smash! Marvel was embarrassed, and everybody moved on. The studio retained sequel rights, because that's how these deals work.
- Marvel wants to revive the Hulk on film, because he is one of their most successful comic book franchises. However, sequel rights lie with aforementioned studio, which would insist on bringing back Eric Bana, and nobody really wants to go there again.
- Marvel lands itself a lot of cash in the form of a big old loan they call "the war chest." Opportunities now abound, and Marvel needs even more to depend on their big moneymaker -- but they have very few moneymakers left which aren't already signed with one studio or another. Hulk is signed, but not successful. Marvel pulls the plug on the current franchise, claiming no sequels for the Lee version of Hulk. Instead, they are starting over, and they're going to make it right.
- Louis Leterrier is signed on to direct, and Zak Penn is signed on to write.
Got all that? It all happened so quickly, once Marvel made the announcement about taking control of the Hulk
film franchise -- news just kept pouring out of the studio regarding plans for this project. It seemed rather odd, since Marvel's got plenty of projects in the works which we hear far less about. But now we know why, as Marvel's second quarter earnings announcement declared the Hulk
film would be their second big project of 2008, behind Jon Favreau's Iron Man.
Here's to hoping they get it right this time, it is a big (and odd) gamble to release a non-related second film so quickly.