Marvel’s Kevin Feige: Hulk Almost Wasn’t in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Marvel Studios chief tells TheWrap how the film’s version of “Planet Hulk” came to be

Thor Ragnarok trailer
Thor Ragnarok fight

“Thor: Ragnarok” loosely adapts one of Marvel’s most beloved recent storylines — “Planet Hulk.” But Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder and Mark Ruffalo’s Incredible Hulk almost never met in outer space, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige tells TheWrap.

Though yours truly first reported Marvel would break the “Planet Hulk” storyline back in 2013, Feige said the studio didn’t settle on the idea until well into development on “Ragnarok.”

“You had the big scoop about us doing ‘Planet Hulk,’” said Feige. “It turned out to be accurate [but] at the time, it was not accurate because we didn’t have any plans to do it and Joss (Whedon) was doing ‘Age of Ultron’ at that time. The way it ends as you recall with Hulk in the Quinjet going off, right?”

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Feige continued: “We said, ‘Joss, we can’t do that because he’s not going into space and people are going to think we’re doing ‘Planet Hulk’ because Umberto has some big hot scoop that we’re doing ‘Planet Hulk,’ we can’t do it.’ He goes, ‘Well, what are you going to do?’ We said, ‘We don’t know.’ So, if you go back and look at that shot of the movie, he’s in the sky. It’s blue sky.”

At one point, the script called for the Hulk to be detected near Saturn — but Marvel changed it to keep its options open. “So in the movie, it’s, ‘We lost the signal out by the Caspian Sea.’ Or something like that, it was all earthbound. ”

So why did they ultimately go the “Planet Hulk” route?

“We wanted to do something totally different with Thor,” Feige said. “Chris Hemsworth really was like, ‘When do other Marvel players come in with me?’ … Definitely, [we] want Hela in the movie. Definitely wanted, of course, the continuing relationship with Loki. We had early ideas for Valkyrie. We were talking about Balder. We were talking about Beta Ray Bill, but, that’s not enough. But we were like, ‘We need something big.’”

A talk with executive producer Brad Winderbaum led to the Hulk.

“Well, what if he did go to space?” Feige said. “We would jokily call it ‘Planet Thor,’ for a while. I went, ‘You know what that means?’ They go, ‘What?’ I go, ‘That means Hulk went to space at the end of Ultron.’ So, I had to tell Joss. And this was a year after Ultron came out. It was kind of a big thing. We were like, ‘You gotta change it Joss, he’s not going to space.’ A year after I go, ‘Joss, guess where he’s going?’ ‘He’s going to space.’”