In an interview with ComicBook.com, Leterrier shared that he had “a whole sequel” planned for the Marvel character that would have introduced other versions of the Hulk.
“There was like Grey Hulk, Red Hulks — there was a lot of good stuff that we were planning,” he told the website.
In subsequent films, Mark Ruffalo took on the role of Bruce Banner/Hulk starting with 2012’s The Avengers, and the story line from the 2008 movie was not a part of the character’s arc. (Eric Bana also played the character in a 2003 film directed by Ang Lee, while Lou Ferrigno portrayed the Hulk and Bill Bixby was Bruce Banner in the CBS series, which aired from 1977-82, and in several TV movies.)
The rights to the character are complicated. Universal Pictures actually owns the rights to any movies focusing solely on Hulk, predating Disney’s 2009 acquisition of Marvel Studios, meaning that Universal has the right of first refusal to distribute any solo Hulk movies. However, the character is able to show up in other MCU characters’ films, as he has with Ruffalo’s appearances in the Avengers movies, Iron Man 3, Thor: Ragnarok, Captain Marvel, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and more, in addition to the Disney+ series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
“Hulk is a complex character within the Marvel Universe,” Leterrier said. “You want the primeval Hulk … the rage Hulk. And then when you go Grey Hulk and Smart Hulk you lose that a little bit and you get a little bit more kiddish with it.”
Leterrier, whose recent credits include Fast X, added that the character as fans currently know him from the movies is “far from” the character he was looking to expand upon.
“But that was the fun of where I was in my movie, with the access to consciousness and all that stuff,” he said. “That was really fun. And that’s what I was aiming to do. But take my time with it. Because there’s so many characters they want it all fast [laughs]. I like She-Hulk, but then you know, yoga between Hulk and … I was like ‘OK! Yeah, we’re very far from my Hulk.’”
Meanwhile, fans might still get to see Red Hulk onscreen soon. There has been speculation that Harrison Ford’s character Thunderbolt Ross could turn into his alter ego Red Hulk in Captain America: New World Order, while Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross will turn into her own alter ego, Red She-Hulk.
Ford has neither confirmed nor denied the speculation. Asked by ComicBook.com if this was the plan for his character, the actor replied: “What is the Red Hulk?”