When it was revealed in 2015 that Thor: Ragnarok would feature not just Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder, but also Mark Ruffalo's Green Goliath, fans weren't entirely sure what that would mean for the third chapter of the Thor standalone films.
Then, reports that the film would draw inspiration from the 2006 storyline "Planet Hulk," as well as news that a portion of the action would take place on the planet Sakaar, began to fuel speculation that Ragnarok would be something of a loose adaptation of the fan-favorite Incredible Hulk story. However, it appears that the upcoming blockbuster's ties to this integral piece of Hulk lore aren't so much intentional as they are incidental.
In a set visit last year, Thor: Ragnarok producer Brad Winderbaum told Screen Rant that although "Planet Hulk" influenced the direction of the film from the get-go, it was less about Hulk, himself, and more about his predicament in the narrative.
"In the earliest development of Thor, we were looking at ‘Planet Hulk’ as inspiration, maybe not even to integrate the Hulk into the franchise but the idea of a planet where there’s gladiatorial games as being a Thor predicament," Winderbaum explained. "It really was a cool idea to us. Somewhere in the early conversations, when it looked like it was going that way, it was a no brainer. It actually started off as like, ‘…could we have Hulk in there too?’ And then as soon as that spark ignited, it ignited kind of an idea machine. And suddenly [Hulk] was married to the plot."
While fans of "Planet Hulk" may find it disheartening that Ragnarok has less to do with that story than perhaps originally expected, we still have the incredible, gladiator-style battle between the MCU's two strongest heroes to look forward to.
Arriving Nov. 3, Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Cate Blanchett as Hela, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Karl Urban as Skurge, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/the Hulk and Anthony Hopkins as Odin.