WHAT WAS THE PLAN? Following director Ang Lee's 'arty' 2003 Hulk movie, the plan was to create a loose sequel that was closer to the comics and 1970s TV show then what Lee had directed.
WAIT A MINUTE THAT DID HAPPEN, IT WAS CALLED THE INCREDIBLE HULK AND STARRED EDWARD NORTON, RIGHT?
Well in a way, but hold your horses as the filmed version of The Incredible Hulk wasn't originally what was planned!
OH. SO WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
As Ang Lee's Hulk was being released, Hulk scribe James Schamus had plans to feature the grey incarnation of the Hulk in a sequel that would have seen the Grey Goliath square up to villains the Abomination and the Leader, with the film set for a 2005 release.
BUT WHAT DID HAPPEN?
With Hulk (2003) receiving a mixed response from audiences upon release, Universal, the studio that owned the rights to the film franchise put plans for a sequel on hold. With time lapsing on the studio's deal to make a sequel the rights eventually reverted to Marvel Studios who planned to move forward on a new Hulk movie with Universal acting as distributors.
OH. SO WHAT HAPPENED THIS TIME?
Louis Leterrier was given directing duties and screenwriter Zak Penn, who had previously been involved with the development of the Hulk, wrote a draft for what was still set to be a sequel to the Hulk for release in 2008. The script featured a couple of scenes that Penn had included in his draft for the original film and actor Edward Norton was brought in to play the role of the Hulk's alter-ego, Bruce Banner; a part he had originally turned down during the casting process of the original Hulk. With Norton a big fan of the Hulk he wrote a new draft of Penn's script that reworked scenes, added new elements and dropped fan-favourite character Rick Jones. The script also altered the character of Leonard Samson, who became a more likeable character, whilst also establishing the movie as a reboot of the franchise with an all new cast. The film slotted in alongside Iron Man (2008) to kick-start a connected Marvel Movie Universe, that later included Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America (2011) and The Avengers (2012).
Although Norton was instrumental in bringing the final filmed version of The Incredible Hulk (2008) to the big screen, he was uncredited as a scriptwriter upon the film's release.
WAS THIS SUCH A BAD THING?
Rebooting the Hulk franchise was the best thing for the Hulk following the mixed response to the previous movie and it was a great move for establishing the connected Marvel Movie Universe. If a direct sequel had been filmed called Hulk 2 then chances are it would have alienated fans who were desperately seeking a film more closely linked to the comics and TV show and who really didn't want to see another Ang Lee directed movie.
BUT WHAT IF?
If Hulk 2 had gone ahead then three people would have gone to see it.