What is World War Hulk?

World War Hulk
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A machine as big as the Marvel Cinematic Universe produces a lot of rumors. Some of them pan out. The vast majority do not. A big one was the debut of Adam Warlock. It was teased and wildly speculated about by fans. Now, it’s finally happening in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. These days, the big media rumors surround the classic Marvel Comics storyline World War Hulk and its possible MCU debut.

Planet Hulk before the war

World War Hulk
World War Hulk by @zerologhy

You can’t talk about World War Hulk without first discussing Planet Hulk. The Illuminati, a group made up of Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Charles Xavier, and other similar heroes, decided to get rid of the Hulk. They tricked him into going into space. Their intent was to send him to a nice, quiet planet. Instead, an accident resulted in him landing on Sakaar and becoming a slave/gladiator.

If that seems somewhat familiar, that’s because the story was loosely adapted to become the plot of Thor: Ragnarok. In that movie, Thor and Hulk respectively played the parts of Hulk and the Silver Surfer in the comics. But in the comics, Hulk led a rebellion that found him becoming king and taking a wife. She was even pregnant with their child. That’s when things went sideways.

The ship that brought Hulk to Sakaar blew up, killing the majority of life on the planet. Most of Hulk’s gladiator crew survived, including Korg and Miek who also appeared in Ragnarok. Unfortunately, Hulk’s wife and unborn child did not survive the explosion. It was at this moment that Hulk found a level of rage he had never experienced before. But for the first time, he had a clear target, specifically Earth and the Illuminati.

What is World War Hulk?

World War Hulk
World War Hulk by @venomhology

The story of World War Hulk picks up at the point that Hulk and his army of intergalactic gladiators make their way back to Earth. They literally showed up and took down everyone who got in their paths. If it wasn’t for Miek’s bad decision-making skills and the Sentry stepping in, Hulk would probably still be ruling the world. While the story is an interesting one, how it fits into the MCU is difficult to envision.

Planet Hulk is a key starting point to World War Hulk. And, as previously mentioned, it was extremely loosely adapted for Thor: Ragnarok. Hulk’s story played out a lot differently. He didn’t become a king who lost his kingdom. He didn’t lose a wife and an unborn child. And he didn’t find happiness for the first time in his life, only to lose it. The MCU doesn’t even have an Illuminati for Hulk to rage against.

Ragnarok had some similar pieces but it couldn’t have been more different than Planet Hulk. Whatever an MCU version of World War Hulk looks like, it will be quite different from the comic book version. But at this point in the MCU, it’s safe to say that Marvel and Kevin Feige have earned fans’ collective trust. The MCU version of World War Hulk doesn’t have to be anything like the comics to be good or successful.

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