"The Incredible Hulk" promises exciting thrills, ambitious set pieces and more Marvel crossovers than you can shake a stick at when it opens Friday.
But the biggest difference between this film and the Ang Lee "Hulk" from 2003? That would be the setup for and strong possibility of a "Hulk 2." That's what cast and crew members insisted at the green-carpet premiere last Sunday (June 8), each revealing what they would like to see in an upcoming sequel.
Although a sequel has not been officially announced as part of their upcoming slate (which includes "Iron Man 2" and "The Avengers"), Marvel told each of the actors that they would be part of a trilogy, Tim Blake Nelson told MTV News.
"When I signed on to do the movie, when I went and had my meeting with [director] Louis Leterrier and Gale Anne Hurd, the producer, they said, 'We want you for all three movies,' " Nelson, who plays Samuel Sterns, said.
What Nelson would most like, of course, is for the success of the "Hulk" to give him a big head. No, really. Like Dr. Curt Connors in the "Spider-Man" mythos, Sterns is an ally who ultimately becomes a feared enemy, the Leader, "with his bulbous head and giant brain," Nelson laughed.
"It's an honor to be able to play such a storied character," Nelson said. "I'm very excited to do as much as they want me to do."
He'll have to get in line, joked co-star Ty Burrell, who plays Dr. Leonard Samson. Like Sterns, Samson is a minor Hulk character, Bruce Banner's psychiatrist and friend, who eventually becomes super-powered as well.
"He's not necessarily a bad guy but also not necessarily a good guy either. He's such a complicated character," Burrell said of Samson, whose brief appearance in "Incredible Hulk" sets him up for more drama. "In the comic [book], [he] went back and forth from being a friend to Bruce ... to then kind of working against him. That's what's great about it."
Like Nelson, Burrell said he has had conversations with Marvel about the ultimate development of his character in future installments. In the comics, the canonical Samson is exposed to gamma radiation, but comes to learn that his powers are tied to the length of his (now green) hair.
Burrell thinks that they should stay as true to that origin as possible, even if it means he has to do a little creative hairstyling.
"My pitch would be that he's trying to cure Bruce — that he's actually trying to help him, and he makes it worse. And it's his ego that kind of causes the trouble," Burrell said of where he'd like Samson to be in part two. "If we see the radiation, then I'll definitely have the longer hair. Maybe we'll have to go with a wig. I don't know. [But I'm] voting for green, for sure!"
He'll be green with envy if Leterrier has his way. That's because the filmmaker behind "Hulk" is positioning himself in Nelson's camp, calling the Leader his preferred villain for part two. The reason? Would you believe it's because he doesn't want to see another typical Hulk fight?
"I really love the Leader because there's something unstoppable about him, [but] it's also not the same thing. It's just different," Leterrier said, reasoning that a fight between Samson and the Hulk would be just another contest of might against might. "The fact that [Leader] controls stuff with his mind — I just like that. There's an idea here that's more cinematic."
But for all the myriad possibilities that "Hulk 2" could bring, legendary Hulk creator Stan Lee said he's just got one demand: more Stan Lee.
"My cameo [in 'Incredible Hulk'] is a blink. All I say is, 'Wow!' and I say it very low," he smiled. "So they better make up for it in the next movie!"
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