If you missed the news when MTV broke it this January, by now you know that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) will appear in “The Incredible Hulk,” thanks to ubiquitous new television spots which prominently feature old metal head. And you know, too, about a brief easter egg with Captain America, where Bruce runs across a frozen body in the Artic.
Marvel’s cross promotion is easily one of the coolest aspects of their new films, giving filmmakers a sandbox full of toys in which to play. “Hulk” director Louis Leterrier almost got to play with the coolest.
“The University at the end [where Banner meets with Samuel Sterns] is Columbia University. Columbia University in the Marvel world, especially in the ‘Spider Man’ world, is Empire State University,” the director explained. “I wanted some kind of shot where you're like, ‘Oh my god. Is that Peter Parker?’ That would have been fun!”
Unfortunately for Leterrier, crossovers begin and end with the properties Marvel has total control of – no matter how hard you ask. And “Spider-Man” all its many names, places, and stories therein, belong to Sony. But while he quickly realized that he wouldn’t be able to get Tobey Maguire (no matter how much he wanted to), Leterrier thought a compromise could be reached. No dice, he sighed.
“I just wanted to call it Empire University – to treat it like a coherent world,” he recalled. “And Sony, who has the rights to Spidey, didn't want us to do that. It was a small thing but something we couldn't do.”
Still, Leterrier is such a fan of comics, and the new combined Marvel universe in particular, he’s already jealous of the director who one day, he knows, will get to do what he couldn’t.
“Marvel is pretty good at doing their own movies and so eventually the studios will allow them to chaperone the production of [all of them],” he said. “Years from now you'll see Peter Parker meeting Bruce Banner.”
Gentlemen, start your engines: Let Sony know why you think they dropped the ball on this one. And, while we’re at it, let us know what your dream cross-over cameo would be: Hulk vs. Wolverine? Daredevil vs. Tony Stark? Spider-Man in the Fantastic Four? Sound off below.