Marvel Studios is setting it's current batch of films, including Iron Man, Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America to converge together in the The Avengers. But if what screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby told MTV is to be believed, the involvement of The Incredible Hulk may not be as a member of the Avengers, but instead as the menace they battle.
"I hope The Avengers embraces that," Fergus said of having the Hulk appear as the film's antagonist. "You don't want like 10 super-badass good guys fighting together. Where's the fun in that? Let's break it off a little. Friends or colleagues who become enemies is always an interesting thing because you know it's based on love and friendship and that's always the worst thing to have turn bad - is someone you actually care about and someone you actually believe in."
In the comics The Hulk has battled nearly every superhero in the Marvel universe, often as a result of a misunderstanding of some sort. Furthermore, because he has already appeared in his own film, The Avengers wouldn't need to waste time establishing his origin. And the closing shot of The Incredible Hulk deliberately set things up so that the Hulk could be used as a threat in a future film.
"I left the door open for whoever's going to direct The Avengers with our last shot. Edward [Norton] and I, we consciously decided to make the last shot of the movie when he opens his eyes and he smirks at the camera," Leterrier told us. "Is he enjoying it? Is he malicious? That's what's great about Edward. You don't know if he's a good guy or bad guy. He's always on this edge and we've been sort of surfing that edge, that very thin edge during the entire movie."
Furthermore, the scene where Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark appears to General Ross near the end of The Incredible Hulk even suggests that the reason the Avengers are being put together might be to contain the Hulk.
For his part, Fergus entirely approves of this approach. "I personally like when good-guy characters have to fight each other," he said. "Good guys going against good guys who both believe in an issue is way more interesting than a villain clearly into evil and I like when former friends become committed enemies."
We'll see how the groundwork is laid through the releases of Thor, Iron Man 2 and The First Avenger: Captain America - and then watch how it all comes together when The Avengers hits theatres in 2011.