The Incredible Hulk is one of Marvel Comic’s best known characters. After being introduced in comic book form in by creator Stan Lee in 1962 he’s gone on to be featured in cartoon shows and two feature length films. However probably the best known incarnation of the character was The Incredible Hulk live action TV show. The show starred Bill Bixby as David Banner (changed from the comic book character name of Bruce Banner because show producer Kenneth Johnson didn’t like alliterative names) and body builder Lou Ferrigno as his uncontrollable alter ego. The catch phrase “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” has become part of the pop culture lexicon and many still remember the show fondly. After two very different and only moderately successful attempts and bringing the Hulk to the big screen Marvel has decided instead to reintroduce the character to television.
Deadline.com first reported the plans to bring the property back to television a month ago. Now Deadline.com is reporting that writer/director Guillermo Del Toro will be helping develop the character for the small screen. Del Toro has plenty of experience turning monsters into heroes thanks to his work on the two Hellboy films. Del Toro has always had an inherent interest in the notion of a monstrous hero and has gone on record as saying he’s wanted to be involved with the Hulk ever since he wrapped Blade II back in 2002. This would be the director’s first foray into television, however he’s not going in alone. TV veteran David Eick, executive producer of the Syfy Channel’s Battlestar Galactica, is on board as well and is handling the initial writing duties. Both are well suited to the material and expectations are already high amongst comic book fans.
The concept is being set up at ABC, which like Marvel Comics is owned by Disney. ABC has recently seen success in the super-hero genre with the original No Ordinary Family and looks to keep the streak going. The hope is that the Hulk will find greater success on the small screen than he has on the big screen. Ang Lee tried a slightly philosophical approach to the character with 2003’s Hulk. The box office wasn’t overly impressive and most audience members just seemed put off by the way the character was handled. 2008’s Incredible Hulk saw the character used in a much more action oriented capacity. However the box office totals were comparable to the 2003 film.
The character is set to appear in the The Avengers film along side Ironman, Thor and Captain America when that film releases in 2012. In The Avengers Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk will be played by Mark Ruffalo. The concept of the new TV show however is to look at the character at a younger age, in his 20s. This will allow Del Toro and Eick to not be overly concerned with casting cross-overs with Marvel’s movie franchises. The hope is to have the show ready to air in the fall of 2012 following the character’s re-introduction in The Avengers.
The plan at this point seems to be to create the Hulk persona with a mix of practical effects, possibly including some puppetry (similar to how Hellboy was realized on screen.) Del Toro is expected to help with the design of the monster. There is rumor that Del Toro himself may direct the pilot if he can fit it into his schedule, but that is a ways off as the show is only in the planning stages at this point.