Why is Hulk Not on Disney Plus?

Many Disney+ subscribers are wondering why they aren’t able to watch the one movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring the Hulk. There is, of course, the 2003 production of Hulk directed by Ang Lee, but the 2008 version with Edward Norton is more widely recognized as part of the MCU genre of films. So then why is it missing from Disney+


The Disney+ streaming service is home to just about every other movie in the MCU, including Iron Man, the Avengers, and Captain America.

 However, Hulk is set to begin streaming on HBO Max beginning in April 2022, and not Disney+. As a side note, HBO Max will also be streaming all of the Spider-Man films (released since 2017), including Spider-Man – Homecoming, Far From Home, and No Way Home.

For Hulk fans who want to subscribe to HBO Max, it is streamable in the United States, some of the U.S. territories, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America. Most HBO subscribers who want to watch HBO originals, Warner Brothers films, channels like Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and to download a few movies should have automatic access to HBO Max . The monthly subscription costs between $9.99-$14.99 


The Incredible Hulk 2008 is not currently showing on Disney+, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future. The Walt Disney Company has purchased Marvel distribution rights before. For example, in 2010, it acquired distribution rights from Paramount for Iron Man 3 and The Avengers films.

And in 2013, the company bought the rights for Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger. Many people may also be wondering why Spider-Man is not on Disney+, and this is a similar situation in that Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man while Disney has permission to use the character in the Marvel Universe. 

Paramount is the current holder of distribution rights for Incredible Hulk 2008. However, the company does not own the film rights, and Disney has permission to continue use of the character throughout the Marvel Universe.

Though Hulk 2008 did not perform the way Iron Man did at the box office, the film was profitable, and there are many who appreciate the movie. It is one of the first films in which Marvel initially began with its new creative approach. They had decided to make the films more realistic – going big, for example, with a cast of superheroes portrayed by Oscar-type actors. 

The Hulk film starring Edward Norton presents a collaboration between its lead actor, who rewrote the script, and screenwriter Zak Penn – which changed many scenes. However, to Norton’s dismay, many of those updated scenes were not used.

In the end, Norton did not receive a writing credit for the film since most of the scenes he’d written (and had filmed) were cut. Still, the movie performed rather well, earning roughly 100 percent in revenue.

One fun aspect of the 2008 film is that Lou Ferrigno, the famous bodybuilder who portrayed Hulk in the 1977 TV series and on The Incredible Hulk animated series for UPN, provides a vocal performance in the 2008 film. 


Hulk 2008 is considered an MCU film even though Disney has not yet purchased the distribution rights. This isn’t always the case with Hulk 2003, which involved several entities, including Universal and a pre-Disney Marvel Productions. 

Hulk 2 and The Incredible Hulk 2 on the other hand, were both reportedly canceled. Meanwhile, the character Hulk has appeared in many films with Marvel-Disney, including Hulk 2008, The Avengers (with Ruffalo as Hulk) 2012, Iron Man 3 2013, Avengers: Age of Ultron 2015, Thor: Ragnarok 2017, Avengers: Infinity War 2018, Captain Marvel 2019, Avengers: Endgame 2019, Shang-Chi, the Legend of the Ten Rings 2021, and will appear in a She-Hulk series coming soon to Disney+.


Today many fans think of Disney+ as the home of the Marvel universe. It has been a subsidiary of Walt Disney since 2009, when Disney purchased it for $4 billion, but Disney had to wait for a while until Marvel fulfilled its other obligations.

Then, in July 2013, Disney began distributing Marvel films and purchasing distribution rights for most of the MCU catalog. In 2015, Marvel Studios (a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment) was reorganized into one of the six Walt Disney production studios. And in 2022, Marvel Studios is regarded as Disney’s core production business. 


In planning the 2008 film, Marvel reportedly decided to deviate from Ang Lee’s style and go for more realism. They wanted to combine the optics of the comic book with some aspects of drama from the TV series.

It remains to be seen if Disney will ever purchase the Ang Lee version from Universal. The story would still make sense sequentially within the Hulk grouping of films, since the 2003 movie starts at the very beginning when Bruce Banner is exposed to gamma radiation,


There are rumors of a World War Hulk film in the works and due out in 2024-2025. World Wide reported that: 

Yes, we are finally have a new “solo” Hulk film in active development at Marvel Studios and we were told it is currently slated to start production in late 2022, likely following the events of the upcoming She-Hulk series on Disney +.” 

For those who haven’t read World War Hulk, a five-issue comic book series published in 2007, the title certainly hints of some kind of Hulk apocalypse. And in fact, it’s a sequel story that picks up from the Planet Hulk series published a year earlier in 2006.

In Planet Hulk, he is definitely having some issues and cannot control himself. So the “Illuminati,” consisting of Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Tony Stark, and Reed Richards, has decided to banish Hulk from Earth.

It is a storyline that was also covered in the film 2017 movie Thor: Ragnarok, starring Chris Hemsworth. Therefore in World War Hulk, he will seek revenge on the Illuminati. 

Such an investment might mean that Disney will not be interested in purchasing the rights of previous Hulk productions since it is making its own films, but we will see what happens.

In any event, the next Hulk attraction on the list for Disney+ streamers is a series the company refers to as a “comedy” called She-Hulk. It’s an original series starring Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk and will include all the usual suspects, including Abomination and Hulk (played by Mark Ruffalo).

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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