Brace yourselves, Marvel fans, because something big and green might be headed your way, courtesy of Disney (NYSE:DIS) Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel has confirmed actor Adrian Pasdar is joining the show's ranks to portray the notorious Colonel Glenn Talbot. If the character rings a bell, it's because Talbot is known best by comics fans for his relentless attempts to destroy Hulk.
First, given the likely event that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. survives at least another season, this could mean Pasdar won't be reprising his role as Nathan Petrelli in Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCS.A) NBC's 2015 reboot, Heroes Reborn. Late last month, Comcast confirmed Heroes Reborn will arrive in the form of a 13-episode, stand-alone arc whose storylines and characters are being kept quiet for now.
And though we're not sure which episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be his first, Pasdar confirmed Talbot will be sticking around for at least a little while as a significant antagonist:
As willing as I am to jump when Jeph calls, there had to be a little bit more in it than just an episode for me. So I can't say much more but the mustache is in a locker and it's being taken out and prepped as we speak for next week. Every show needs a jerk, [and] I guess I'm that guy. I make everybody else look so nice. I think it was Walt Disney who said it, "The show's only as good as the bad guy is bad."
This way, he says, he can ensure he'll meet fans' expectations of who Talbot is, rather than completely making him his own.
Here's what we don't know
You might recall two weeks ago, fellow Fools Tim Beyers, Leo Sun, and I teamed up to propose three questions for Disney and Marvel ahead of their ABC network special, Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe. That special airs tonight during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s regular time slot.
Incidentally, my question was "When will we see the Hulk in another solo film?"
After all, though 2008's The Incredible Hulk currently stands as the lowest-grossing film in Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hulk is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to actor Mark Ruffalo and his central, almost comedic role in the $1.5 billion blockbuster that was Marvel's The Avengers. Just prior to The Avengers, Ruffalo confirmed he had signed a six-picture deal as Hulk with Marvel.
Remember recent footage from the set of The Avengers: Age of Ultron also apparently shows South African police firing on Hulk as frenzied residents flee his wrath. I can't help but wonder, then, whether the Age of Ultron sneak peek promised in tonight's Marvel special will confirm an even bigger role for the green rage monster this time. In turn -- and in conjunction with early character development with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. -- this could plant the seeds for another Hulk film down the road.
Early last week I also pointed out that, under Disney's stewardship, every Marvel sequel so far has performed significantly better than its predecessor. If another Hulk is done right, there's no reason to believe it wouldn't also one-up the first.
Alternatively -- and this is a long shot, mind you -- this could also lead to Marvel resuscitating a classic by introducing a Hulk TV series.
And why not? Even if Ruffalo is all set as Hulk for six films on the big screen, there's little reason Marvel and Disney couldn't find some wiggle room to pay a fee and restructure his deal to include television.
Putting aside whatever's about to unfold with the 0-8-4 we all know as Skye, couldn't that be the perfect answer to all the skeptics who complain Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't feature enough actual superheros? Heck, they could even pull one out of the Arrow playbook by introducing Hulk on the small screen through Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This could serve not only as another huge movie crossover for the show, but would almost certainly provide another massive ratings boost for Disney and ABC.