TV Tuesday: The Death of the Incredible Hulk 1990

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Death of the Hulk Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com

Thirty years ago, today, the television movie The Death of the Incredible Hulk aired on NBC. Created by Kenneth Johnson (The Bionic Woman, Alien Nation Series and “V”) and based on the Hulk character by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, this was the last of three films produced after the end of The Incredible Hulk TV series. Starring Bill Bixby (reprising his role from the series), Lou Ferrigno, Elizabeth Gracen (Black Widow-type character), Philip Sterling (Doctor Strange-type character), Andreas Katsulas, and a bit part for Carla Ferrigno, it was produced (executive) and directed by Bixby. There was an uncredited flashback cameo of Susan Sullivan from the original pilot episode. A fourth film was planned but, was canceled due to disappointing ratings for this movie.

IMDB Summary:

[This was] the finale of the television series about Dr. David Banner, a scientist who transforms into a mighty, larger-than-life creature called the Hulk when he gets angry. Desperately attempting to purge himself of his monster-like alter ego, Banner sneaks into a research laboratory. During the critical experiment to purge him of the Hulk, once and for all, a spy sabotages the laboratory. Banner falls in love with the spy, Jasmin, who performs missions only because her sister is being held hostage by Jasmin’s superiors. Banner and Jasmin attempt to escape from the enemy agents to rebuild their lives together but, the Hulk is never far from them.

From Comics Bulletin:

The Incredible Hulk Returns and The Trial of the Incredible Hulk actually served as backdoor pilots for possible Thor and Daredevil series that never materialized. The third film, The Death of the Incredible Hulk was originally supposed to be the same sort of experiment, introducing She-Hulk, with Iron Man scheduled for the following film.

Bill Bixby Image Two
Image Credit: imdb.com

[However], when it finally came together, it, instead, served as a swan-song for Bill Bixby and focused on one last attempt at a cure for Banner’s Hulk-itis. Unfortunately, even though it wasn’t intended to really be the end of the Hulk on television (the plan was to have him return from the grave with Banner’s mind in the Hulk body), Bill Bixby’s health went south and he died before a proposed Rebirth of the Incredible Hulk film could get underway.

Brigette Nielson She-Hulk Image Three
Photo Credit: syfy.com

Trivia Bits:
♦ After the ratings failure of this film, NBC decided not to continue the series. CBS already wanted nothing to do with The Incredible Hulk, prior to The Incredible Hulk Returns (1989). [For] the planned next installment, […] Bill Bixby tried to reach an agreement with ABC and they turned him down. [Then], he did the same for the Fox Network, who agreed to air another movie. Bixby and Fox were doing business together until Bixby was diagnosed with prostate cancer, causing production […] [to] shut down.

Brigette Nielsen was due to be cast in the female role [of She-Hulk]. This was due to be made about 1991. [There] are a handful of photos that feature Nielsen in full makeup and costume, offering a glimpse of what might have been.

NBC Promo

Trailer

9 thoughts on “TV Tuesday: The Death of the Incredible Hulk 1990

    badfinger20 said:
    February 19, 2020 at 12:46 AM

    I hated this one. I wish he would have been able to make another one. No one wanted to see him die. I like this hulk over the CGI one we have now.

    Liked by 1 person

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      February 19, 2020 at 3:37 AM

      This got really poor reviews as it was done on the cheap with many flaws. Some of the continuity from the series was trashed in this film. And, don’t discount Bixby’s ego, either. He directed this and executive produced so, criticism is placed on his shoulders. Considering CBS wanted nothing to do with the film series, he may have butted heads with the suits. Just a thought…

      Considering we grew up with this version of the Hulk, he is more real to us…and, damned plausible.

      Like

    backuphill said:
    February 19, 2020 at 12:03 PM

    Thanks for this reminder. I forgot all about the “extra” movies that were made.

    Like

    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    February 21, 2020 at 5:28 AM

    I didn’t like this one as well. Should have quietly walked off into the sunset.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      February 21, 2020 at 3:18 PM

      That would have been a better ending.

      Like

    Silk Cords said:
    February 29, 2020 at 2:27 AM

    I remember this one also. 🙂
    Despite the negative reactions from some, I felt it was far better than the “Returns” movie. What they did with Thor in that movie was embarrassing. They wonder why superhero genre stuff bombed for so long outside of comics, that’s a textbook example of why. Watered down and distorted characters for fear of the character not being understood, unbelievable or somehow offensive.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      February 29, 2020 at 3:36 AM

      I don’t recall seeing any of the Hulk TV movies. I did watch the series.

      Comic book adaptations got better with CGI technology.

      Liked by 1 person

        Silk Cords said:
        February 29, 2020 at 6:00 AM

        It was more than CGI. When Marvel & Lionsgate turned loose the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they were pulling the stories and characters almost straight from the comics (much less distortion). They gave people credit for being able to accept those characters at the face value that made them huge hits with geeks and the stories skyrocketed. Some characters, like Falcon and Black Panther, are actually 10x better than the comic book versions.

        Like

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