Is Iron Man 2 A Hulk Prequel?

Now, we don't often indulge idle speculation here at Empire, but something Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau said today on his Twitter feed has sparked our imagination, and could be a major reveal in terms of the plot of The Avengers movie.

Favreau retweeted a question from a follower, who asked Does Iron Man 2 take place before or after Hulk movie?Favreau succinctly replied, Before''.

Now, he may have just been pulling the leg of the imaginatively-named @ThiagoSiQueiraF, but if not, then he's dropped a fairly big piece of news there. As you will doubtless recall, The Incredible Hulk ended with a cameo from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, recruiting William Hurt's General Ross in his Avengers Initiative, with a view to hunting down and stopping the fugitive Hulk.

We - along with pretty much everyone else - presumed that that meeting would take place before the events of Iron Man 2. But Favreau's answer has turned that on its head and has seemingly validated the long-held theory that The Avengers movie will revolve around the super-team - including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Nick Fury - going after Ol' Greenskin (who may or may not be played by Edward Norton).

How this affects Iron Man 2 directly, though, we've no idea - does this mean that the movie will end with Stark hearing about an emerald-skinned monster on the rampage in New York? Will Bruce Banner or Thunderbolt Ross pop up in a brief cameo?

It's over to you - go on, take a leaf out of our book and indulge in idle speculation, dammit!

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