Edward Norton hasn’t played the Hulk since 2008. But is some of Marvel’s current narrative experiments on ‘What If…?’ allowing him to reprise his role back as The Hulk? Keep reading to find out.
‘The Incredible Hulk’, starring Norton in the titular role, was released in June 2008 as the second instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just over a month after Iron Man. However, Norton publicly left the character and the franchise in 2010, and Mark Ruffalo took over as Bruce Banner/Hulk in a fan casting in 2012’s ‘The Avengers’.
- MCU is planning to bring back the former Hulk – Edward Norton
- So, is Edward Norton reprising his role back?
MCU is planning to bring back the Former Hulk – Edward Norton
‘What If…?’ is Marvel’s fourth Disney+ original series. By narrating alternate history-style stories of MCU events, it builds on the multiversal groundwork established down by ‘Loki‘ and ‘Avengers: Endgame‘. It is inspired by the general concept of the same-named comic book series, as well as a few other sources, such as the Marvel Zombies limited series, which will be adapted in a future episode. Characters taking on each other’s roles have already been proved to be an effective depiction of this in the first two episodes. As part of that scenario, the show returned to an early scene in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Banner, this time from ‘The Incredible Hulk’s’ University showdown in 2008.
Writer A.C. Bradley raised the potential of bringing in the original Hulk to voice the character in the show, if Mark Ruffalo didn’t work out, in an interview with Discussing Film (via Comicbook.com). Bradley said, “I did joke early on, ‘If we can’t get Ruffalo back are we going to ask Norton?’ And I was told that Mark Ruffalo already agreed to do the show…”
So, is Edward Norton reprising his role?
So, no, Edward Norton will not reprise this role, but it appears that it was discussed, even if as a joke. It’s easy to forget today, more than a decade later, that Edward Norton was the original choice for the role of Bruce Banner by the studio. ‘The Incredible Hulk’ was the second Marvel film in Phase One, coming just a few months after ‘Iron Man’. The series was nothing like what we know it to be now, and the world was still forming. Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., kicked things off, but Louis Leterrier’s take on the big green galoot in ‘The Incredible Hulk’ had a very different tone and approach to the character.
‘The Incredible Hulk’ underperformed ‘Iron Man’ at the box office, grossing $134 million versus $319 million, and received an only lukewarm critical response. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a rating of 67 percent, which is one of the lowest for the entire franchise. In the years since there have been some conflicting messages about why Edward Norton did not reprise the role when ‘The Avengers’ began their journey. Norton has stated that he wishes to broaden his career beyond the realm of comic books. However, there have been reports that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige wanted to go in a different direction.
With the way Marvel is managing the multiverse these days, bringing back characters from prior iterations while also introducing new ones, there’s always the chance that a previous actor or actress reprises a role or returns from the dead. It’s possible that Edward Norton will be involved at some point in the future.
Let us hope Edward Norton reprises his role as The Hulk. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments down below.