Edward Norton was originally the face behind the famous MCU character, Bruce Banner/ Hulk. But he was eventually replaced by Mark Ruffalo who has continued to play the role ever since. He was infamously known for taking creative control over the screenplay of the 2008 movie, The Incredible Hulk. Screenwriter, Zak Penn revealed a particular sequence which the former drastically changed as he wanted his character to do something entirely different from what was originally written.
The 2008 movie introduced the fans to Bruce Banner who transforms into the Hulk under intense anger or stress. He is one of the most important characters in the canon which made the movie an essential addition to the MCU. However, Norton insisted on several changes in the screenplay with one being a major scene in the movie’s ending.
Edward Norton Made Major Changes in Script’s Ending
In the new book, MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios (via The Direct), The Incredible Hulk screenwriter, Zak Penn shared insights on how the lead actor, Edward Norton took creative control to make minor to major adjustments in the movie.
One of the major changes he revealed was done in the movie’s ending which he was unable to comprehend. The scene in question is when Thunderbolt Ross throws Bruce Banner out of a helicopter which was completely changed.
“There was some stuff at the end that he really changed. I had a scene where, when Ross picked Banner up from the hospital earlier in the movie, he throws him out of the helicopter. It was a pretty shocking moment. They moved that to a moment when he chooses to jump into Harlem.”
He continued to share how that scene would theoretically put innocent lives in danger.
“So that’s a big difference: I felt like [the original version] would have been a really cool scene, and I didn’t totally understand why he would jump out into Harlem, given that he could theoretically kill a lot of people.”
The major friction between the actor and the team became one of the major reasons behind his exit from the franchise.
Edward Norton’s Creative Differences Led to His Exit from MCU
Different factors eventually led to his exit from the role but his controlling nature in the movie’s production was what made things worse. Not only did he insist on making alterations in the screenplay but making the character go berserk was what the MCU never wanted since the character is a crucial figure in the MCU.
Due to extensive creative differences, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige revealed his plans to recast the character.
“Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.”
Norton was eventually replaced with Mark Ruffalo who played the role ever since beginning with 2012’s The Avengers. Unlike Norton, casting Ruffalo turned out to be one of the best decisions as he not only kept the character mellow but he also solidified Hulk’s legacy in the MCU.
The Incredible Hulk is available to watch on Disney+.