The MCU actors have become well-known faces throughout the world for their appearance as invincible superheroes in the franchise. Where most fans claim MCU’s casting was top-notch, there have been a few actors like Edward Norton, who were later replaced by permanent faces like Mark Ruffalo.
The 2008 standalone movie, The Incredible Hulk is something of an outlier in the MCU, where Edward Norton who portrayed Bruce Banner unfortunately got to play the Hulk once. Later, with the beginning of The Avengers in 2012, Mark Ruffalo replaced Norton to deliver his own spin as the green Goliath. Evidently, Ruffalo was supposed to appear in The Incredible Hulk but was rejected by Marvel. Guess why.
Mark Ruffalo Was Rejected By Marvel For The Incredible Hulk
Despite grossing around $264M worldwide, The Incredible Hulk didn’t make a grand success, unlike other standalone movies from Marvel. The 2008 Marvel movie suffered tumultuous production, beginning from casting to screenwriting. Louis Leterrier who directed the movie wanted to cast Mark Ruffalo as the green Goliath.
However, Marvel wanted Edward Norton to play Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk. Attempting to cast Norton as the lead role since he was “more famous”, the franchise suffered immensely with their movie. Although Mark Ruffalo is now synonymous with Hulk, back then he was an unconventional choice, since he only did “smart intellectual films”.
Although Marvel rejected Leterrier’s choice, the director had fun working with Edward Norton. However, according to co-star Tim Roth, Norton had an overbearing nature that led to messy situations on set. Apparently, the actor negotiated to be an uncredited screenwriter which caused major issues as he often came up with revised versions of the script.
Why Did Mark Ruffalo Later Replace Edward Norton?
Facing major setbacks following Edward Norton’s appearance as the lead in The Incredible Hulk (2008), Marvel decided to replace him with Mark Ruffalo. Although Marvel initially decided to give Norton another chance and recast him for The Avengers, the actor parted ways with the studio due to internal conflict.
Thus, after Edward Norton left the franchise, Mark Ruffalo returned to be the leading man. The actor appeared as both Bruce Banner and the Hulk in all The Avengers films, as well as Thor: Ragnarok and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Although Ruffalo never got a solo film, he was successful at charming his audience with his appearance as the green Goliath.
Although it is often considered difficult to fill the space of another actor who played the same role, Mark Ruffalo was successful in being the Hulk for his fans. Now, when we recall the gigantic Hulk, it’s always Ruffalo’s face that appears in our minds. Successfully replacing Edward Norton despite being rejected in the first place, Ruffalo brought an endearing, low-key pathos to the hero.