Mark Ruffalo Updates: Being one of Marvel’s most recognizable characters, the Hulk deserves to have a standalone movie. But here are the reasons why it will not happen.
The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton was one of the first MCU movies and helped the Marvel Studio out of bankruptcy. Edward Norton was the first Hulk of the MCU but was part of only one film.
The Incredible Hulk was released only a month after Macy’s first film Iron Man (2008) which was groundbreaking in its way. However, the film was overshadowed by Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian. Marvel Studios in 2008 was not the big entity that it is now. Iron Man/ Tony Stark was not known well outside the comics like Spider-Man.
However, Bruce Banner/Hulk was big, literally and physically, even then. Therefore, The Incredible Hulk was meant to be a big success.
Edward Norton who was cast as the lead in The Incredible Hulk was an incredibly respected actor by then with films like Fight Club (1999) and The Italian Job (2005) under his arm. However, after the filming Marvel Studios released a statement saying that Norton will not be continuing as the Hulk and the reason was creative differences between the actor and the creative team.
What happened was that during production, Norton started voicing creative differences with the cast and crew to the point that he rewrote the entire script and also involved himself in the editing process. Marvel didn’t like this and said that Norton was difficult to work with. Therefore, Edward Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo.
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Ruffalo entered the MCU in the movie Avengers (2012) and reprised his role in Iron Man 3 in the post-credit scene, and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). The Hulk was absent from Captain America: Civil War because he escaped after the Battle of Sokovia. Ruffalo’s Hulk made a triumphant return in the 2017 film Thor: Ragnarok, which put him in a different light. Thor: Ragnarok presented Hulk as a comic relief, which was very well received by the audience.
Thor: Ragnarok also started a trend in the franchise, the Marvel movies started becoming lighter and more comedic. The Hulk and Thor both showcase their goofy, jovial side in this film. In The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner/Hulk’s origin story has already been explored, therefore, Marvel could do it again or continue to use Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk as a punchline in future movies.
Another reason why Marvel has not gone forward with a Hulk solo movie is that the character is co-owned by Universal Studios and Marvel. Universal and Marvel don’t play well with each other, they reportedly cannot reach a contract that would allow making a Hulk solo movie. Even if it comes to be, Universal will get the bigger cut and Marvel would not like that.
The Hulk’s development seems to have ended with Avengers: Endgame where Bruce Banner was seen becoming Professor Hulk. Mark Ruffalo, however, will be appearing in the Marvel series She-Hulk which is currently in production.
She-Hulk follows Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who specializes in superhuman-oriented legal cases. It remains to be seen at what capacity Ruffalo will be joining the cast of She-Hulk.
It seems Marvel is not done with The Hulk as Ruffalo will not only be seen in She-Hulk but has also voiced his character in the upcoming Marvel animated series What If…? However, the chances of him getting a solo movie seem thin, unless the character rights are reversed or bought, or terminated.