Edward Norton was supportive of Mark Ruffalo taking over the role of Hulk in the MCU.

mark ruffalo as hulk, edward norton in the incredible hulk

Mark Ruffalo, who replaced Edward Norton by taking over as Hulk in the MCU, has been very candid about the recasting of the Marvel superhero. Norton starred in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk. However, the studio decided to recast the character for future projects reportedly due to creative differences with Norton, alleging that they sought an actor who could blend well with The Avengers ensemble cast.


Mark RuffaloMark Ruffalo | Credit: Marvel Studios
And the studio decided to move ahead with Ruffalo, who made his MCU debut with the 2012 film. However, after landing the role, he did reach out to the Fight Club star to discuss the transition and shared that Norton offered his full support for his future in the superhero franchise.

Mark Ruffalo Reached Out to Edward Norton Upon Securing the Role of Hulk in the MCU

Replacing Edward Norton in the MCU was a significant challenge for Mark Ruffalo, particularly as the two have been good friends. Amid reported clashes between Norton and Marvel Studios, leading to Norton’s departure due to alleged collaboration issues, Ruffalo reached out to his friend.
The Incredible Hulk (2008) | Credit: IMDb
And he was supportive of Ruffalo taking on the role, as he told him, “You’ve gotta do it, buddy.” The 56-year-old actor recalled his conversation with the American History X star in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying,

“Norton and I are actually friends. I called him, he was like, ‘You’ve gotta do it, buddy.’ He basically bequeathed it to me — It was very cool and very generous of him. I have a deep loyalty to actors, so I wanted to get his blessing before I moved forward on it.”

Hulk in the MCU | Marvel StudiosHulk in the MCU | Credit: Marvel Studios
He also reflected on the tensions between the studio and his fellow actor. While he mentioned that there were “different clashes,” he also stated that he was unaware of the exact conflicts between the two parties and refrained from presuming specifics.
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The Oscar-nominated actor has since portrayed the role of the Hulk in the MCU for the past 12 years, reprising his role in movies, shows, and animated series, and is also expected to appear in future MCU projects.


Why Did Marvel Studios Replace Edward Norton as Hulk?

Soon after launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the 2008 film Iron Man, the studio released The Incredible Hulk. Despite a lukewarm reception and earning $265 million globally, there were reportedly discussions of a sequel.

However, Kevin Feige later issued a statement regarding Hulk’s recasting for The Avengers, citing “the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.”
Edward Norton's Hulk in The Incredible HulkEdward Norton’s Hulk in The Incredible Hulk | Credit: Universal
The issues surrounding Norton’s “collaborative spirit” arose from his contributions to the script of the film. Reports stated that the Primal Fear star was “promised tremendous involvement and access” and wanted to explore his character. However, the studio wanted a more action-packed narrative for the movie.


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Despite their disagreement, Norton reportedly met Joss Whedon for The Avengers before he was kicked out of the MCU. He has been very open about his short run in the franchise, as he stated during the Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis.
The Incredible Hulk (2008) | Credit: IMDbThe Incredible Hulk (2008) | Credit: IMDb
He said, as per MovieWeb, “I did a big action movie called The Incredible Hulk. You know what went wrong? I wanted a better script.” While actors like Tim Roth and William Hurt would go on to reprise their respective roles in the MCU, Norton was replaced by Ruffalo.

The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers are available to stream on Disney+.