Unless your name is Terrence Howard or Edward Norton, if you sign on to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then the chances are high that you’ll be sticking around for a while. When it comes to the latter, in particular, his notoriously prickly reputation and fondness for becoming heavily involved in the creative side of his movies meant he was never destined to be an integral part of a franchise where Kevin Feige is the one and only person that calls the shots.
The Incredible Hulk did so-so business at the box office, scored middling reviews from critics and was swiftly swept under the rug never to be mentioned again. In fact, if it wasn’t for the recent return of William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross, then you could erase the entire movie from continuity and it wouldn’t change a single thing about the complexion of the MCU.
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Mark Ruffalo was officially announced to be replacing Norton as Bruce Banner for The Avengers in July 2010, but despite having been a part of the franchise for over ten years at this point, the actor admitted that he still doesn’t feel like he belongs there, which is a bizarre notion when you consider that he’s been the Hulk for a decade and has played the character seven times.
“Yeah. Every time I’m whining like, ‘God damn, how long are we waiting for the set up?’. I’m like, ‘Hey, remember you’re not even supposed to be here’. Right. I just remember to be grateful because I still can’t believe it. I still keep thinking, ‘They’re going to throw me out of the club. I never belonged here in the first place and they’re all going to find out’.”
Should Ruffalo sign on the dotted line as expected to reprise the role once again in upcoming Disney Plus show She-Hulk, maybe he’ll finally be able to wrap his head around the fact that not only does he belong in the MCU, but the Hulk is also one of the shared universe’s most popular supporting players that fans would love to see stick around for as long as possible, even if there’s a legal minefield to navigate when it comes to him getting a solo movie.