The actor, Edward Norton had originally been the Hulk in Marvel’s movie, The Incredible Hulk, but his stint did not really last very long with Mark Ruffalo having replaced him in the movie, The Avengers.
Having been directed by Louis Leterrier, The Incredible Hulk was not as well received as its predecessor, but it has been considered an improvement from the 2003 Hulk. Norton’s performance had been well-received and had left no indication that Marvel Studios would replace him.
Norton had been expected to reprise this role in the movie, The Avengers, but before filming the crossover film in 2010, Marvel had released a statement that they would not bring back Norton because they are looking for “an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.” They had maintained that the decision was not “based on monetary factors.”
Many believe that the comment had been in relation to Norton rewriting the film’s script – he had also called out Marvel for Incredible Hulk’s bad script.
Norton’s team had then come out with a statement and denied Marvel Studios’ claims. Calling out Kevin Feige for offensive comments, they had claimed that there were conversations about Norton reprising the role in The Avengers and that he was very excited at the idea of joining all the MCU actors for the film.
However, “after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions… a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part.”
Mark Ruffalo had been announced to be taking over as the character, Hulk. He had been presented at Marvel Studios’ San Diego Comic-Con 2010 panel with the whole cast of The Avengers. The actor had then admitted that he was nervous to take on this role but maintained that he is friends with Norton and he feels like he “has bequeathed this part” to him.
Four years after the recasting, Norton had addressed the actor switch-up for the very first time in the year, 2014, although he had offered another variation of this story from his former employer and also his representatives. According to the actor, he had left the role on his own accord.
“Maybe on some unconscious level, I didn’t want to have an association with one thing in any way degrade my effectiveness as an actor, in characters. I think you can sort of do anything once, but if you do it too many times, it can become a suit that’s hard to take off, in other peoples’ eyes,” he had said.