‘Hulk’ Actor Banned From Appearing in MCU Ever Again

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Marvel's Avengers including Thor, Black Widow, Captain Avenger, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and the Hulk, look up at the destruction of the city.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel wants nothing to do with these individuals.

Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America teaming up in Avengers: Age of Ultron
Credit: Marvel Studios

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For many years, Kevin Feige has held the position of President at Marvel Studios. Under his leadership, Marvel Studios has steered the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), now owned by The Walt Disney Company. The MCU, inspired by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Marvel Comics, has undeniably made a profound impact on the superhero film genre and the film industry as a whole, irrespective of differing viewpoints. The sprawling superhero narrative, referred to as the Infinity Saga, achieved its peak with the eagerly awaited debuts of Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 and Avengers: Endgame in 2019, signifying the conclusion of Phase Three.

Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man getting ready to fight Thanos in Endgame
Credit: Marvel Studios

With Robert Downey Jr.’s iconic portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man culminating in a heroic sacrifice to defeat Thanos (Josh Brolin), and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers passing the mantle of Captain America to Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson/Falcon, the MCU has embarked on a new chapter known as the Multiverse Saga.

The MCU is now poised on the verge of a significant opportunity as it readies itself to bring prominent superhero teams like the Fantastic Four and X-Men into the forefront. Since then, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has made significant advancements, most notably with the release of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers in 2012, a movie that redefined the superhero genre.

Iron Man (left) and Captain America (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios

The Hulk in Marvel

The Hulk, also known as Dr. Bruce Banner, is a pivotal character in the Marvel Universe for numerous reasons. He possesses unparalleled superhuman strength, making him one of the strongest characters in Marvel. The duality of his character, struggling with his human side and the destructive power of the Hulk, is a key component of his narrative.

As a founding member of the Avengers, the Hulk has played a vital role in the success and popularity of the superhero team. His versatility, ability to serve as both hero and threat, and involvement in iconic storylines, such as “Planet Hulk” and “World War Hulk,” further emphasize his significance. Moreover, the Hulk’s crossover events and his status as a pop culture icon contribute to his enduring importance in the Marvel Universe.

Eric Bana as the Incredible Hulk
Credit: Universal Studios

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The Hulk has been portrayed in the realm of film in various forms. Starting with the 1978 TV series The Incredible Hulk, the character’s live-action journey has included portrayals by actors like Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. In 2003, Ang Lee’s Hulk starring Eric Bana explored the psychological aspects of the character, followed by a reboot in 2008 with Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk, integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Mark Ruffalo took over as Bruce Banner/Hulk in the MCU, bringing depth and complexity to the character. The Hulk’s portrayal evolved in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), showcasing a more articulate and intelligent Professor Hulk/Smart Hulk. The character’s journey concluded in Avengers: Endgame, marking the Hulk’s significant impact on the MCU and film adaptations.

Mark Ruffalo as Hulk in Avengers: Endgame mcu
Credit: Marvel Studios

The MCU’s Blacklisted Names

Recently, news outlet Dexerto brought this particular piece of information to light, taken from the recently published “MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios” by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards. This tell-all touched on Marvel President Kevin Feige’s alleged blacklist of actors and creatives — which include one Edward Norton and The Avengers director Joss Whedon:

If the Inhumans could be rehabilitated, apparently everyone in MCU history was on Feige’s call list—except Edward Norton, the franchise’s first Bruce Banner, and Joss Whedon, whose Agents of SHIELD characters remained in limbo.

Kevin Feige with the Avengers in the background
Credit: Inside the Magic

Feige made the following announcement after the fallout with The Incredible Hulk lead, making it clear that the decision to no longer work with the actor was based not on “monetary factors” but on the need for the lead in question to work well with other cast members, and embody the right “creativity and collaborative spirit” — shorthand for “Norton is not a good person to work with and therefore not joining the Avengers“:

We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.

It seems as if these two people have absolutely no chance of returning to the MCU on the instruction of Kevin Feige himself. Marvel fans of Edward Norton’s Hulk won’t be seeing his Multiversal variant in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty or Avengers: Secret Wars, unfortunately. Nor will Joss Whedon return to direct in the ever-expanding MCU.

What do you think about these two banned MCU names? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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