The Incredible Hulk (2008), directed by Louis Leterrier from a script by Zak Penn, starred Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk. The film was the second in line for Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Marvel Studios regained ownership of the character, but Universal kept distribution rights.
After its June debut, The Incredible Hulk garnered positive reviews for its action scenes but also received criticism for lacking any real substance. It’s interesting to note that the actor was replaced by fan favorite Mark Ruffalo since he did not approve of the final edit of the film provided by the producers. Nevertheless, a scene that was cut from the film shows the entry of another superhero in the MCU who went on to become one of the most admired superheroes.
Louis Leterrier shares Edward Norton’s The Incredible Hulk’s connection with Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers
In an interview with Josh Horowitz for his Happy Sad Confused podcast, director Louis Leterrier watched 2008’s The Incredible Hulk once again which starred Edward Norton, sharing some anecdotes and unknown stories about the movie. During the conversation, he said a small detail that connects The Incredible Hulk to Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers’ entry into the MCU.
Unfortunately, the opening scene never made it to the movie, but the director explained,
“Banner was traveling up north, up to the North Pole and we shot it in Bacula in, um, in Canada and, was uh walking up a glacier and trying to off himself, stripping off all his clothes and Edward did that and putting a gun in his mouth and we focus on the eyes and the eyes turn green and then we go into a point of view and he hulks out but it’s all point of view we don’t see that he saves him basically Hulk saves Banner.”
The director continued to share that,
“It’s very interesting that he does his first Hulk smash, breaks the glacier and as he breaks the glacier you see one piece of the glacier Shield.”
The shield referenced in the conversation is of Steve Rogers who, after defeating the Red Skull, had to make a huge sacrifice that left him frozen for 70 years. It was indeed a sneaky cameo for Cap.
Edward Norton made changes to Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk’s screenplay
Writer Zak Penn, who wrote the screenplay for The Incredible Hulk, had shared in the new book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios via The Direct that Edward Norton, who played Bruce Banner in the movie, had taken over the screenplay, adding that he insisted on some changes to the screenplay ranging from minor to major. He recalled,
“I had him walking east down the street wearing a blue hat and now he’s walking west down the street wearing a red hat. And I had named his downstairs neighbor Lorina, and he changed it to Malina or something. There was some stuff at the end that he really changed. I had a scene where, when Ross picked Banner up from the hospital earlier in the movie, he throws him out of the helicopter. It was a pretty shocking moment. They moved that to a moment when he chooses to jump into Harlem.”
Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo after The Incredible Hulk and it was reported that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige intends to never work with Norton again. It was announced that the character would be recast with someone who is more collaborative.