Incredible Hulk Director Opens Up About Maligned Marvel Movie, Stands Up For Edward Norton

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Director Louis Leterrier says Edward Norton was right to defend the more serious tone of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. The movie was the second installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Iron Man. However, its reception was poor, and it only managed to bring in $264 million in global ticket sales compared to the $585 million earned by Iron Man.

Edward Norton Wanted The Incredible Hulk To Have A Similar Feel To The Dark Knight

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Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Leterrier talked about how tense things became on The Incredible Hulk set. “It was very tense about the tone and the level of humor,” the director recalled. “Although Edward is very funny, all his friends are comedians, and he is an extremely funny guy, he was very right in defending the seriousness of the movie.”

“You have to remember, the mid-2010s, The Dark Knight had such an impact on superhero movies,” Leterrier added. The Christopher Nolan movie opened a month after The Incredible Hulk and was praised for its grounded approach to the superhero genre. Norton wanted his movie to be similar to the tone found in Nolan’s projects as opposed to Marvel‘s blend of comedy and drama.

Leterrier’s Sequel Would Introduce New Hulks

Harrison Ford

Leterrier also had plans for a sequel to The Incredible Hulk that were ultimately scrapped. The follow-up would have introduced other versions of the character, such as Grey Hulk and Red Hulk. However, due to complicated rights issues (Universal Pictures owns the rights to any movies focusing solely on the Hulk) and the failure of the first movie, Marvel cast Mark Ruffalo as the new Bruce Banner.

Marvel Recasts The Hulk

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Ruffalo made his MCU debut in 2012’s The Avengers. He played the Hulk in subsequent films, including Iron Man 3, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marveland Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Although the character lived on, Leterrier previously said that it’s “far from” the version he was building with The Incredible Hulk film.

Many Fans Prefer The Incredible Hulk Story

Still, The Incredible Hulk remains a favorite among die-hard fans. The story follows scientist Bruce Banner, who struggles with the consequences of a gamma radiation experiment gone wrong. This incident transforms him into the Hulk whenever he experiences intense anger or stress. Banner is desperate to find a cure and attempts to track down data related to the Super Soldier experiment.

While The Incredible Hulk received praise for its action sequences and portrayal of the Hulk, some critics found fault with the film’s pacing and character development. The film includes subtle nods to the broader Marvel universe, with references to S.H.I.E.L.D. and Tony Stark (Iron Man). Additionally, Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk in the 1970s television series, makes a cameo, as does Stan Lee.

Will The Hulk Ever Get Another Solo Film?


The Incredible Hulk also features a post-credits scene, a tradition that would become a hallmark of the MCU. The snippet sees Tony Stark approach General Ross, hinting at the formation of The Avengers. While the director and lead star never got to realize their vision for the Hulk, the movie laid the groundwork for the interconnected storytelling that would become a defining feature of the franchise.

Since then, there have been several rumors stating that a solo Hulk movie may be in development after Marvel Studios regained the rights to The Incredible Hulk from Universal Pictures in early 2023. According to industry insiders, Mark Ruffalo will reprise his role as Bruce Banner if the solo outing gets the green light. The Hulk is also said to appear in Avengers: Kang Dynasty.

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