The MCU is known for its stellar casting but there were a few mishaps where the casting didn’t work out. The biggest one of these casting changes definitely came in the case of Bruce Banner/ The Hulk. The Hulk was first portrayed by Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk before being played by Mark Ruffalo in the MCU.
The swap isn’t an issue for most people but fans sometimes like to explain away these kind of gaps in their own way. As such, one Redditor had an interesting theory about Banner’s change in appearance from The Incredible Hulk to Avengers. bu the question is- does this explanation hold?
Bruce Banner Looks Like Mark Ruffalo Due To A Suicide Attempt
In Avengers, Banner remarked that he tried to commit suicide. He states that he put a bullet in his mouth, but “the other guy spit it out.”
The reason this line is important is because there’s a deleted scene in The Incredible Hulk where the same suicide attempt is carried out. In the deleted scene, Banner finds himself somewhere in the Arctic, atop a massive glacier. He pulls out a revolver and pulls back the hammer of the gun. But just before he is able to commit the tragic act, he transforms into Hulk. Enraged, Hulk crushes the gun and then the scene cuts to the glacier breaking apart as Hulk lets out a roar.
The fan theory states that the shot to Banner’s mouth basically restructured his entire face. When Banner transformed into Hulk, the change caused all wounds to heal but they did so in a manner that made Bruce’s face resemble Mark Ruffalo’s rather than Edward Norton’s.
The Bruce Banner Looks Like Mark Ruffalo Theory Has Some Holes
There are a few counts on which this theory fails. First of all, this deleted scene was meant to be an alternate opening to The Incredible Hulk. As such, it doesn’t take place between that film and Avengers. In fact it’s before both of them. So, if the change was legitimate, it would have been Ruffalo portraying Banner in The Incredible Hulk rather than Norton.
Mark Ruffalo and Edward Norton also look nothing alike. They have different physiques overall. Norton is leaner than Ruffalo and Ruffalo’s complexion is also pretty noticeably deeper than Norton’s, A gunshot to the head doesn’t explain the rest of the physical changes.
While this theory is interesting to contemplate, but there are some elements in it which doesn’t work. It’s ultimately another pointless effort to explain a change in actors. It’s way better to go the other way round and rework the canon by placing the new actor in the old one’s spot. Just imagine that Banner always looked by Mark Ruffalo and that the Edward Norton version doesn’t necessarily exist. The same kind of dilemma also pops up with War Machine/ Rhodey and Howard Stark.
Of course this doesn’t mean that Norton shouldn’t get credit for The Incredible Hulk. He gives a great performance, given what he had to work with. But Mark Ruffalo owns the role of Hulk now and will continue to do so till the character’s time properly comes to an end.
If you want to know why Edward Norton didn’t play The Hulk in the MCU then click on the video below: