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We Almost Could Have Had Edward Norton Back as Bruce Banner in the ‘She-Hulk’ Finale

Ed Norton as Brue Banner

The Hulk has had a interesting track record in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Starting as the second film in the franchise (technically), The Incredible Hulk gave us Edward Norton as Bruce Banner where, for most of the film, he already was the Hulk (a sequence in the very beginning of the movie showed his origin). It was the start of the MCU’s trend of not showing the origin stories of those we have already seen. (Looking at you, Spider-Man.) But it was also the only time we saw Norton take on Banner.

The movie has become more relevant throughout the last two years, with the Abomination showing up in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, as well as in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, with references to his fight with Bruce in Harlem. With all of that, we’re meant to just accept the recasting of Bruce with Mark Ruffalo, with that film’s arc still being important to his story, which is fine! We’ve done it before in the MCU with Rhodey, and we’ll do it again with Thunderbolt Ross as Harrison Ford takes over the role.

The Direct spoke with She-Hulk director Kat Coiro in the lead up to the series finale, and it seems as if we really could have had it all, though—meaning that we might have gotten the return of Norton as Bruce Banner in the chaos that ensued in the final episode of the series. “There was a lot of talk about the fact that the last time they were together, a different actor was playing the Hulk,” Coiro said. “And Mark [Ruffalo] made quite a few jokes about that. And we did entertain the idea of swapping Mark out for Edward Norton. But that did not come to pass.”

Coiro went on to talk about the process of filming the finale and the chaos we saw onscreen and how she had to explain to the actors that it was the point as they led up to Jen breaking into the Marvel offices. “And then the other thing that I think is kinda fascinating for people to know is that we filmed that finale sequence with everybody in the lodge at the very beginning of shooting,” she added. “And all the actors were like, ‘What in the hell is going on?’ And I had to say, ‘It doesn’t make sense, but don’t worry. That’s the point.’ And that was really unique, from a director’s point of view, because you have to get people to trust you. But then you’re telling them, ‘It doesn’t make sense. It’s not supposed to. Just come along for the ride.'”

Ed Norton in She-Hulk would have ruled

The chaos of that final battle that really ended up being the breaking point for Jen (literally, because she then broke into the Marvel Studios offices to talk to “Kevin” because she didn’t like where the show was going) would have been even weirder had Norton fallen into the scene. I do think it might have been where we realized that something was off.

But Marvel does like to play with merging stories and actors. Just look at the return of Evan Peters as Pietro in WandaVision. So having “Bruce” come back into the series as Edward Norton? This already brilliant show that I love with my whole heart would have been that much funnier.

(via, featured image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.