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She-Hulk Director Kat Coiro Wanted To Bring Back Edward Norton As The Hulk

There was a lot of drama back in 2010 around the replacement of Edward Norton in "The Avengers." While Norton had played Bruce Banner in the original 2008 "The Incredible Hulk" solo film, he was abruptly replaced by Mark Ruffalo in 2012's "The Avengers." There was a lot of drama surrounding the decision to recast Bruce Banner, with accusations flying in both directions. In 2010, Marvel President Kevin Feige said in a now-deleted statement to the now-defunct website Hitfix that the decision had nothing to do with money. 

"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," Feige said in his statement. "The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H, Chris E, Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks" (via The Atlantic).

Norton's agent was furious and fired back with a similarly now-deleted statement also on Hitfix saying "Feige's statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory" (also via The Atlantic). In an interview with The New York Times in 2019, Norton explained that he had outlined two Hulk movies for Marvel that were inspired by the tone of Christopher Nolan's Batman films. According to Norton, Marvel told him that was exactly what they wanted, but it would seem that wasn't the case.

So what are the chances of Edward Norton returning to the MCU as Bruce Banner? Probably not great, but there was one time recently when it was suggested.

There was discussion of having Norton appear in She-Hulk

In the "She-Hulk" episode "Superhuman Law," Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) says that he approves of his cousin, Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) representing his former enemy Emil Blonsky/The Abomination (Tim Roth) saying "I'm a completely different person now, literally," thus poking fun at the casting change. But there potentially could have been more than just a one-line joke about the switch from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo.

In an interview with The Direct, "She-Hulk" director Kat Coiro said that she had briefly toyed with the idea of bringing in Edward Norton as a special guest star. "There was a lot of talk about the fact that the last time they were together a different actor was playing the Hulk," Coiro explained. "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." According to the article, Coiro was only considering Norton for the one brief scene in the season finale "Whose Show Is This?"

In an interview with EW, Ruffalo explained that he was tickled by the way "She-Hulk" poked fun at the recasting of the role. According to Ruffalo, he even joked about it with Norton himself, making jokes about the possibility of recasting the role yet again. "People will be like, 'Remember when the Hulk used to look like Mark Ruffalo? Now it looks like Timothée Chalamet.'" All joking aside, fans probably aren't ready to say goodbye to Ruffalo's version of The Hulk just yet.