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How Mark Ruffalo Really Feels About She-Hulk Acknowledging Edward Norton's Hulk

It's been no secret that Edward Norton's exit from the Marvel Cinematic Universe after just one film — 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" — was a controversial one. For years, the actor's involvement in both the Universal Pictures movie and the Infinity Saga was never actually talked about or mentioned in the MCU, despite other replacement roles being brought up and acknowledged on the big screen. Take Terrence Howard's role in "Iron Man" as James "Rhodey" Rhodes for instance. When the "Hustle & Flow" Oscar nominee got replaced by Don Cheadle in "Iron Man 2," the recasting was addressed subtly during the film by Cheadle himself. 

"Hey, buddy. I didn't expect to see you here," says Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) just moments after Cheadle's Rhodey shows up on-screen for the first time. "Look, it's me, I'm here. Deal with it. Let's move on," replies Rhodey. 

Up until this week, the Norton casting and his subsequent replacement by Mark Ruffalo in 2012's "The Avengers" had never once been uttered in an MCU project. But that all changed in Episode 2 of Marvel's Disney+ series, "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law," which saw Ruffalo's Bruce Banner offering up a creative hat-tip to his Hulk predecessor in the form of a single one-liner – "I'm a completely different person now ... literally." But how does Ruffalo, who now has multiple films under his belt as the big green guy, really feel about the Norton acknowledgment?

Mark Ruffalo loves that She-Hulk finally addressed Edward Norton's Hulk

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Mark Ruffalo revealed that he was totally on board with the Edward Norton hat-tip that Marvel did in Episode 2 of "She-Hulk" and was actually surprised the studio hadn't done one sooner. 

"I think it's really funny," Ruffalo said. "It's just the reality that we all are often dancing around, but it's true. I actually joked with Ed about this. I was like, 'It's like our generation's Hamlet. Everyone's going to get a shot at it.' And there'll probably be another couple before it's all over. People will be like, 'Remember when the Hulk used to look like Mark Ruffalo? Now it looks like Timothée Chalamet.'" 

One of the best things about playing the Hulk, according to Ruffalo, is getting to see how the character continues to change with each new film installment. "The cool thing about this world is that it could just be anything," he told EW. "Five years from now it could totally morph into anything, whatever's pertinent at the time. I almost see him going back to 'Berserker Hulk' or 'World War Hulk'. It could go anywhere." Ruffalo added that he's already played five versions of the Hulk so far, and he hopes this has helped keep the character interesting, not just for audiences but also for himself as an actor.

For Hulk fans, it's been a long and curvy cinematic road for the character — which has now had three different actors play him on the big screen. There's Ruffalo and Norton, and then Eric Bana in Ang Lee's "Hulk." Ruffalo's mention of "World War Hulk" shouldn't be taken lightly, seeing how "She-Hulk" has seemingly set up a golden opportunity for the comic book story to be adapted by Marvel Studios.