Hulk (2003) Eric Bana Bruce Banner

The Incredible Hulk (2008) Edward Norton Bruce Banner

The Avengers (2012) Mark Ruffalo Bruce Banner

Is there any reason why different actors are used in different versions of the same role?

  • 2
    @BenPlont here i differ i like Eric Bana more then Edward Norton but Mark Ruffalo version is best.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 8:11
  • Bana looks too handsome and strong to be the weak nerdy scientist that turns into an 8 foot monster when angered. He didn't try to put on as being soft and frail at all either. Norton's character actually was, kind of skinny and frail and you could tell he'd been attacked and abused on several ocassions because he was learning self defense and taking anger management to focus on controling the hulk. The importance of his struggle with the hulk with in weren't at all important in the movie, it was just about his daddy issues which was stupid. Betty was the love of his life and in order to be wi
    – user9688
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:48
  • Usually a combination of casting, budget, schedules, preferences
    – DA.
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 22:34
  • I don't find the Mark Ruffalo character well developed at all... I'd rather have Eric Bana for the looks and Norton for the acting. But I don't think any of them got it just right.
    – LeonX
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 13:18
  • Although the best Hulk really was from Ruffalo.
    – LeonX
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


The Eric Bana version of the Hulk was critically panned, receiving poor reviews from critics and fans alike, thus, Marvel called for a reboot to be tied into their Avengers plan.

From what I understood, Edward Norton quit after the 2008 version due to a lot of internal disputes (more information can be found on this answer to a similar question I asked before)

Thus, with the departure of Edward Norton from the Avengers Universe Hulk, Marvel hired Mark Ruffalo to handle the role, and from <Rumors> rumors I have found, he will continue playing the Hulk in a planned release, due after the Avengers 2 </Rumors>

  • 1
    Marvel didn't reboot the series with The Incredible Hulk, it's hinted that it continues from Hulk. Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 3:30
  • 1
    @DrThaddeusVenture i think you got wrong information Hulk is a stand alone film and Incredible hulk is its reboot and a part of Marvel cinematic universe
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 14:49
  • 1
    @AnkitSharma He has a slight point in that the way they play off Norton's Hulk it works as a spiritual successor to Ang Lee's Hulk.
    – Tablemaker
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 16:59
  • 6
    Call me a complete comic illiterate (and rightfully so) or someone who hasn't ever had any interest in Hulk at all, but I found the infamous Eric Bana movie great and nothing less than unique.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 21:42
  • 1
    @ChristianRau ... I'm wondering about the negative comments I've just read about Eric Bana's portrayal as well. I am a fan of his movies and particularly his portrayal of Bruce Banner. The movie itself with its comic book styled scenes were very interesting and unique. I agree with you. Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 23:49

Marvel simply decided they wanted someone else to play him

To quote Kevin Feige, President of Production for Marvel Studios:

We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. 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. 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.


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