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Hulk’s scrapped MCU Phase 1 plans have been revealed by original actor Edward Norton

hulk
(Image credit: Marvel/Universal)

Edward Norton, who played Hulk before Mark Ruffalo stepped into the ripped pants of the Jade Giant, has outlined the character’s original MCU plans – including a two-part film that shared several brooding qualities with Christopher Nolan’s Batman series.

Norton told The New York Times (opens in new tab): “I laid out a two-film thing: the origin and then the idea of Hulk as the conscious dreamer, the guy who can handle the trip.”

Instead of Hulk’s latter-day MCU conflict – which involved Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner at odds with his monstrous alter-ego – Norton’s plans would have seemingly wrapped that up inside two movies. Surprisingly, Marvel allegedly wanted to forge ahead with the idea.

“[Marvel] were like, ‘That’s what we want!’” though both parties eventually went their separate paths, as Norton explained matter-of-factly: “As it turned out, that wasn’t what they wanted.”

While Norton doesn’t go into depth on the plot beats of the potential two-parter, he does reveal that the scrapped project thematically mirrored what was then the current comic book movie king back in 2008, The Dark Knight. “What Chris Nolan had done with Batman was going down a path that I aligned with: long, dark and serious,” Norton said. “If there was ever a thing that I thought had that in it, it was the Hulk.”

Norton, though, eventually departed the MCU after just one film, despite the actor saying, “We had positive discussions about going on with the films, and we looked at the amount of time that would’ve taken, and I wasn’t going to do that,” before candidly admitting, “I honestly would’ve wanted more money than they’d have wanted to pay me. But that’s not why I would’ve wanted to do another Hulk movie anyway”

Somewhere out there exists a multiverse with a Dark Knight-style Hulk series. We’re just not in it. Instead, producer Kevin Feige is cracking on with his Marvel Phase 4 (opens in new tab) plans, which now includes a Disney Plus She-Hulk series (opens in new tab)

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it's our newly-updated best superhero movies (opens in new tab) list, featuring the Avengers, Spider-Man, and much more.

Bradley Russell
Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.