Even Mark Ruffalo Isn’t Sure When Hulk Could Return to the Big Screen

Numerous media analysts have looked at how much short shrift Hulk has been given in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). After once being one of the most popular Marvel superheroes next to Spider-Man, he seems to have taken a back seat to all the other Avengers on the big screen.

What’s to blame for that is arguably complex and a number of factors. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the fourth actor to ever portray the Hulk: Mark Ruffalo.

Ruffalo helped improve the character tenfold after Edward Norton tried to make it work in the first MCU Hulk film. Now Ruffalo admits Hulk is probably done, or at least with him in the role. He says Avengers: Endgame was kind of a conclusion to Hulk, even if one can argue his story isn’t finished.

Did Marvel make The Hulk too uninteresting?

Mark Ruffalo at the 'Avengers: Infinity War' premiere
Mark Ruffalo at the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ premiere | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

When Ruffalo talked about reprising the role again during a recent interview on The Graham Norton Show, he said he just didn’t know if it would happen. He said it needs a good reason to happen, something that might have been quashed by Marvel on purpose.

One can easily argue Hulk became a little bit less intriguing in the Avengers films since he was less humanized by the victimization of CGI. Seeing the hybrid version of Banner/Hulk (Smart Hulk) also didn’t help matters.

For those who’ve grown up with the original The Incredible Hulk TV show, the MCU version didn’t have quite as much mystery or scare factor. Plus, with Hulk depending on the other Avengers to help out fighting villains, it seems Marvel has no faith in letting Banner/Hulk have his own story.

Most fans will probably find it strange that since the oversized hybrid Hulk is now the norm in the current Marvel universe, how will he go unnoticed without the surviving Avengers running into him somewhere?

The memories of the original Hulk likely still prevail

Anyone who grew up with the original CBS series The Incredible Hulk in the late ’70s/early ’80s will remember how compelling the show was in bringing a more humanized angle to the story. Most of that was attributed to the excellent performances of Bill Bixby as (David) Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk.

Ferrigno’s Hulk is so iconic and eerie, nobody could remove those images from their minds. No wonder 2003’s Ang Lee-directed Hulk failed when seeing Hulk being created by CGI effects for the first time.

It’s no different now through the MCU in seeing Hulk look less human, despite CGI advancements and motion-capture technology. When looking a little closer, it’s clear the human Avengers are far more attractive to audiences simply because they are human (mostly).

If Hulk ever does come back, it’s arguably best for Marvel to reboot the entire franchise and maybe go back to the basics of what the TV show did.

Would Marvel be willing to go back to basics like ‘Star Wars’ has?

After news recently of how many practical effects The Mandalorian used from the original Star Wars trilogy, it’s making many in Hollywood wonder if old school is better in some ways. Yes, CGI is inevitable, yet paring it down to only where it’s necessary might become a new norm.

Would Marvel be willing to go back to making the Hulk look more like a real, breathing thing rather than use digital tricks? Back in the days of Ferrigno playing the Hulk, it meant being slathered in green makeup for long hours every day, not including prosthetic makeup and a wig.

It all looked effective on TV. Chances are slim Marvel would want to do this again, let alone reboot Hulk since it would disrupt prior canon.

The best anyone can hope for is Hulk just showing up in cameos for future phases, including the upcoming She-Hulk series. Otherwise, any revival would have to be years from now when canon will likely be recycled.