Marvel’s What If…? has license to create chaos without having to answer to anyone in future, and while that has allowed them to do some outright bizarre things, it could have really gone weird if head writer A.C. Bradley had gone through with something that was joked about during the making of the latest episode: Bringing back Edward Norton as The Incredible Hulk. The new episode asks the question “What If… The world Lost its Mightiest Heroes?” and contains the events of “Fury’s Big Week”, Iron Man 2, Thor and The Incredible Hulk, meaning they got to go back to the movie that is very rarely referenced in the grand scheme of the MCU.
In the episode, Mark Ruffalo has the chance to play Bruce Banner in the scenario that he wasn’t around for in the live action movie, but the What If…? episode has its own what if question as there was a very short lived idea to have Edward Norton come back to play the character again, but it seems that Ruffalo was already on board at that point so joke or not, the possibility never took flight.
“It wasn’t much of a difference for me, I love all Marvel movies,” head writer A.C. Bradley told Discussing Film in relation to the second movie of the MCU. “I’ve seen The Incredible Hulk probably three or four times. I love the bottle chase sequence in the beginning. We wanted to make sure that with all three movies we pulled iconic moments that people would recognize. So for The Incredible Hulk, it was the Culver University fight scene. We wanted to use, if possible, the fight in Harlem. But the Culver one lends itself better to the story, so we went there. I did joke early on, ‘If we can’t get Ruffalo back are we going to ask Norton?’ And I was told that Mark Ruffalo already agreed to do the show. He’s a very lovely human being, and he was great. He came in, had fun, and you really can’t get a better Hulk than Mark Ruffalo.”
Something else that Bradley revealed was “Fury’s Big Week” was always something that was going to be part of the show, and the concept was one that everyone wanted to explore in the context of the series. However, it seems that while the MCU is noted for having its frequent moments of comical banter between characters and scenes that invoke audience laughter every time, the pitched episode was originally “almost a French farce”, which they decided was a bit too far out, even for a What If…? scenario.
While Mark Ruffalo may have now technically played Banner in all of the Hulk appearances now, it is certainly not the last we have seen of him, as he will be reprising his role again in the She-Hulk series, which is set to arrive on Disney+ next year, and who knows where else he could show up in future. What If…? episodes arrive on Disney+ each Wednesday. This news originated at ComicBook.com.