'She-Hulk: Attorney at Law': Mark Ruffalo Addresses Hulk Recasting Reference

The latest episode of the Disney Plus show nods to Ruffalo taking over as Bruce Banner from Edward Norton.

Meara Isenberg Writer
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Texan, as well as for state and local magazines. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
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Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
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Meara Isenberg
Sean Keane
2 min read
The Incredible Hulk has a chat.

Hulk has undergone some major changes since his 2008 MCU debut.

Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law included a sneaky nod to the recasting of Hulk (aka Bruce Banner) with a comedic line from Mark Ruffalo in episode 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe series, which hit Disney Plus on Thursday. Ruffalo has played the role since 2012's Avengers, but Edward Norton was the first actor to portray the MCU version of the character, in 2008's Incredible Hulk, before parting ways with Marvel.

The new show's second episode revisits the Incredible Hulk's nemesis, as lawyer Jennifer Walters (Bruce's cousin, better known as She-Hulk) takes Emil Blonsky/The Abomination on as a client (with actor Tim Roth reprising a role he played opposite Norton). When Jenn (Tatiana Maslany) nervously reveals this to Bruce about two-thirds of the way through the episode, her cousin is surprisingly cool with it.

"Actually, Blonsky wrote me a really nice letter a while back, and a really heartfelt haiku. So we put everything behind us," he says of his old adversary. "That fight was so many years ago, I'm a completely different person now. Literally." 

Jenn looks into the camera, mirroring her comic book counterpart's habit of breaking the fourth wall, and gives the audience a dry "Ha ha."

In an Entertainment Weekly article published Friday, Ruffalo expressed his delight with the show's choice to address the recasting.

"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.'"

She-Hulk head writer Jessica Gao separately told The Hollywood Reporter that Ruffalo added the "literally" on to the end of the quote.

Before Ruffalo and Norton, Banner was played by Eric Bana in 2003's Hulk and Bill Bixby in the 1970s live-action series and its tie-in movies (with Lou Ferrigno starring as Hulk alongside Bixby).

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