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Edward Norton’s Hulk Behavior Forced Marvel To Create A Harsh MCU Rule

After initial development on “The Incredible Hulk,” screenwriter Zak Penn was brought on board to pen the screenplay. Edward Norton eventually signed on to star and was allowed to rewrite the script. It should be noted that Penn is the film’s only credited writer, though the “Fight Club” star publically said at Comic-Con that he was responsible for the words on pages — a decision that didn’t sit right with Penn. 

Norton’s “Incredible Hulk” script was less action-packed and more character-focused. However, the actor’s version had to adhere to certain setpieces and narrative beats as pre-production had already started for key sequences. While it’s unclear how much the “Birdman” actor overhauled Penn’s existing script, Abomination star Tim Roth said he was given rewritten material every day on set. One “Incredible Hulk” scene changed by Norton baffled Penn, who was disappointed by the changes. 

A decent amount of what Norton wrote was filmed, which led to a 135-minute cut. Marvel Studios wasn’t interested in this version and decided to trim the fat down, resulting in the 112-minute movie that was theatrically released. Ultimately, “The Incredible Hulk” received mixed-to-positive reviews and lukewarm financial receipts, a far cry from the success of “Iron Man.”

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