Actor Mark Ruffalo has said that he can’t believe that he’s still allowed to work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because he feels like he has ‘never belonged’ in the first place. Ruffalo has played Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk since 2012’s The Avengers. He last appeared as the character in Avengers: Endgame.
The actor said in an interview that he keeps pinching himself. “Yeah. Every time I’m whining like, ‘God damn, how long are we waiting for the set up?’ I’m like, ‘Hey, remember you’re not even supposed to be here,’” Ruffalo told Variety. “Right. I just remember to be grateful because I still can’t believe it. I still keep thinking, ‘They’re going to throw me out of the club. I never belonged here in the first place and they’re all going to find out.’”
While the recent Emmy winner has appeared in ensemble MCU movies, for many years it seemed unlikely that he would ever get to star in a solo Hulk film. The rights to a standalone Hulk movie belonged to Universal, who released the 2003 film starring Eric Bana, and the 2008 version with Edward Norton in the lead role. A clause, similar to the one between Marvel and Sony with regards to Spider-Man, allows Marvel to feature Hulk in larger storylines as a supporting character. In January, however, it was reported that the rights had reverted to Marvel.
“I think they’ve been working on it,” Ruffalo said of the two studios, in a 2015 interview to Yahoo. “Marvel and Universal famously don’t get along very well, and so that’s working against us, definitely. But I know for a fact that everyone is holding out hope that one day we can do it. But the nature of the relationship right now, it’s a little prohibitive. And I hope that that changes, that changes with regimes, it changes over the course of time. But right now it doesn’t look particularly promising.”
In 2017, at the D23 expo, Ruffalo was explicit in his irritation at the matter. “I just want to make one thing perfectly clear today that a standalone Hulk movie will never happen,” he told Variety. “Because Universal has the rights to the standalone Hulk movie and for some reason they don’t know how to play well with Marvel, and they don’t want to make money. But I feel like I have two or three years before I’m too old to play the Hulk.”
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