Early MCU film The Incredible Hulk has finally found a streaming home… at HBO Max.
If you’ve been using Disney Plus to watch the Marvel movies in order, you might have noticed that Phase One seems to skip right from Iron Man to Iron Man 2. That’s because the rights to The Incredible Hulk, which premiered in June of 2008 just one month after Iron Man, were never purchased by Disney – despite being the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
After the mixed reception to Universal’s 2003 Hulk, which starred Eric Bana as the smash-centric superhero, Marvel reacquired the rights and cast Edward Norton in a follow-up ‘reboot sequel.’ The Incredible Hulk differs from its predecessor in that it skips through Dr. Bruce Banner’s origin story and fast-forwards to the scientist hard at work to find a cure for his green condition.
Despite being better received and outperforming the original film, Marvel axed the idea of a sequel and decided to recast the Hulk ahead of his inclusion in Marvel’s The Avengers. Mark Ruffalo would go on to replace Norton, and remain a staple of the MCU for the next ten years, with Norton’s Hulk becoming largely forgotten. It’s thought that the lack of a standalone Hulk movie starring Ruffalo comes from the underwhelming response to the first two.
Despite the recast, Norton delivered a pretty solid performance of the troubled Bruce Banner and it’ll be interesting to see what younger Marvel fans think of his Hulk.
The Incredible Hulk will hit HBO Max on April 1. For more on the MCU, check out our guide to everything coming up in Marvel Phase 4