The Hulk, just like Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, has had multiple actors play the Green Rage monster. Dating back to the 1970s, we have seen multiple different versions of the character on screen in films and TV shows. The Hulk is easily one of Marvel’s most iconic characters, so it is no wonder that there have been multiple interpretations. How many Hulk actors are there, though? That is what we are here to break down. Here is how many actors have played the Hulk in order!
All actors that played The Hulk in order
Listed below are all the actors who have played the Hulk in live-action. From having a bodybuilder painted green to creating the Hulk using motion capture, each actor has given their own take on the character.
- Bill Bixby (1977 – 1982)
- Lou Ferrigno (1977)
- Eric Bana (2003)
- Edward Norton (2008)
- Mark Ruffalo (2012 – Present)
As you can see, numerous actors have played the role of Hulk. This may seem like a lot, but don’t worry. We are here to break it all down.
Every actor to play the Hulk – Explained
Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno (1977-1982)
Audiences got their first-ever look at Hulk in live action during the 1977 ‘The Incredible Hulk’ TV show, just 15 years after his first comic book appearance. In the show, both Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno played the character.
This was before the times of CGI, so Bill Bixby was the actor who played Bruce Banner, and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno was painted green and played the role of the Hulk. The series lasted between 1977 and 1982, with two spin-off films after it had ended. The spin-off films were also one of the first times we had seen Hulk interact with other Marvel heroes like Daredevil and Thor.
Eric Bana (2003)
During the early 2000’s superhero movies were on the rise, we had ‘X-Men’ in 2000, ‘Spider-Man’ in 2002, then ‘Hulk’ in 2003. Eric Banna was cast as Bruce Banner, with the Hulk being created for the first time using CGI. Director Ang Lee did the motion capture for the monster, with Eric Banna supplying the voice.
The CGI was an impressive feat for the Hulk for the year it was released, but the film overall was met with very mixed reviews. There were discussions for a sequel, but it did not come to fruition, and we wouldn’t have our next Hulk film till 2008.
Edward Norton (2008)
Shortly after the financial and critical success, ‘Iron Man’ was released, audiences got their first look at the MCU’s take on the character, well, what it was supposed to be anyway. Edward Norton was cast as Bruce Banner, and Lou Ferrigno returned to lend his voice to the Hulk. Unlike the 2003 film, the origin story was told in the film’s opening credits, and the film got straight to the point. However, while it was better than the last film, it was still met with mixed reviews and did not have the same impact as ‘Iron Man’ released earlier in the year.
Mark Ruffalo (2012 – present)
In 2012, the world finally saw the team-up of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in ‘The Avengers’. Due to creative differences, the role of Hulk was recast, with Mark Ruffalo taking over the role. Even though it was technically supposed to be the same version, Ruffalo’s take on the character was very different from what we saw in 2008. Mark Ruffalo has played the Hulk throughout the entirety of the MCU, portraying both Bruce Banner and doing the motion capture and voice for the Hulk.
Who played Hulk the best?
While it is hard to say who played the Hulk the best, so far, Mark Ruffalo has had the most experience as the character. Each actor has given their own unique take on the character, with each version having key differences from the others. No one can deny how impressive it was in the 1970s when they could bring Hulk to the screen simply by putting some prosthetics on a bodybuilder.
As technology has evolved, the Hulk has just been looking more impressive as time goes on and will only improve over time. In ‘Avengers Endgame,’ Ruffalo gave a different interpretation of the character with ‘Smart-Hulk’. The reactions to this version have been mixed, with many fans wanting to bring back the rage monster that we know and love.
Why was Edward Norton recast?
Fans were surprised to see that Mark Ruffalo was playing the Hulk in ‘Avengers’ when Edward Norton was established as the Hulk of the MCU. This was mainly due to creative differences. Norton was known to be very difficult to work with and was constantly trying to rewrite scripts, which made Marvel want to look for a new actor who would not attempt to change their plans.
This initially caused a lot of confusion as, for many years, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ was never referenced or mentioned again. That was up until 2016 when we got Thunderbolt Ross in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and the most recent appearance of the Abomination in ‘She-Hulk.’
When will we get another movie featuring Hulk?
Whether or not the MCU will make another Hulk film is unclear. This is because Universal currently owns the rights to a solo Hulk project but allows the MCU to use him in their films.
Even though we have had a ‘She-Hulk’ show, the MCU cannot make a Hulk film, but it is unclear how the rights work with a character such as She-Hulk. As much as fans would love a new Hulk film, it looks unlikely that it will happen in the future. However, several Hulk characters are set to appear in the new ‘Captain America’ film, so we may get Hulk’s story told through other MCU films, similar to what happened in ‘Thor Ragnarok,’ ‘Avengers Infinity War’ and ‘Avengers Endgame.’
Who’s your favorite Hulk actor? Let us know in the comments!