Following the release of its second episode, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law continues to be a fourth-wall breaking legal sitcom that’s not afraid to poke fun at the MCU’s most taboo topics. (See: Captain America’s virginity) This time around, the show made a surprising reference to a sticky piece of Marvel lore: Edward Norton‘s time as the Hulk.
Granted, the MCU films have made reference to 2008’s The Incredible Hulk starting with Mark Ruffalo mentioning that he “broke Harlem” during his first appearance as Bruce Banner in 2012’s The Avengers, obviously, there’s never been a direct mention of the actor switch. As far as MCU canon is concerned, Ruffalo and Norton’s Banner/Hulk are the same person. However, She-Hulk found a clever way to take a jab at the whole thing.
During a scene where Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters reveals to Bruce that she’s representing Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a.k.a. The Abomination, Ruffalo’s green Avenger is totally cool with it because people change. “That fight was so many years ago,” Bruce says. “I’m a completely different person now. Literally.”
While Bruce is technically referring to the fact that he’s the “Smart Hulk” instead of the rage monster he used to be, the line was absolutely a crack about Norton, which Ruffalo has already confirmed to Entertainment Weekly:
“I think it’s really funny. It’s just the reality that we all are often dancing around, but it’s true,” he tells EW. “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.’”
As for Marvel fans on social media, they immediately clocked the Norton gag and here for it. You can see some of the reactions below:
THEY ACKNOWLEDGED THE EDWARD NORTON SHIFT TO RUFFALO AS HULK BY BREAKING THE 4TH WALL BY JEN WALTERS. BRAVO MARVEL, BRAVO.
— Myr. (@Myrflores_) August 25, 2022
I love how meta #SheHulk is. The line today from Bruce about how he was “literally a completely different person back then” when talking about his fight with Abomination is so great…
B/c ppl forget Edward Norton played Bruce Banner in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk
— Adam Rothe (@adman703) August 25, 2022
#SheHulk throwing shade at Edward Norton
— Formally Darth, Now Just Maul (@ol_Ben_Kenobi) August 25, 2022
— fandom crunch SHE-HULK ERA IS HERE (@FandomCrunch) August 25, 2022
— drupnoy1 (@drupnoy1) August 25, 2022
“I’m a completely different person now… literally”
— Kurrently Hi (@ToxicPoisn) August 25, 2022
LMAO THEY MADE A JOKE ABOUT THE EDWARD NORTON RECAST #SheHulk
— Hernandy (@Pollos_Hernandy) August 25, 2022
— KiraYagami (@LightIsJustice2) August 25, 2022
New episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law stream Thursday on Disney+.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)