Posted: Dec 22 2014
by: Neal Haworth

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10 Fun Facts About The Incredible Hulk

#1) Four Actors Have Played The Hulk

Just a single actor has played Iron Man throughout Marvels' films (Robert Downy Jr.), but nearly half a dozen actors have played the Hulk. The first person to portray the mean-green superhero was Lou Ferrigno in the Incredible Hulk TV series, which on the CBS network from 1978 to 1982 for a total of five seasons. Eric Bana was next in line with the 2003 film Hulk, followed by Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk, and Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and the upcoming Marvel film The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

  • Lou Ferrigno – The Incredible Hulk TV series, The Incredible Hulk Returns TV movie, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk TV movie, The Death of the Incredible Hulk TV movie, The Incredible Hulk (voice only), The Avengers.
  • Eric Bana – Hulk
  • Edward Norton – The Incredible Hulk
  • Mark Ruffalo – The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron

#2) Arnold Schwarzenegger Auctioned For The Hulk

Long before he was the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger auditioned to play the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk TV series. The show's creator Kenneth Johnson wanted a tall, muscular actor to fill the shoes of the Hulk. According to post-show commentary, Schwarzenegger was too short to portray to the mean-green superhero, so they hired American actor Richard Kiel instead. This also proved problematic, though, since Kiel possessed an “under-developed” physique.

Kiel was soon replaced with professional bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, who took the role and ran with it. The only scene in which Kiel appears is a short clip in the pilot episode. Kiel later revealed that he had an adverse reaction to the contacts he was required to wear, so he didn't mind giving up the role.

#3) The Hulk Was Supposed To Be Gray

Can you image a world in which the Incredible Hulk is gray? When the Hulk first appeared in the 1963 comics, Stan Lee wanted him to be gray. Due to the lack of consistent gray coloring with printing machines at the time, Lee and the rest of the team searched for an alternative color.

The problem with gray is that it bled onto other pages as the reader flipped through the comic. So even if Hulk appeared gray at the beginning, he would often change to black and shades thereof throughout the comic. Fans complained about the ink smearing on the pages, at which point Lee was forced to use a different color. The team ultimately chose the iconic green color for the Hulk, which is still being used today.

#4) Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

You might be surprised to learn that Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde played a role in the Hulk's inception. Stan Lee reportedly combined traits from both characters to use in the Hulk. The Hulk has Frankenstein angry but relatable/likable mannerism and Dr. Jekyll/Mr.Hyde's uncontrollable personal-switching trait.

It was patently apparent that [the monstrous character the] Thing was the most popular character in [Marvel's recently created superhero team the] Fantastic Four.... For a long time I'd been aware of the fact that people were more likely to favor someone who was less than perfect.... It's a safe bet that you remember Quasimodo, but how easily can you name any of the heroic, handsomer, more glamorous characters in The Hunchback of Notre Dame? And then there's Frankenstein... I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Frankenstein monster. No one could ever convince me that he was the bad guy.... He never wanted to hurt anyone; he merely groped his torturous way through a second life trying to defend himself, trying to come to terms with those who sought to destroy him. ... I decided I might as well borrow from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well — our protagonist would constantly change from his normal identity to his superhuman alter ego and back again.”

#5) The Grim End To The Hulk

The Marvel universe is generally viewed as being warm and lighthearted. Granted, there are plenty of evil figures and tense moments, but the comics and shows typically have a positive outcome. Unfortunately, this isn't the case for the Hulk – at least in the comics. Let me first warn you that spoilers are ahead, so don't read the following if you intend to check out The Incredible Hulk comics.

In the comics, all of humanity is wiped out in a nuclear war. The select few who survive the initial blast die a slow and painful death from radiation poisoning. Being that Eric Banner was exposed to high levels of radiation earlier in his like, though, he was immune to the effects of post-nuclear-war fallout. As time ticks by, Banner is left roaming the scorched, irradiated landscape – being the only person left alive on Earth.

Towards the end of the comics, Banner encounters a group of mutant cockroaches. Banner changes into the Hulk in an effort to ward them off but is overwhelmed. The oversized cockroaches consume him, but the Hulk's healing ability brings Banner back to life. The comics end with Banner turning into the Hulk for a final time as he sets off on the barren radioactive landscape.

#6) The Hulk's Ability: More Than Just Strength

Every superhero has his or her own special ability, and Hulk is no exception. His primary ability is increased strength, which is scaled either up or down based on his anger. Long story short, the angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger he becomes.

But the Hulk actually has a long list of superpowers, only one of which is super-human strength. He can regenerate, breath underwater, leap into Earth's lower orbit or across entire continents, absorb massive amounts of radiation, and even see ghosts. In fact, the Hulk is the only Marvel characters with the ability to see the undead, why is why he's able to see Doctor Strange in astral form.

#7) Hulk vs Wolverine

After the Hulk goes on a destructive rampage across New York City, Nick Fury decides it's time to end Banner's alter ego. So, he hires the only person with enough strength to take down the green beast: Wolverine. When Wolverine catches up with Banner, the two engage in a heated battle during which the Hulk rips Wolverine in half. Of course, the Wolverine also possesses the healing factor, so the top half of his torso is able to crawl home.

#8) Why The Name “Bruce Banner?”

Stan Lee revealed in an interview why he decided to use the name Bruce Banner for the Hulk's alter ego. According to Lee, he chose the name because it was easy to remember – Bruce Banner does have a catchy ring to it. Nonetheless, Lee referred to the Hulk's alter ego as “Bob Banner” in later comics, an error that many die-hard fans pointed out.

#9) Canceled After Just Six Issues

The Hulk originally debuted in the self-titled comic book series in 1963, but after releasing just six issues, Marvel was forced to cancel it. There simply wasn't enough demand for the Hulk to write and publish new issues – at least not at the time. Thanks to a newfound popularity in the green giant, it was later picked back up with Lee producing new issues. Of course, this spawned an entire franchise of Hulk-themed media, including TV shows, made-for-TV movies, Hollywood blockbuster movies, video games, toys and more.

#10) New Hulk Movie After The Avengers 2?

Good news Hulk fans: we may see another standalone Hulk movie after The Avengers: Age of Ultron. During an Interview with Flicks And The City, Lou Ferrigno said “they are doing another Hulk movie.” Ferrigno went on to say that Hulk was a big star in The Avengers, and Disney wanted to bring the green giant back to Hollywood for another solo film.

Does this mean Lou Ferrigno will take the role of Hulk in the upcoming solo film? Probably not, as sources say Marvel intends to keep Mark Ruffalo on board with the project. This would make sense considering Ruffalo is playing the Hulk in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Given the fact that that we've seen nearly half a dozen different actors play Hulk, however, there's always a change of a new actor filling the green giant's shoes.

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