Lou Ferrigno has shared his disappointment over Avengers: Endgame's depiction of the Hulk. Known for voicing the late '70s/early '80s The Incredible Hulk TV show, the actor also provided the hulking voice on Marvel Studios' The Incredible Hulk film starring Edward Norton as well as Mark Ruffalo's first go at the character in Joss Whedon's The Avengers. Since 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, however, Ruffalo has taken over the role fully.
Over the last few years, the MCU's Bruce Banner and the Hulk has been on a personal journey leading up to Endgame. Emerging in Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok from 2017 after he ventured into space at the end of Age of Ultron, the Hulk was living the gladiator life in Sakaar as the Grandmaster's unbeatable champion until being reunited with Thor. The green-rage monster was then missing in action again for the most part of Avengers: Infinity War - leaving his human alter-ego to fend for himself and find ingenuous ways to help the Avengers fight Thanos. Following the Mad Titan's win and a five-year-time-jump, the public was met with a totally overhauled Hulk - one that has full control of himself, dubbed as Smart Hulk.
Many fans were enthusiastic with this trajectory for the Hulk in Endgame, but Ferrigno is having none of it. During a recent appearance at Canada’s Hamilton Comic Con and originally reported via Comicbook, the actor expressed his frustrations about this turn, blaming Disney and Ruffalo for this disappointing turn of events:
“What’s happening is that the first two Hulk movies, the CGI was improving, but the last one, Endgame, I was disappointed. Because the Hulk needs to be hideous, he needs to be a creature. You see in Endgame, Mark Ruffalo — I think it has a lot to do with him and Disney — I didn’t like the way it portrayed [Hulk]. It took away that beauty, that quality of the Hulk. That’s why a lot of people liked the series... The CGI, I mean, it’s all different. People like it that way because it’s bigger entertainment on the screen... I had to almost yell and talk like the Hulk thinks and feels. And now in this new film, the Hulk is having dialogue conversations, I think it basically just spoiled it.”
Ferrigno's gripes are understandable, especially for someone who has actually played the role multiple times over the years. And frankly, he's not the only one who's not a fan of the quippier version of the Hulk in the last few MCU movies, with many fans thinking the depiction went a bit too far when it comes to Hulk's humorous side, especially in Endgame. All that being said, it's worth noting Marvel Studios is trying to advance the character's arc in the franchise, and considering the two conflicting personas between Banner and the green rage monster, a reconciliation seems like a natural progression of their relationship.
At this point, there's no word yet on whether or not fans will see Ruffalo's Smart Hulk in future MCU movies, although since he's one of the few original franchise heroes surviving the events of Avengers: Endgame, it won't be too difficult to bring him back whenever any narrative calls for his participation. For instance, since a She-Hulk show is in the works for Disney+, he can easily pop in there and be involved. The Hulk's potential future appearances will ultimately decide whether or not merging him with Banner's consciousness was the best route of the character, especially considering fans have only seen this version of the hero in one movie.