The Incredible Hulk

A list of trivia related to The Incredible Hulk.

References to Marvel Comics

  • In the Bruce Jones Hulk comics, Betty Ross aided Bruce Banner as a shadowy contact under the alias "Mr. Blue." Mr. Blue appears in the film, but is revealed to be Samuel Sterns. The title Mr. Blue is also a reference to Tim Roth's crime film Reservoir Dogs, which featured Roth as Mr. Orange, and a Mr. Blue portrayed by Edward Bunker.
  • Betty Ross buys Bruce some purple pants. In the comics, Hulk is almost always seen wearing purple pants.
  • In the comics, the Abomination possesses pointed ears. Louis Leterrier wanted this characteristic to appear in the film, but reasoned that Hulk would bite them off (a la Mike Tyson on Evander Holyfield), which was considered too intense for a PG-13 film.
  • Tim Blake Nelson's character, Samuel Sterns, gets Hulk's blood in a wound in his head. His head starts to mutate and then he smiles. This is a foreshadowing of his role in a planned sequel as the villain, The Leader.
  • Hulk's origin in this film is a combination of the Marvel Ultimates comics (experimenting on Captain America's super-soldier serum) and The Incredible Hulk television series (over-exposure to gamma radiation in an experiment). Even the equipment seen is an almost exact match to that used in the TV series, right down to the light sliding over Banner's face.
  • According to General Ross, the serum project that mutated Bruce Banner into Hulk was developed during World War II. This is a reference to Marvel Comics' then-upcoming film, Captain America: The First Avenger.
    • Additionally, the person who takes the serum must be treated with a unique form of radiation - any accidents or deviations from the procedure can cause horrific side effects to occur, as befalls Banner and Blonsky.

References to the MCU

  • The name "Nick Fury" appears on a government document, seen in the opening credits sequence.
  • There are references in the film to another Marvel Comics character, Captain America. Firstly, a label can be seen on the storage tank reading: "Dr. Reinstein." Reinstein was the doctor who developed the Super-Soldier serum that transforms Rogers into the Captain in the comics. There is a deleted scene in which Captain America appears in the Arctic.
  • Although cut from the theatrical run, Captain America can be seen in the alternate beginning on the DVD and Blu-ray. He can be seen in the breaking ice after Banner's attempted suicide.
    Sonic Cannon TIH
  • A blueprint of the sonic cannon at Culver University appears in the opening credits sequence, bearing the title "Stark Industries," indicating that it was Tony Stark who built the cannons for General Ross to use against Hulk. Stark himself appears in the film's last scene.
  • In the scene where Bruce Banner emails Mr. Blue with his data while Betty purchases the used truck, the email is tracked through the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D) database.

References to the Incredible Hulk TV series

  • The "Lonely Man
    Louis Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk(2008)

    Louis Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk(2008)

    Lou Ferrigno's cameo

    " theme from the The Incredible Hulk TV series plays when Bruce Banner walks down the street in Mexico.
  • Three actors from previous Hulk television shows were in the film. Two were Paul Soles, who played Bruce Banner in the 1966 television show that aired on Tuesdays, playing the character Stanley Lieber, and Lou Ferrigno, who played Hulk in the 1977–1982 The Incredible Hulk television series, playing a Culver University Security Guard and providing his voice for Hulk in the film. A scene from The Courtship of Eddie's Father shows the late Bill Bixby, who played Bruce Banner with Lou Ferrigno in the Incredible Hulk television series.
  • Betty Ross is a professor at Culver University, as the film suggests Bruce Banner had been prior to the experiment that turned him into Hulk. In the pilot for The Incredible Hulk television series, David Banner worked at The Culver Institute.
  • After Hulk appears at Culver University, two students are interviewed in the news, named Jack McGee and Jim Wilson. Jack McGee was a tabloid reporter who attempted to track down Hulk in "The Incredible Hulk", and in the comics Jim Wilson was a young orphan who befriended Hulk.
  • The package that Banner receives in British Columbia is addressed to "David B." This is a (very sly) reference to a key element of the 1970s television series, where the character's name was changed from Robert Bruce Banner to David Bruce Banner. Specifically, in his travels throughout the series, David would always maintain "David B." (e.g. David Benton, David Bishop) despite having to use a different name in every episode.
  • The opening credits use the same X-ray shots of Banner's gamma irradiated skull, from the 1978 series. The '(D)ANGER' clip was reproduced from it as well. Also, Edward Norton's greenish-white eyes close up are eerily similar to Bill Bixby's.


  • Edward Norton, who had previously rewritten films he starred in, wrote a draft of the script which Louis Leterrier and Marvel Studios found satisfactory in establishing the film as a reboot of Hulk. As Norton explained, "I don't think that in great literature/films explaining the story's roots means it comes in the beginning. Audiences know the story, so we're dealing with it artfully." Norton's rewrite added the character of Leonard Samson and mentioned references to other Marvel Comics characters. He also wanted to put in "revelations about what set the whole thing in motion" that would be explained in future installments.
  • The VFX artists think of Blonsky as "a guy who transforms but is not used to having these new properties; for instance, he's much heavier, so when he walks down the sidewalk, he's tripping because his weight is destroying the sidewalk."
  • David Duchovny was a front-runner for the film before Edward Norton's casting as Bruce Banner. Dominic Purcell was rumored for the role as well.
  • The film joined Toronto's Green-Screen initiative, to help cut carbon emissions and waste created during filming. Hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles were used, with low-sulphur diesel as their energy source. For constructing the sets, the production department used a sustainably-harvested locally-sourced yellow pine, instead of the commonly-used lauan, and afterwards the wood was either recycled or given to environmental organizations. Paints with no/low volatile organic compounds were used, and paint cans were handed to waste management. A contractor was on set to remove bins. Environmentally-friendly items used on the set included cloth bags, biodegradable food containers, china and silverware food utensils, recycled paper, biodegradable soap and cleaners, rechargeable batteries and stainless steel mugs (one for each production member). Producer Gale Anne Hurd hopes the film will be a symbol of the drive to encourage less pollution from film productions.
  • Louis Leterrier had been interested in directing Iron Man, but when Jon Favreau took that project Avi Arad offered him a sequel to Hulk.
  • Tim Roth signed on the film because he was a fan of The Incredible Hulk television series, as well as to please his sons, who are comic book fan. On set, he constantly asked whether this would "be a cool shot" for his kids to see him in. He thoroughly enjoyed playing Blonsky, but found it difficult since to portray Blonsky's over-the-hill state he could not work out; but he hired a personal trainer to assist him in motion-capturing the Abomination's movements.
  • The VFX experts based Hulk and Abomination's movements on linebackers.
  • Louis Leterrier insisted Tim Roth, of whom he is a big fan, be cast as the film's main antagonist, even though Marvel Studios and Edward Norton were initially unsure of Roth as a supervillain. Leterrier later said "it's great watching a normal Cockney boy become a superhero!"
  • Edward Norton and Tim Roth filmed their Hulk-Abomination fracases on a stage, using motion capture and 37 digital cameras. Roth enjoyed using the motion capture technique because it reminded him of fringe theatre.
  • According to Tim Roth, Edward Norton rewrote scenes every day; Norton and Liv Tyler also spent hours discussing their characters' lives (especially before Hulk appeared).
  • William Hurt and his son are big fans of Hulk.

Unorganized Trivia

  • Although director Louis Leterrier liked Ang Lee's Hulk, he concurred with Marvel Studios that to continue the franchise it would be better to deviate from Lee's cerebral style from the first film and focus on a more action-filled tone. He also believed that in keeping with the poetic feel, the VFX were mostly "a fluorescent-green guy who was simply flying around; he had no weight and was too smooth-looking," so he wished to make the film's VFX grittier and darker "and perhaps even a little scarier!"
  • Hulk, as portrayed in this film, was created through a blend of motion capture and key frame animation (by Rhythm & Hues). In Ang Lee's movie, VFX were carried out by Industrial Light & Magic, with its director Ang Lee providing motion-capture.
  • Louis Leterrier directed four units with a broken foot.
  • It took the VFX artists over a year to construct a shot where Dr. Banner's gamma-irradiated blood falls through three factory stories into a bottle.
  • Paul Soles' character "Stanley Lieber", the owner of the pizza shop, is a tribute to Hulk co-creator Stan Lee, as that is his full name.
  • Stan Lee has a cameo as the man who drinks the soft drink contaminated with Bruce Banner's blood.
  • According to screenwriter Zak Penn, this film was more similar to comic book writer Bruce Jones's Hulk concepts and The Incredible Hulk TV series.
  • The Military Base mentioned in the film "Fort Johnson" is named after Kenneth Johnson; the writer, director, and producer of the original The Incredible Hulk television series.
  • Norton wrote a part specifically for Michael Kenneth Williams because he is a big fan of Williams' work on The Wire.
  • Hulk's look was based on comic book artist Dale Keown's drawings, where "Hulk, being beyond perfect, has zero grams of fat, is all chiseled, and is defined by his muscle and strength so he's like a tank."
  • According to Louis Leterrier, Hulk-out transformations in this film were inspired by An American Werewolf in London, where the change was shown as a painful process.
  • Visual effects supervisor Kurt Williams also created special computer programs that controlled the inflation of muscles and saturation of skin color for the transformations (since Williams reasoned that skin color was influenced by emotions, like blushing for instance).
  • In the opening credits, the name "Richard Jones" can be seen on a list of Banner's associates. Rick Jones served as Hulk's sidekick for many years. He appears in the video game tie-in.
  • In Germany the film was cut for a more commercial "Not under 12" rating. However, these cuts were done so clumsily that not only movie buffs but also average movie-goers noticed them, which resulted in lots of complaints to theater owners. To apologize for this, some cinemas gave away free movie tickets to the complaining customers. Additionally many cinemas, including some of Germany's largest cinema chains, included warning messages on their websites to raise awareness of the issue.
  • A scene where a futile Bruce Banner arrives at the Arctic to commit suicide was featured in the trailer, but was deemed too sensitive for young viewers and was removed from the film. This scene is mentioned in The Avengers.
  • William Hurt based his performance as General Ross on Captain Ahab, the obsessive captain who endlessly chased Moby Dick.
  • Edward Norton was cast as Bruce Banner on the recommendation of Lou Ferrigno, who had starred in The Incredible Hulk as Hulk. Ferrigno stated that Edward Norton reminded him of the late Bill Bixby, who acted beside him as Bruce Banner. Norton, who a big fan of the series, had also portrayed a similar character in Fight Club.
  • Stylistically, the filmmakers chose a darker shade of green from Hulk, and decided to not make him as large. His size does not increase as he becomes further enraged, staying at a consistent height.
  • Sam Elliott wanted to reprise his role as General Ross from Hulk, but it was taken by William Hurt.
  • The three-minute flashback that opens the film was created by editor Kyle Cooper.
  • Composer Craig Armstrong collaborated with Louis Leterrier to create the film's score. Marvel Studios were so pleased with the score they decided to release it as a two-disc soundtrack.
  • The sounds in the factory where Banner cuts himself are the same as the ones in the Carbonite chamber in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.
  • The Hercules aircraft (337) at the beginning of the movie is stationed at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario Canada. It is a Canadian Air Force plane flown by Canadian Military pilots. It was painted to resemble the USAF planes.
  • There is a scene where Hulk smashes a police car in half, then wears both halves like boxing gloves. This is an ability taken directly from the video game The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction which was released for Gamecube, Xbox and PS2 in the summer of 2005.
  • The computer Edward Norton is using when he is disguised as a delivery boy has the virus scanner 'Norton' installed.
  • When Bruce is in Brazil the Jiu-Jitsu instructor that is teaching him to breathe is legendary Jiu-Jitsu Master Rickson Gracie.
    Rickson Gracie
  • In the final scene with Gen. Ross, he is drinking an "Incredible Hulk" cocktail at the bar. It is made using equal parts Hennessy cognac and Hpnotiq liqueur.
  • The film is a "reboot" of the Hulk franchise, not a sequel to Hulk. Lou Ferrigno, who has made a cameo as a security guard in both, is the only actor who reprises his role from Ang Lee's film.
    • Stan Lee also has small cameos in both films. In Hulk as a security guard talking to Lou Ferrigno in the same scene Ferrigno cameos in and in the Incredible Hulk as a man who drinks the soft drink contaminated with Bruce Banner's blood.
  • In 2003, James Schamus had written a treatment for a direct sequel to Hulk featuring the Grey Hulk with The Leader and The Abomination under consideration as the lead villain. However, Universal at that time owns the rights to making the film and by the time the rights expired at the end of 2005, Marvel's own studio bought back the rights of making the movie with Universal only distributing it.
  • Edward Norton rewrote the script substantially and in certain posters, he was credited under the pseudonym of 'Edward Harrison'. Norton's writing credit was later denied by the WGA, and Zak Penn is the only writer credited.
  • The Incredible Hulk is the only of the four films released in the summer of 2008, based on a comic book, that wasn't nominated for any Academy Awards. (The others being The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Hellboy II: The Golden Army.)
  • The final fight scene between Hulk and Abomination was filmed in Toronto, Canada. The beginning of the fight is filmed outside of the Zanzibar strip club on Yonge street.
  • William Hurt was under consideration for the role of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg. Another role, that of Gen. John Buford, ended up being played by Sam Elliot, who played General Ross in Hulk.
  • Two years prior to taking the role of Bruce Banner, Edward Norton had the lead role in The Illusionist. Three years before Bill Bixby gave his performance of Banner in The Incredible Hulk TV series, he had the lead in television series The Magician.
  • In the comics, Emil Blonsky takes on a scaly reptilian appearance, becoming the Abomination. Louis Leterrier felt that while that was cool, it made no sense considering there was no reptile in his origin. In this film Blonsky's appearance is redefined substantially to have his skin/muscles/bones exaggerated and sticking out all over his body. Leterrier describes Blonsky as "an über-human, just like Hulk, but a human who was injected with something in the wrong places and these places are growing differently." The VFX artists think of Blonsky as "a guy who transforms but is not used to having these new properties; for instance, he's much heavier, so when he walks down the sidewalk, he's tripping because his weight is destroying the sidewalk."
  • According to Louis Leterrier, the final scene (Banner grins as his eyes turn green) was a deliberately ambiguous shot: it was meant to show that Bruce finally learns to controls Hulk (for a Hulk sequel) or will become a menace (as the villain for the film The Avengers). Neither of which has happened, but Hulk did attack the Helicarrier in The Avengers.
  • Although the final scenes are set in Harlem, they were shot in Toronto, with the initial showdown between Hulk and the Abomination being filmed on Yonge Street. Several Toronto icons are visible, most notably the "spinning disc" sign for Sam the Record Man, and the marquee of the Zanzibar Tavern.
  • Hulk has a total of six words: "Leave Me Alone", "Hulk Smash", and "Betty".
  • This is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that doesn't have a post-credit scene.
  • This is the only pre-2012 Marvel Studios production that was not distributed by Paramount Pictures. Instead Universal Pictures (which produced the previous Hulk film) was left in charge of distribution.
  • The Incredible Hulk is the only movie from Phase One that did not have a direct sequel in Phase Two, and the only one to feature Bruce Banner as the main hero.
  • In the shot of the Pentagon, Theodore Roosevelt Island can be seen. There is no sign of the Triskelion, despite the fact that the Triskelion was constructed in the 1980s, and the film takes place in the early 21st century.
  • The reckless taxi ridden by Betty and Bruce on their way to meet Sterns (body number 57Q0) later runs into Abomination. The cab, along with the driver, is promptly used to smash over some soldiers right after the Abomination bellows his hunger for a real fight.
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