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The actor and former bodybuilder—who rose to fame by playing Bruce Banner’s alter ego in The Incredible Hulk—recently said he was “disappointed” with how the green monster was portrayed by actor Mark Ruffalo in Avengers: Endgame.
“Because the Hulk needs to be hideous, he needs to be a creature,” Ferrigno said at Canada’s Hamilton Comic Con. “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.”
He reiterated those opinions in a recent Instagram video, in which he said he’s had many fans agree with his take. “We want the real Hulk back,” Ferrigno says in the video. “I spent many years to make the Hulk succesful, I was the pioneer who started all this.”
In Endgame, it’s revealed that Banner was able to merge his brain with the brawn of the Hulk—an amalgamation of the two known as “Professor Hulk” in the Marvel comics. This breaks away from the idea that Banner can only become the Hulk while enraged.
The former Mr. Universe, who portrayed the Hulk in a TV show from 1977 to 1982, said at the Comic Con appearance that the character should’ve been left untouched. “Because of Marvel and Disney, they’ve taken a different direction. You can’t take it as seriously as the original series.”
In the Instagram video, he said the intensity of the Hulk in the TV series is why, “the series holds up on its own.” None of this, he added, was a knock on Ruffalo. “Mark Ruffalo’s a wonderful actor, I think he’s fantastic.”
Ferrigno also voiced the Hulk in some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and said doing so took a toll on his windpipes. “I couldn’t talk for two days afterwards, because [the voice] comes from inside the chest, the strong bellow when the Hulk roars,” he said. “It’s a challenge, it’s work. But I had to almost yell and talk like the Hulk thinks and feels.”