She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has strengthened the link between The Incredible Hulk and the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe with a direct reference to Edward Norton's Bruce Banner.
For years, some fans had considered the 2008 blockbuster to be only semi-canon, given how the title role was recast and other characters – including Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and The Leader (Tim Blake Nelson) – have never returned.
However, the re-emergence of William Hurt's General Ross in Captain America: Civil War and Tim Roth's Abomination in Shang-Chi decisively disproved this theory, and now She-Hulk has tackled the matter head-on.
Known for her fourth-wall breaking, the Marvel heroine (played by Tatiana Maslany) addressed Hulk's awkward introduction to the MCU in episode 2 of her new solo series on Disney Plus.
When speaking to her cousin Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) about whether she could take on Abomination as a client given their storied history, he gives her some reassuring words of support.
"Jen, that fight was so many years ago, I'm a completely different person now – literally," he explains, referring to how he now inhabits the Smart Hulk persona, which is a hybrid of his Banner and Hulk alter-egos.
However, Jen proceeds to look down the lens of the camera and say "haha" to the viewers at home, acknowledging that this is a reference to how the Hulk was then played by an entirely different actor.
See the trailer below for a reminder of Norton's tenure:
Norton was well-received in the role of Bruce Banner by fans and critics alike, but ultimately quit prior to filming 2012's The Avengers, later citing that he didn't want to be tied down to the Marvel franchise's considerable commitments.
Ruffalo was cast as the new Incredible Hulk in July 2010 and was, at the time, considered an out-of-the-box choice, although since then has become synonymous with the role.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is available to stream on Disney Plus. New episodes are released on Thursdays. Sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 for a year.
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