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Marvel Studios, Part 1: ‘The Incredible Hulk’ at Comic-Con

Image of the Incredible Hulk display at the Marvel booth Arguably the most star-power of the weekend was assembled in one room late Saturday afternoon for the much-anticipated Marvel Studios presentation in the 7,000-capacity room H at the San Diego convention center. The director and stars of two of next summer’s most anticipated superhero movies made the trek to Comic-Con to give fans an exclusive first look at their projects.

The Incredible Hulk was on first, with stars Edward Norton and Liv Tyler, along with their director Louis Leterrier having made the trip to Comic-Con. Troopers all, the three had wrapped shooting in Toronto Saturday morning at 7 a.m., then boarded a plane bound for San Diego so they could talk to the Comic-Con fans this afternoon, and were returning to Toronto immediately following the panel.

Hulk: Return of the Monster coverSince production on The Incredible Hulk only got underway two weeks ago, there were no clips to be shown, but we were treated to a quick glimpse of the filmmakers’ vision of the Hulk via a still image on the video screens … and he looked not unlike a Dale Keown drawing brought to digital life. Straight up: this Hulk looks genuinely scary, and you know that’s good. Visually treating the character this way only makes sense since, between them, Edward Norton and Louis Leterrier stated their admiration for Bruce Jones’ “Return of the Monster” storyline no less than three times during the panel.

The biggest scoop of the Hulk discussion, however, came when Edward Norton revealed that he wrote the screenplay himself. Admitting that he “was a Marvel kid,” Norton went on to say that he “always thought [Hulk] was one of those great contemporary myths … like a Greek tragedy, with the suppression of your inner demons.” Norton said that technology has just come online in the past six months which allows him to play both Banner and the Hulk (in some fashion), and “that was a big part of [his] deciding that [he] had something to bring to the picture.”

Liv Tyler, who plays Banner’s girlfriend Betty Ross in the movie, explained that “in the story, we’re basically looking for a cure for him,” so this sounds like a more human treatment than the embarrassing Ang Lee Hulk outing of a few year’s back. Oh, and about that last Hulk movie? As far as the new one is concerned, it never happened. Marvel Studios’ head Kevin Feige stated right at the top of the panel, “this is a part one … this is the beginning of a whole new Hulk saga.”

Image of Edward Norton at Comic-ConResponding to an audience question pertaining to the movie’s treatment of the origin story, Norton said that he and Leterrier had decided “let’s grapple with our own version of the history, but let’s spool it out in an artful way.” Referring to their abiding love for the source material –in addition to “Return of the Monster,” Loeb and Sale’s origin story Hulk: Grey was also mentioned as a favorite– it would seem that the Hulk is in the right hands this time. In fact, they filmmakers are such fans that Leterrier encouraged fans to “look for lots of Easter eggs and homages to surface in the movie.”

After the Hulk panel, the cast and crew of Iron Man took to the stage and proceeded to knock me out with jaw-dropping footage in an exclusive Comic-Con preview.

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