The Marvel Cinematic Universe has expanded exponentially over the years. MCU has given a lot of actors a second wave. To be part of a bigger universe has allowed these actors to rise above the entertainment industry’s usual drama. However, even the MCU has not been safe from drama. For such an interconnected franchise it has some glaring flaws for which there is no in-universe explanation. For instance, the switching of actors between films. Most prominent of these was the change of actors playing Hulk and Rhodey. Up until now, fans have only speculated what might have caused this. But with the introduction of the multiverse into the ethos of the MCU, we may have a coherent theory. The Multiverse finally explains why Banner and Rhodey looked different in the beginning.
Here’s Why Banner and Rhodey Look Different
Edward Norton played the role of Dr. Bruce Banner. It was a good movie but marvel had no idea that a new mega-franchise will be born so soon. So when the time came to introduce Hulk to the MCU audiences, the casting directors went with Mark Ruffalo instead of Norton. Part of the reason was a lack of an extended contract with Norton, and he also wanted a bit of creative control. The other part was their inclination towards Ruffalo. Both actors are actually good friends and took the replacement in their stride. Norton even encouraged Ruffalo to audition for the character originally.
The replacement of Terrance Howard with Don Cheadle for the role of Iron Man was particularly ugly. Terrance Howard originally signed a 2 movie contract with Marvel Studios. His paycheck was also larger than Robert Downey Jr. in the first one. But by the time the pre-production time came around for Iron Man 2, the first movie had given RDJ so much clout that the studio no longer saw value in paying Terrance Howard such exorbitant amounts. They offered RDJ a fee hike and asked Howard to take a pay cut. When he didn’t budge, he was replaced with Don Cheadle. The fallout was rather ugly, continuing up until 2020. But War Machine was given a new face in Iron Man 2.
Loki Finally Gives us a Better Explanation for This
By the end of Iron Man 2, most actors understood the stakes involved. The Avengers were about to assemble for the first time on the silver screen. The MCU was about to be elevated to a whole new level. The cast has remained largely static after the first ensemble movie. It is most likely because everyone fell in line after the first Avengers movie. But let’s see if we can come up with a better explanation for character replacement than just actor disputes. You see, Phase 4 brought us the concepts of the Multiverse and Sacred Timeline with Loki. The Sacred Timeline represents how things are supposed to happen. This is decreed by the timekeepers (He Who Remains) and enforced by the TVA to keep peace in the multiverse.
But before things coalesce into a sacred timeline, a lot of universes follow roughly the same path. It is entirely possible that the same people have different faces in these different universes, but their stories were exactly identical. You see, we could just pretend that we followed a separate timeline for the first 2 MCU movies where Rhodey looked like Terrance Howard, and Bruce Banner looked like Ed Norton. Then after that, we jumped to Disney’s MCU by the time Iron Man 2 rolled out. That was also when Disney bought Marvel. So it makes sense, doesn’t it?
You could believe that Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk had the faces of Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo in this Universe right from the beginning, and the rest was similar to the other universe. It would explain the change of actors and any other minor inconsistencies that fans may have noticed between The Incredible Hulk and other MCU movies. The Sacred timeline may not have been finalized before Iron Man 2. This means that all the events before that movie could have been slightly skewed.
Get Out Of Jail Free Card
The Multiverse theory is a writing trope. it was introduced to the world of fiction as a get-out-of-jail-free card. The writers have used it unlimited times to retcon stuff that you would question. it is a staple of comic lore and comics fans are almost used to these shenanigans. But this might be the first time that it is employed in the MCU. Rest assured, even if our theory is not true, the writers will use their prowess to employ the multiverse tactics to retcon some stuff in the future. It is a logical inevitability now.
What do you think? DO you think our theory explains why Banner and Rhodey looked different? Do you like the multiverse retcon/explanation we have presented above? Or Do you think that it is too far-fetched to be true? It may be a little out there but we have seen stranger things in the multiverse. Do you think we have missed anything? Let us know in the comments below and keep watching this space for everything marvel.