Acting for Two: In one episode David meets his exact double, a mobster named Mike Cassidy. In another episode Lou Ferrigno (in his first speaking role) plays a bodybuilder in addition to being the Hulk. The two meet during the climax of the episode.
Author Existence Failure: During production of the second season, Ted Cassidy (who provided the Hulk's vocal effects for the first two seasons) died in January 1979 due to complications from heart surgery. As such, he was replaced by Charles Napier.
Enforced Method Acting: Since Banner wasn't supposed to have any memories of what he did as the Hulk, Bill Bixby made it a point not to watch the Hulk's scenes, feeling it would make his portrayal more authentic.
Bruce Banner's name was changed to David because Kenneth Johnson did not want the main character to have what he regarded as a "stereotypically comic-booky alliterative name", although Lou Ferrigno claims that CBS thought the name "Bruce" sounded "too gay." Imagine Kenneth's surprise when it was pointed out to him that his lead actor was called Bill Bixby.
Kenneth had also wanted to change the Hulk's skin color itself from green to red, believing red was more symbolic as "the color of rage". However, Marvel vetoed this idea, stating the Hulk's green skin was an iconic image and could not be changed.
Jossed: For years, it was rumored that Revenge of the Incredible Hulk was cancelled due to Bill Bixby's death from prostate cancer in November 1993. However, in February 2014, Gerald Di Pego confirmed that the film was cancelled before Bixby's health deteriorated because of Death of the Incredible Hulk receiving low ratings.
The Other Darrin: Due to Ted Cassidy dying of complications from heart surgery in January 1979, Charles Napier provided the Hulk's vocal effects in his place.
The Other Marty: Richard Kiel was originally cast as the Hulk but the producers decided he didn't have the right body type. There is one blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the pilot where Kiel is playing the Hulk instead of Lou Ferrigno.
Shortly after the series ended, Bill Bixby wanted to do a crossover film with The Amazing Spider-Man (1978), and Bixby even had Nicholas Hammond (Spidey's actor) onboard and ready to go, but Universal Pictures passed. Their claim was that Lou Ferrigno was unavailable, though Ferrigno would later reveal that he'd never even been contacted nor had he even heard of the proposal until 2003.
A fourth television film, Revenge of the Incredible Hulk, would have seen Banner resurrected, and with the ability to control his Hulk power. Apparently dying didn't exactly cure him. It just would have made it so that Banner could control himself when he transformed... that and actually talk, something the Hulk really didn't do outside of the two-part episode "Prometheus" when Banner was trapped halfway between human and Hulk. However, the movie was cancelled due to Death of the Incredible Hulk receiving low ratings. Another movie that would have been a backdoor pilot for Iron Man was also being considered, and a She-Hulk movie was in pre-production at one point as well.
Both Richard Kiel and Arnold Schwarzenegger had been considered for the role of the Hulk- Arnie was turned down for being too short, and while Kiel had the job initially and even filmed a few scenes, it was also decided that he was too small (in his muscles, at least) and was replaced. Kiel writes in his autobiography that this was definitely for the best, as his being blind in one eye caused problems with the contact lenses and even resulted in a hair-raising partial loss of vision while he was driving home from the shoot.
You Look Familiar: Several times, most notably Gerald McRaney, who showed up in four episodes as different characters.
Executive Meddling: According to Dick Sebast, the show's creative team spent the first season constantly fighting against this. Then in the second season, there are certain changes behind-the-scenes—leading to the show losing serialization, becoming Lighter and Softer, and seeing attempts to make the characters look trendy. As Sebast said, "What happened to season 2? The network got its way."
Lou Ferrigno briefly plays as the transforming Grey Hulk in season 1's finale, while Michael Donovan takes over when Grey Hulk makes his later appearances.
And finally, Genie Francis plays Betty Ross for most of Season 1 while Philece Sampler plays her later in Season 1 and in Season 2.
Role Reprisal: Matt Frewer (The Leader), Robert Hays (Iron Man), Dorian Harewood (War Machine), Tom Kane (H.O.M.E.R.), Beau Weaver (Mister Fantastic), Chuck McCann (Thing), Simon Templeman (Doctor Doom), John Rhys-Davies (Thor) and Richard Grieco (Ghost Rider). Word of God admitted to bringing them back for guest spots to help create a continuity with the preceding Marvel shows.
Box Office Bomb: Production costs: $150 million (not counting marketing). Worldwide gross: $263 million. This movie bears the distinction as being the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first and only flop, and even still, the film managed to break even with post-theatrical revenues since it came out right before advertising budgets on movies of this kind exploded. Even still, an underwhelming box office total likely contributed (along with the distribution rights issue with Universal) to the decision to not make another Hulk movie, even after the Marvel Cinematic Universe really took off with The Avengers (2012).
California Doubling: Although the final scenes are set in Manhattan (Harlem to be exact), they were shot in Toronto, with the initial showdown between the 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.
Cast the Expert: The master that teaches Bruce meditation techniques (and presumably some of the moves he uses on the thugs from the factory) is played by Rickson Gracie, a legendary Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner who also became a yoga adept under pioneer Orlando Cani. Amusingly, he is credited instead as an instructor of Aikido, a martial art Gracie doesn't practice and that has somewhat of a backlash against in the BJJ community.
I did a big action movie called The Incredible Hulk. You know what went wrong? It needed a better script... I thought maybe we should try to make one Marvel movie that was at least as good as the worst Chris Nolan movie, but what the hell was I thinking?!
Dawson Casting: General Ross asks Emil Blonsky's age. Ross guesses the age of 45. Blonsky states he is 39. Tim Roth was actually 46 at the time of the movie's release.
In an alternate opening, a depressed Bruce Banner arrives at the Arctic to shoot himself, but transforms into Hulk before he can do so. This scene is canon, as a version of this scene is referenced in The Avengers (2012). Within this same scene, Captain America can be seen in the glacier.
Extended footage of Banner in Brazil exercising, meditating, working at the soda factory and building a centrifuge.
General Thaddeus Ross discovers that Banner is attempting to cure himself. Ross and Blonsky inform General Joe Greller of Banner's condition.
An extended version of Ross informing Emil Blonsky of the Super Soldier Serum.
Banner delivers pizza on the Culver University campus. A group of sorority girls refuse to pay him, and he tries to intimidate them by telling them they won't like him when he's angry. They merely call him a pervert.
An extended scene between Banner and Betty Ross after she reunites with him and brings him to her home, where they discuss General Ross and Samuel Sterns.
A dinner scene between Betty, Leonard Samson, and Banner.
Banner and Samson discuss Betty. Samson probes Banner about his mysterious anger problem.
An extended scene between Banner and Betty before the military attacks.
Samson calls Betty and gives an emotional apology for ratting Banner out to the military. She forgives him but states that she does not want to come home yet.
After finding Bruce and Betty in New York City, General Ross tells Kathleen Sparr to interrogate Sterns, after which there is an extended version of Betty talking to Ross.
Directed by Cast Member: In addition to doing rewrites, Edward Norton actually directed himself in some of his own scenes too, such as the campus scenes, to save time when the director was busy working with 2nd-unit.
Executive Meddling: Originally, Marvel Studios wanted Mark Ruffalo to play Bruce Banner in this movie, but Universal had Edward Norton on contract for a handful of movies, and decided to have him play the lead in this one. Marvel ultimately parted ways with him come The Avengers and cast the actor that they wanted from the start.
Fake Nationality: The cast used a few non-Brazilian actors to play Brazilian characters (the factory owner and the leader of the bully trio). Their attempts to speak Portuguese sound ridiculous to real Brazilians.
Inspiration for the Work: Louis Leterrier's primary inspiration was Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Hulk Gray (a retelling of the character's first appearance). He replicated every comic book panel that he pinned-up during pre-production, from the many comics he browsed, in the final film.
Missing Trailer Scene: 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. It was later included in the deleted scenes on home media and officially canonized in The Avengers.
Role Reprisal: While Lou Ferrigno, the actor that played the Hulk on television, doesn't do the motion-capture for the character in this movie, he lends his voice to the movie version of the character.
Screwed by the Lawyers: The Hulk has the dubious distinction of being the one hero with his own solo movie that was introduced in Phase One... and not given a sequel in Phase Two and Three. All subsequent appearances of the Hulk or Bruce Banner have been full appearances in the first four Avengers movies and Thor: Ragnarok, and cameos in Iron Man 3, Captain America: Civil War, and Captain Marvel. Part of the reason for this is that Universal still has the distribution rights to the character's solo films so Disney/Marvel Studios can only put him into the Avengers movies.
Star-Derailing Role: This movie was a moderate success, but it was also the last starring role for Edward Norton in a much bigger production, because afterwards he would at best be casted for smaller roles in bigger movies and at worst get bigger roles in smaller movies. He's had incredible success with other, smaller films and seems comfortable with that.
Wag the Director: Edward Norton rewrote the script himself to bring the film closer in line to the comics. 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.
Ray Stevenson was considered for Emil Blonsky before Tim Roth was cast in the part. Stevenson would later go on to play Volstagg in the Thor films.
Michael K. Williams' cameo as a Harlem bystander was originally going to be much longer. He would have pleaded with the Hulk and Abomination to stop their fighting, only to change his mind and basically tell the Hulk.
Bystander: You know what, never mind, waste this bitch.
Word of God: Martin Starr briefly appears as a computer geek that Banner bribes with some pizza. He would later play a teacher nearly a decade later in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Kevin Feige would eventually confirm that both of Starr's roles are the same character.