Fortuitous, as Stan Lee had come to a similar conclusion more than 45 years ago. Offers Lee: “My first impulse was to make him gray, because as far as I knew, there were no Super Heroes or villains running around with gray skin. When the first issue came out, the printer had trouble with the gray color. So I talked to the technical people and they said, ‘Well, most of the other colors are easier to do; you won’t have to worry.’ I had to pick out another color, and I realized nobody had a green hero I knew of. And I said, ‘Okay, let’s make him green.’ It was as casual as that.”
Finally, size would be addressed by the designers and animators. Offers Williams: “One of the big challenges on the movie was deciding the scale of the characters. Our challenge was to create a consistent size for The Hulk throughout the movie. We didn’t want him to grow. We didn’t want him to ebb or flow. We wanted him to be one size the whole time, so we picked 9’, because it would still allow him to relate to human beings and not be so big that he would be almost alien or unbelievable. It allows you to believe he’s really there, but you still have the ability for him to believably pick up a car and throw it and show other great feats of strength like slamming the ground and creating a giant chasm in the street.”
When reflecting on the epic battle that would be at the climax of THE INCREDIBLE HULK, producer Hurd summarizes the feelings of her crew: “The great thing about where our story takes us is that there is a clash of two titanic forces. You have The Hulk, who is our hero. He is encountering a foe much bigger, much more powerful and more dangerous than he is. And this climactic clash happens in the streets of New York City. How much fun is that?”
Originally imagined by his Marvel Comics creators as a 6’ 8”, 980-pound mutation of a former KGB spy of Soviet Yugoslavian origin, The Abomination in this iteration of The Hulk saga would be made into a superspy whose dreams of domination would make him even larger than his quarry. Roth explains Blonsky’s motivation to turn into such a creature: “He’s a fantastic soldier. He’s reached the limit of what he can do with the body that he has, so the next stage for him is evolution.”
For the filmmakers, designing The Hulk’s antagonist would be even more challenging than The Hulk. Arad offers, “The Abomination was even harder. The Hulk is very iconic, so you have a solid place to begin, but The Abomination doesn’t really have that. It was a real balance to keep him grounded, human, scary—one bump and you had Alien.”
Leterrier explains why it was so important to make The Hulk’s foe one of the fiercest creatures imaginable: Banner believes his enemy’s creation is all his fault. “Everything started in Bruce Banner’s brain: he created a monster; he created the technology,” says the director. As Banner realizes that the government is using his tainted blood and the procedure he developed to manufacture a Super Soldier, guilt racks the physicist. “When forced to face what General Ross has created—The Abomination out of Emil Blonsky, injected with a mixture of Super Serum and some of Banner’s blood—Banner has to become the hero,” Leterrier continues. “He has to face his mistakes, because it’s all because of him.”
As with The Hulk, the designers returned to base material in the comic books, but they deviated just enough to keep it visceral for the audience. Whereas The Abomination of the comics has a serpentine look, the filmmakers wanted a character that was physically a mutant version of The Hulk. They questioned, “What if The Abomination’s gamma injections have caused his bones to grow outside of his body?” They felt the exoskeleton would result in a grotesquely different structure than The Hulk—one with hard surfaces on his head, chest and back…and a spine that grows out of his skin. To complete the look, the monstrosity has huge gnarled hands.
The Abomination in this film is 11’ tall, 2’ taller than The Hulk, a fact Williams says gives him “a significant advantage in our movie.” “One stride by The Abomination is 5’ to 10’, depending on if he’s running or not,” he says. “He can move up to 30 miles an hour pretty easily. We worked from the fact that The Abomination needed to have an advantage, especially in the third act, because the character arc is about heart. At the end of the movie, The Hulk comes back because of his heart…he’s got to save Betty.”