It goes without saying most genre fans enjoyed Edward Norton’s Incredible Hulk. At least, we enjoyed it far more than when Ang Lee or Bill Bixby had a crack at it. The film did moderately well in the box office, considering how much of the year was dominated by Marvel’s other film, Iron Man. Now it seems that Norton and Marvel will be parting ways, as they’ll be recasting the jade giant for The Avengers.
In a report by Hitfix, they announced Marvel is starting to shop around for a new Hulk for Joss Whedon’s upcoming superhero team flick. In direct response to their article, President of Production at Marvel, Kevin Feige, put out a statement.
We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.
Given the size of the production and cast, this decision probably made sense as far as Marvel was concerned. However, Edward Norton may have other ideas, at least according to his agent.
In a direct response, Norton’s Agent Brian Swardstrom of WME, said:
This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light. Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers. When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with Joss Whedon to discuss the project. Edward and Joss had a very good meeting (confirmed by Feige to me) at which Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast.
Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith. This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part.
So there you have it. It may be mutual, (or at least that’s how Norton’s people are explaining it) but we’re all pretty sad to see yet another Bruce Banner hit the road. Time is counting down pretty quickly, as San Diego Comic-Con hits next week. Maybe we’ll see an announcement during the Con?
Who would you like to see don the lab coat and glasses as the new Bruce Banner?