Well, this isn’t good news! Per an official statement from Marvel Studios, Edward Norton has been dropped from reprising his role as Dr. Bruce Banner in the upcoming Avengers movie.
Marvel Studios President of Production, Kevin Feige, said in the statement:
“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. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H., Chris E., Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks.”
So according to them, it’s not about the money or his talent, because Edward Norton isn’t enough of a ‘team player’. I’m sure that’s going to go over well with him.
Last year, it was said that Norton wasn’t looking to revisit the Hulk, due to issues he had while making The Incredible Hulk. Apparently, Norton edited a lot of the script himself, but at the end of the day, the Writers Guild of America decided to give all of the credit to Zak Penn, saying that Norton’s changes didn’t drastically alter the script. In March of 2010, Norton sat down with SuperHeroHype, and things sounded like they were on the up and up. Apparently not.
Now, in just a short time span, fans of the Marvel universe will have to deal with not one (Eric Bana), not two (Norton), but three actors portraying Banner. I think it’s too much, because when you really think of it, with the section of time they are going for (and if my memory serves me correct), The Avengers don’t meet Banner himself: it’s the Hulk who is a main antagonist.
In my opinion, Marvel is making a huge mistake. If you’ve seen The Incredible Hulk, Norton delivers a solid performance, and when you look at his body of work (Fight Club, American History X, The Illusionist, Rounders, Death to Smoochy, The Score, etc) he obviously works well with others, and is a phenomenal actor.
Will this make me want to not see The Avengers? I can’t say. Am I thrilled about the addition of Scarlett Johansson, who did a piss poor job of accurately portraying Black Widow, and Chris Evans as Captain America? No, not really. Odds are, I’ll probably see the movie anyways, and when I see the Hulk finally grace the screen, I’ll be wishing it were Norton instead.