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Ed Norton won't be Bruce Banner in Marvel's Avengers movie

07.11.2010

UPDATE #2: Wow, this thing's turning into a dramatic sniper battle. Hitfix now has a reaction to the below from Norton's agent Brian Swardstrom, who calls Feige's comments "unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory". More: "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. He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at ComiCon and make it the event of the convention. 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. This seemed to us to be a financial decision but, whatever the case, it is completely their prerogative, and we accepted their decision with no hard feelings." Likely not the end -- stay tuned, true believers!

UPDATE: Hitfix got a statement from Marvel movie honcho Kevin Feige himself regarding the below matter: "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. 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." Zing. Sounds like somebody doesn't think Ed plays well with others.

7.10.10: Don't make him absent. You wouldn't like him when he's absent.

For some time, we've been wondering whether Edward Norton would be returning to the Marvel universe as scientist Bruce Banner and his oversized green alter-ego in the upcoming AVENGERS movie.

Alas, while the ongoing assumption is that the Hulk will indeed make an appearance with/against the superhero assemblage, the same can't be said for THE INCREDIBLE HULK's human half, as Hitfix makes the following claim: "According to Marvel sources, the company has decided that they are going to cast "an unknown" to play Bruce Banner and The Hulk in the film."

Although Norton has expressed some degree of interest in coming back, there now seems to be speculation that the Banner role may not be significant enough in the movie to justify his return (we're already getting Iron Man, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain America and Thor)... or Marvel just didn't want to pry open their wallet for his fee. Or maybe Ed's just too busy helping the environment?

Whatever the case, we'll likely find out the real deal with some kind of official announcment at Comic Con in just a couple of weeks.

Extra Tidbit: Does the lack of Norton make you any more or less interested in AVENGERS?
Source: Hitfix

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