Update: This is no longer a rumor, as Marvel’s Kevin Feige made it official with a statement over the weekend.
The details are about as murky right now as those trippy, drugged-out, hallucinogenic visions in Ang Lee’s Hulk movie, but apparently Edward Norton will not be playing Bruce Banner/the Hulk in The Avengers movie after playing the character in The Incredible Hulk back in 2008. According to Drew McWeeny of HitFix, Norton wants to reprise his Hulk character — especially in with Joss Whedon directing and Robert Downey Jr. starring as Tony Stark/Iron Man — but inside sources report that Marvel has pushed him out of the way. The likely culprit? Economic reasons.
It appears Marvel will cast an unknown in the role, continuity be damned. I see their logic. It’s cold, disregards hardcore fans and is completely unartistic, but I see it for sure.
“Downey Jr., plus Whedon, plus the scope of the Avengers? We don’t need Ed freakin’ Norton and his price tag, we already got one A-lister. The Whedon fanboys will be onboard. And look at how much money the Iron Man movies made. All the morons who wear Tapout shirts and drink Natty Light will drag along their girlfriends again. The chicks will tag along to see Downey Jr.’s charm, Chris Evans’ stubble and Chris Hemsworth’s biceps. As for the fanboys, f*** ‘em. They’ll eventually come on board, no matter who we get to play the Hulk. Besides, we’ll find somebody good anyway, so they’ll come around and we’ll have no worries. Plus, we’ll save about $15 million in the process. This worked with Terrence Howard. Sorry, Mr. Norton, you’re Ed-pendable.” – The Marvel Studios Braintrust
You know they’d throw that lame joke in there at the end and laugh way too hard at it, too. Argh. I hope this is just a bogus report from insiders. Or maybe Marvel putting out a feeler to see if they can get away with penny-pinching? If it is Marvel putting out a feeler, they can reach down into my pants and feel something. Yank on that. That’s how I feel about them yanking Norton out of one of the most anticipated comic book flicks of all time and totally screwing up the Avengers landscape (more than Chris Evans ever could). In all seriousness, if this is true his replacement better be incredible.
I’m going to go meditate right now. Marvel won’t like me when I’m angry. I need that watch…and some stretchy purple pants…