CONFIRMED: The Avengers Will be Assembling a New Hulk/Bruce Banner

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Update: Marvel Studios has confirmed that Edward Norton won’t be reprising his role as The Hulk in “The Avengers”. This from Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige himself:

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.

So there you have it. For the third time in three movies, Bruce Banner aka The Hulk will be played by a completely different actor.

Update 2: Edward Norton’s agent Brian Swardstrom has responded to Marvel’s decision to re-cast The Hulk in Joss Whedon’s upcoming “The Avengers”:

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.

We know a lot of fans have voiced their public disappointment with this result, but this is no excuse for Feige’s mean spirited, accusatory comments. Counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in the Avengers cast, many of whom are personal friends of his. Feige’s statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.

Who to believe? Does it matter? The end result is the same: Edward Norton is no longer Bruce Banner. Although it would have been pretty damn awesome to see all the actors on the same stage with Joss Whedon at Comic Con…

Update 3: Edward Norton has posted his official statement about being kicked to the curb by Marvel on his Facebook account. Norton seems to be playing the good cop to his agent’s bad cop (above):

Update 4: Is Mark Ruffalo Edward Norton’s replacement?

–Original Post Below–

That’s the word from Hitfix, who cites “Marvel sources” as saying that the company have decided to part ways with Edward Norton as Bruce Banner aka the Hulk, and will instead be hiring an unknown to play the role for Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers”. Of course, like a lot of Marvel films nowadays, it’s all just conjecture and unnamed sources until the studio comes out and says it, and let’s face, there has been plenty — and I do mean plenty — of rushed “exclusive scoops” when it comes to Marvel movie casting, and this could very well be one of them.

Again, until Marvel makes it official via one of the trades, it’s just another Internet rumor, and should be treated as such.

What we do know is this: Robert Downey Jr. will definitely be playing Tony Stark aka Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth will definitely be playing Thor, Chris Evans is definitely Captain America, Samuel L. Jackson is definitely Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson is the Black Widow, and Jeremy Renner is most definitely Hawkeye.

The Hulk? Well, that’s up in the air. And in case you’re keeping count, if this turns out to be true, the Hulk will have gone through three actors since it resurfaced as a movie franchise in 2003. That is one confused superhero.

'Hulk no like constant cast changes! Hulk angry!'

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    I agree that Norton's portrayal of the role was essential to realizing Incredible, but he also came in and completely overhauled the script. It may have come down to money and though Norton's agent said Ed and Joss had a good meeting, there may have been worries that Norton may try to do the same with parts of Joss' script as well. Perosnally I think this is a mistake, but hey the Howard/Cheadle swap worked out, and depending on who they get this may not be horrible.

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    I'm hearing scary rumors of Joaquin Phoenix returning to acting for this. PLEASE NO!!! As good as he is (when he's good) I can't see it. However someone said Billy Crudup, or Patrick Wilson and I can see either one of them doing it. As long as they keep the look of the Hulk character I'll be okay.

  • ErickKwon

    Not surprised since there were stories about friction between Norton and Marvel when “Hulk” came out, but how fun would it be to get Eric Bana back as Banner/Hulk?

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    wouldn't be horrible, but he'd have to play him different. Not the whiney I don't know who I am version he played but something closer to the Norton version but maybe more like Marvel was saying about the Ultimate Hulk, where now he subconsciously wants to Hulk out. But I'd prefer Crudup or Wilson actually now that they're in my head.

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    And here's what aintitcool says:

    From beaks “At this point, my feeling, from what I was hearing from a couple of sources, was that this decision wasn't so much financial as it was based on lingering… discomfort after a… challenging collaboration on THE INCREDIBLE HULK.”

    Other than that he's got the same Hitflix link.

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/45732

  • ULIK

    There getting it a little mixed up. JOAQUIN PHOENIX IS THE PERFECT NAMOR!!! But definitely wrong for Bruce Banner. Since Norton isn't coming back, I think SHARLTO COPLEY is the best choice!!! Sharlto isn't exactly A-list just yet and he isn't exactly unknown and is an incredible actor that I think wouldn't mind taking a pay cut. There are a lot of actors that could portray Bruce Banner but something about Sharlto just reminds me of a jittery,sweaty, nervous greasy haired nerd. He LOOKS JUST LIKE BRUCE BANNER TOO! As an actor Sharlto actually makes you feel empathetic for him, I really felt sorry for him in District 9,that's the type of Bruce Banner we need who makes you feel his sorry and loneliness.

  • ULIK

    Thanks for the link Dedpool!!! I nominate SHARLTO COPLEY as the new BRUCE BANNER ftw!!!!!

  • ErickKwon

    Yeah, actually Copely would be a great choice and he's already done an incredible job as a man running from anything in a uniform while fighting a losing battle to control his own body and sanity

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    I can see that. I can definitely see that.

  • Vegas_13

    can sumbody please fire Kevin Feige…. Why is Marvel letting him sink their company..lol..dat goes to show you stan lee and company dont care for fans