Film rumor website HitFix has confirmed, in a statement from Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige that Ed Norton will not be taking part in the upcoming “Avengers” film, due for release in 2012. According to the statement, the decision was not based on Norton’s salary, but rather “rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.”
Norton, who portrayed the jade giant as well as his human alter-ego Bruce Banner in 2008′s “Incredible Hulk” was involved in an infamous spat with Marvel Studios and director Louis Leterrier over the final cut and direction of the film that nearly caused the production to be scrapped. It is little surprise that Marvel chose to move in this direction due to their artistic differences, and Feige also assures that they will “announce a name actor who embodies these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks.”
In more positive news, Feige’s statement confirms that all other principle cast members, including Robert Downey, Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth are all still on board with the production. Black Widow was not yet confirmed as appearing in the film, though rumored, and the same can be said about The Hulk.
So, who should take Norton’s place? Feige’s announcement specifically states that they will be hiring a “name actor,” so unknowns are off the table. Speculators, start your engines!
Read Feige’s full statement, as well as a response released by Norton’s agent which seemingly confirms Joss Whedon as The Avengers Director, after the break.