Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hulk Out?

Just when it seemed like all the pieces were falling into place for Marvel's big Avengers event picture for summer 2012, Drew McWeeny drops this gamma bombshell. In their infinite wisdom, the higher-ups at the studio have apparently made the surprising and wrongheaded decision not to invite Edward Norton, who embodied The Incredible Hulk two summers ago, to participate in the studio's heavily-anticipated superhero team-up flick, instead choosing to recast the part with an unknown.

So while stars Robert Downey, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth are all locked to 'port their respective Marvel franchises over to Avengers, Norton will be left without a chair. Even more frustrating, the actor was/is apparently still excited to reprise his role as the erstwhile Bruce Banner, and had even met with director Joss Whedon about the new film. The decision was entirely the studio's, and came down to finances. Now, I'm not sure what budgetary calculus Marvel used to determine that it was Norton who'd get the boot, but it's a bad one.

I've made no secret of how much I loved 2008's The Incredible Hulk, and Norton is a big reason for that. He lent credibility and weight to the part, helping to rescue the franchise from its unplanned obsolescence following Ang Lee's 2003 take. Beyond that, Norton's presence in Avengers would serve as a valuable payoff to the whole extended build-up that's been playing out for two years, and of which the '08 Hulk was an integral part. If Drew's read on things is accurate, that Norton's axing isn't entirely a done deal yet, I sure hope the Marvel execs come to their senses. Otherwise, it's a worrying sign about where Avengers is headed.


The Mad Swede said...

I have to agree with you, Zaki. If they so badly do not want Norton in it (which is an asinine idea), I think they'd be much better off using a Hulk who never transforms back into Banner at all. Changing actor is just James Rhodes all over again, and if you want to build continuity, perhaps keeping one's actors is a smart move (unless they die, which is an unfortunate occurrence of course, in any way).

Wunderr(Dave) said...

I think it's a huge mistake. Ed Norton has passion for the character, and played Banner the way I "see" Banner in my head. Who do we write?

David Ferguson said...

I just finished watching the movie again (picked it up cheap in a local shop). Fair enough if Norton didn't want to do it, he didn't do a good job as the Hulk or people don't want it but he does, he did and we all wanna see it.

I didn't like the Rhodes change either.