In a statement sent in direct response to yesterday's story from the set of "Captain America" in London, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige forwarded the following exclusively to HitFix:
"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."
HitFlix is saying they think Sharlto Copley is a possiblity for the new Banner. And yes, this makes me WAY conflicted.
1st I'm a Norton fan. And this is just a bullshit play. Norton is amazing and he brought his A game to The Hulk because he's a fan. This is just totally unfair to him and just plain mean. Marvel may be getting a surprise in their response to any grand announcement at Comicon which I could totally see happening. But fans are fans...we'll still go see a Whedon directed Avengers flick. Because god we've been waiting for one for a long time.
2nd Copley who is no where near confirmed would be perfect for it. But still...this is just a bullshit play. If this had gone down with just Norton not wanting to come back that would be one thing...but its not that at all. At this point, the only way Marvel could make me alright with this is Copley or Stephen Colbert as Banner.