Edward Norton Misses out on Avengers

The Columbia native was not asked to reprise his 2008 Hulk role in 2012's smash hit The Avengers.

The Avengers is estimated to be the biggest opening weekend in movie history, pulling in a whopping $205 million, according to Marvel/Walt Disney Studios, the makers of the film.

The film stars superheroes who themselves have been the subjects of recent movies.

There is Robert Downey Jr., who played Iron Man in 2008 and the sequel in 2010. Chris Hemsworth, who took up the hammer in 2011, plays Thor. Chris Evans, who played Captain America in the 2011 film, was also invited back for The Avengers.

However, not reprising his 2008 role as The Incredible Hulk is Edward Norton, the grandson of Columbia’s founder James Rouse and a native of Columbia. The role of Bruce Banner/ The Hulk is played by Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers.

Should Norton have been The Hulk in The Avengers? Tell us in comments.

In 2010, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige addressed the Norton issue as casting for the Avengers was underway: 

“We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner [The Hulk] 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…”

About a week after Feige’s statement, Norton responded on his Facebook page.

“It seems it won’t work out for me to continue playing Bruce Banner for Marvel in ‘The Avengers,’” wrote Norton. “I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone, but it hasn’t turned out as we all hoped. I know this disappointing to many people and that makes me sad.”

Norton’s agent Brian Swardstrom called Feige's explanation "offensive."

“This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light," wrote Swardstrom

"Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast… and both sides started negotiating good faith," Swardstrom said.

Swardstrom wrote the deal fell apart in what “seemed to us to be a financial decision. ... Mr. Norton’s talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.”

Compared to the other recent films by actors in the Avengers, Norton’s Hulk drew the least in gross revenue, according to IMDB statistics.

MG42 May 07, 2012 at 04:54 PM
I am Jack's rage about this! Initiate Project Mayhem 2!
Darren Wallace May 08, 2012 at 07:22 AM
after watching the avengers i then watched the Incredible Hulk again and thought no disrespect to the other guy but Edward Norton would have done it better he just had everything that made the Hulk Hulk really it was a great Film and i'm just one of those people that hates it when they change somthing thats great that includes changing Rhodes in Iron Man :-(
Brook Hubbard May 08, 2012 at 12:58 PM
As much as the studio/producers always say it's not about the money... it's usually about the money. That's what happened with Terrence Howard and that's probably what happened with Ed Norton. I will admit that I felt Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo did good jobs, so it wasn't a big let down. However, it would have been so much better if they'd have kept the original actors.
Jonathan Hopkins May 08, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I just watched "The Avengers" and as big a fan of Ed Norton, Jr. as i am (I still think he got robbed of the Oscars for his performance in "Primal Fear"), i actually liked Ruffalo's performance better. I always viewed Banner as a conflicted character who has an underlying brooding quality to his nature. Ruffalo embodied that better than Norton did. Not that Norton did a bad job in his portrayal. It is more like Norton got a B and Ruffalo gets an A. Norton good. Ruffalo better. Hulk, SMASH!
Jack May 09, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I would've liked to see Norton in the roll for consistency, and as a fellow Columbian. Plus he's a phenomenal actor who could've delivered a really nuanced and quirky a performance with Whedon's script. With that being said, I can't be mad at the decision to cast Ruffalo. He was awesome.
DR. RUCKUS May 09, 2012 at 10:28 PM
TJSanson May 10, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I know, right??? Nothing against Ruffalo, but Norton has the quirky intellect I associate with B. Banner, not Ruffalo's streetwise edge.
bobby May 11, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Disappointed that they didnt let ed norton be in the movie again. The only reason his movie did the least is cuz another movie was just made 4 years prior and that one was huge fail and i guess people just didnt want to see the same thing again so soon.
Andrew Metcalf (Editor) May 11, 2012 at 08:18 PM
That's a good point, no one was asking, "Why did Eric Bana get snubbed for the Avengers?"
Shaun May 24, 2012 at 12:37 AM
I think if you do a sequel you should have the original cast not some 2nd rate actor that hasn't played in anything good.
Lucian Price May 30, 2012 at 09:31 PM
I too am a fellow Columbian (its Columbia, Maryland) and I thoroughly believe the statement made by Marvel exs regarding Norton. Besides knowing him to be personally arrogant, just read the story behind American History X. He edited the movie for more screen time of himself! Eric Bana did the best job. Then Ruffalo, then Norton. Of course Edward Norton is a great actor. If Marvel says he was not willing to share the screen, I believe them.
Judah Kelevram June 06, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Well, at least Ed will get to meet Jeremy when The Bourne Legacy premiers in theaters. So it'll kind of be like a gift to Norton to make up for taking him out of The Avengers. : )
Marcus June 18, 2012 at 09:54 PM
I dunno, I liked Ruffalo's Hulk better than Norton's, but I think that was the writing as much as anything. Norton totally could have played the quietly suspicious, perpetually uncomfortable Banner that Ruffalo did, which was much more interesting than the constantly sad Banner that Bana and Norton portrayed... but clearly, given the scripts, that was not a failure on the actors' part. I like Mark Ruffalo and I like the Avengers, and if Ruffalo had been in The Incredible Hulk I'd have no issue either way, but an effort at consistency should have been made, and Norton would have been just as good if not better.
Migmig Johnson July 01, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Exactly. The real reason people are aroused over Ruffalo's performance with The Hulk isn't a very obvious one. It's not about Ruffalo being superior in any way than Norton because that's highly debatable. If anyone knows anything about Joss Whedon's talent, it's that he has the ability get an oscar winning performance out of a potato, no offense to the new Ruffalo fans. If he had Edward Norton to deal with, we probably would've had a Bruce Banner/Hulk which would be much more comfortable with verbal confrontations and gotten more of a spotlight, perhaps even rivaling Robert Downey's.
Gilberto Edwards August 10, 2012 at 08:24 AM
Edward Norton will return because he still in The Incredible Hulk 2 said the producer Gale Anne Hurd in October 23,2008.www.MTV.com
Gilberto Edwards August 10, 2012 at 08:27 AM
Edward Norton will return because he still in The Incredible Hulk 2 said the producer Gale Anne Hurd in October 23,2008.www.MTV.com
Marco Breddin September 15, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I do not understand why another actor replaces norton as hulk. As an old comic-fan I was very positively surprised about the great and deep performance of norton's hulk. Even more I can tell, that the movie itself really captures the spirit of the original comics. The same applies to the first three spiderman movies with Tobey Maguire! I do not understand this new version... It's so sad that marvel only looks for more profit and does not perserve a good concept, especially while they earn enough. Edward Norton is the one who gives the man behind hulk real deepness and credibility.
Allen Eric Wright September 18, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Im starting a petition to bring Ed Norton back, if your in email me at Marvel.Wright@gmail.com & please speard thr word!


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