It’s Official: Marvel To Replace Edward Norton in ‘The Avengers’

Published 5 years ago by , Updated May 23rd, 2013 at 7:51 am,

iron man 2 edward norton bruce banner Its Official: Marvel To Replace Edward Norton in The Avengers

[UPDATE: Marvel Studios is officially recasting the Hulk for The Avengers movie – Edward Norton is out. Check out the end of the article for details.]

Since its inception, Marvel Studios has deliberately and carefully been building towards a unique and ambitious cinematic event- The Avengers. From the very first tease offered in the post-credits scene of Iron Man, fans have been salivating over the idea and watching with cautious optimism as piece after piece falls into place.

The Avengers was always going to be a challenging project for creative and logistical reasons but the glue holding it together was the excitement of seeing not only the iconic characters on screen together, but also the familiar faces of the actors we’ve come to associate with them — which makes this latest development appear to be the first major misstep Marvel has made with the project.

Evidently, when The Avengers assemble on May 4th, 2012 – it  will be without Edward Norton as the Hulk. According to HitFix:

Marvel made a decision to hire an unknown, and they informed Norton that they won’t be using him in the film.  And that is evidently that.

It’s widely known that Norton has had something of a troubled past with the studio but this decision wasn’t made because he declined to be a part of the film. In fact, Norton wanted to play Bruce Banner again. He even recently met with Avengers director Joss Whedon and was reportedly so excited by what he heard that he told his agency to keep his schedule open.

Prior to that meeting, his only stipulation was that The Avengers had to push the Banner character forward in some way. Norton may have a reputation for being difficult to work with but in the case of The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers it’s important to remember that what he was fighting for was his character and the story.  He’s a huge fan of the comics and this stuff matters to him and he knows it matters to fans.

AVENGERS header Its Official: Marvel To Replace Edward Norton in The Avengers

Passion is only part of the equation unfortunately- there’s also the financial aspect of this situation. We know Marvel initially low-balled Mickey Rourke and Samuel L. Jackson for their involvement in Iron Man 2 and with a project as immense and intimidating as The Avengers, they’re no doubt looking to cut costs wherever they can.

While details of how exactly the negotiations between Marvel and Norton fell apart are unclear, I can’t help but wonder if the studio felt the actor might just be more trouble than he’s worth.

Norton’s performance was hands down my favorite part of The Incredible Hulk so this news is particularly troubling to me. There’s just absolutely no way I can see an unknown actor bringing the same weight and authority to that role. I understand the pressure to control costs, but the true value of this property is not in its budget or box-office gross- it’s the innovative execution of something that’s never been attempted before. As the HitFix article so perfectly sums it up:

“Avengers assemble” is more than just a nifty slogan for a ball cap.  It’s a call to arms for a one-of-a-kind movie event.  Please… treat it that way.  The rewards will be worth the effort.


It’s official, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige has released an official statement – confirming the studio is in fact ditching Norton and recasting a more “collaborative” Hulk-worthy actor for The Avengers:

“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.”


Norton himself has responded to Marvel’s announcement with this note on his Facebook Page:

ed norton statement hulk Its Official: Marvel To Replace Edward Norton in The Avengers

How do you feel about The Avengers minus Edward Norton? Is this a big mistake on Marvel’s part or do you think it’s possible that an unknown can deliver in the role?

I guess this goes against the rumored plans to have Norton appear on stage as part of the Marvel presentation at San Diego Comic-Con.

Source: HitFix

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  1. Huge mistake. Norton is the man. Shame they’re canning a guy so passionate about the role. I’m eager to see who they cast as Banner though. Who knows? Might be the next big actor.

    • is this true fact or can he come back to play as bruce banner

  2. Though I don’t agree with this, I really don’t disagree with it either. Yes Norton was commendable as Banner, but they replaced Terrence Howard and everything turned out pretty well.

    I think Shartlo Copley could pull off Banner. He portrayed as a fugitive from the government in District 9 and has been proven to do an American accent in A-Team. Now he just has to apply to that to the Hulk’s alter ego.

    • Terrence Howard’s character War Machine was no where as big as the Hulk’s role is in the Avengers. And this will be the third actor to play the Hulk, leaving a bad impression in people’s minds. Not to mention that Captain America will be the litmus test, and I really don’t think that a “stage performer” origin (USO performer in a patriotic suit) ala Super Dave will really cut it as Captain America!

      As for Copley, he’s played COMICAL characters, not COMICBOOK characters. Two different types of characters, really. We can’t have Bruce Banner be a silly scientist now, can we?

      • In the A-Team Copely was comical. He only had a couple of laughable moments in D9, but overall he only played as a comical character in the A-Team. Plus just because he’s portrayed comical characters doesn’t mean he can’t do the Hulk. I mean take Faverau directing both Iron Man and Elf example.

    • Firstly Don Cheadle is not an unkown actor, and I dare say now that Shartlo Copely is not an unknown any more.

      • I’ve never heard of him. So he’s an “unknown” in my world.

        • broaden your movie viewing and expand that world, and just because you personally have not heard of some one does not mean they are not well known in the media world

  3. It was Norton’s performance as Banner that made The Incredible Hulk enjoyable. Without his knack for bringing humor as well as intellect to a very important character, I don’t know how Bruce Banner could be pulled off. I, for one, am not interested in anyone else playing the character. Let alone an unknown actor. I would hope that without Norton they would take the story in a new direction that would not include the Hulk.

    • I aree with this. It’s the right kind of darkish humor that Norton brought to the table that I don’t think Copley could do.

      • I’m SO SICK of hearing people talk about actors as if they’re all stock character actors.

        Sharlto Copley is not “a funny guy” character actor. He’s just an actor. In D9 he went from goofy to heavy and made that transition very well, IMHO. Saying he couldn’t pull off Banner is RIDICULOUS. The man could absolutely handle the part.

        For everybody who likes to fill these comment sections with the phrase “I just don’t seem him/her doing that,” Please remember that:

        A) You are not a casting agent – likely because your expertise is not “seeing him/her” in a movie role.

        B) You’ve likely said that phrase about somebody who ultimately turned in an amazing performance. Admit it.

        Sorry for the Rant :-) Please, carry on.

        • rant on kofi!

        • Give me a break Kofi. We have every right to say that certain actors can’t pull off roles. If we don’t think their good enough we can say what ever we want. Don’t act like casting agents have some hidden sixth sense none of us can understand they have made nearly as many bad choices as good. Certain actors can’t pull off certain roles because some of them don’t have enough talent. It’s been seen a thousand times. You’d be saying the same crap if they tried to cast Adam Sandler as some one like Captain America.


    This is making me so pissed and unweary about this movie. I honestly do not see anything coming from this movie and this could honestly be a turning point for me in choosing to watch it or not.

    I loved what he did with the character and I felt that it would be just as crazy to recast tony stark as it would be to recast bruce banner.

    Screw MARVEL, I’m super pissed.

    • i totally agree marvel are thinking that they will be saving money but the thing is if they cut the best actors from there roles they will still lose money, lots of money because not as many people will go and watch the movie!!! they should carefully chose the actors for there parts and keep with them not change them every 5 min, iron man, twighlight, transformers 3 have all suffered already, but when you watch these back on blu-ray they could just look stupid with the actor changes!! bring norton back put the money in make a great film, a one off with a great story then sit back and watch it beat advatar to biggest blockbuster of all time!! you listening marvel?! or does james cameron need to teach you a few things first!!

      • Oh come on lets get real here. OK it sucks Norton probably won’t be in this. The movie will be worse with out him it’s terrible horrible awful news that will hurt the quality of this film and yet we will all still watch it. Lets not pretend like less people will see it suddenly. We are all still gonna watch it. Cap, Thor, and Iron man RDJ will still be a part of it. People will still flock to the theater to watch this regardless of Nortons status they may be disseminated and pissed at Marvel for it, but we will all still be there. If they recast RDJ or leave out one of the big three we might skip it other than that we are all gonna be there.

        • But you mite lose eg 20% mainstream audience minus Norton and hardcore comic fans might watch it 3 times instead of 5 because of Norton, so Marvel still lose, and now I won’t bother going to the cinema watching the incredible hulk 2 now since Norton’s already my Bruce Banner. I didn’t bother watching the dvd at all until my friends were saying how good norton was in the first film.

          • They won’t lose one member of the mainstream audience for alot of reasons. One being the main steam audience hardly knows anything about the avengers and wouldn’t even know Norton wasn’t in this until they saw it. Two Hulk wasn’t a 300Mil movie it did ok and critics liked it, but it wasn’t a huge hit. The mainsteam will be going to see Ironman/RDJ team up with other heroes and big big action. Non of the main steam was gonna go see this only because of Norton. Now some fans might only see it 3 instead of 5 times, but I doubt that drop in sales will hurt to much since they don’t have to spend millions on Norton.

            Don’t get me wrong I think it’s a bad choice on their part it hurts the continuity of the film. It hurts the quality of the film and it takes away from the entire point of the film. You might as well recast everyone and act as if the previous build up films never happened. Like I said Norton should be in this, but if they are gonna cut him out and just re cast Hulk i’d rather Hulk not even be in the film then maybe just mention him in passing to keep up continuity.

            Also Hulk 2 was never confirmed and probably won’t happen. TIHulk barely made profit and while it was a critical success it wasn’t a big financial one. A sequel might happen if these rumors are not true, but if they are expect a reboot in 2015.

            All that said this story is hardly a 100% lock. This could all turn out to be wrong until Norton , Marvel or Wheadon confirm or deny we simply do not know. It’s nice to get updates on like this so we can at least semi be clued in, but lets not forget all the horrible inaccurate news we have been getting late especially surrounding Spiderman. The same amount of accuracy can be applied to this. This is not a 100% truth so expect the worst, but lets hope for the best and hope we are being fed a lie or inaccuracy (sounds nicer).

            • they can always ask Bana…LOL

            • As much as I would love to believe Marvel is totally screwin’ with us, we have to look at the facts, Edward Norton, while he is a great actor and made the incredible hulk for me, is a bit too emotionally attached to roles he’s in. He loves movies to be good so he is a bit of a perfectionist. Marvel really cares only about money, so if Ed Norton is trying to collaborate with Whedon and I don’t know, they decide to add a story subplot thats gonna cost another few million to shoot and edit, we aint gettin. That would piss Norton off.

              Thats my main reasoning behind the story.

              Now if they say at Comic-Con. Introducing, RDJ as Iron Man, CH as Thor, CE as Cap, Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, and last but not least Ed Norton as HULK and the audience roars, I would probably die and just not listen to news about marvel movies anymore – I couldn’t handle it -

              And I do agree with you on one standpoint, as much as I love hulk, I’d rather not see him in it if we get a re-cast.

              So while I’m not going to fully believe this til I hear official word, I’d say odds are against us because this sounds too like Marvel.

              Oh yeah as a last parting thought – If Avengers happened and they had big enough of a hit on their hands, maybe Hulk could get a second movie?

              ok, done.

            • Halleluiah!

  5. I apologize for cursing in advance.

  6. man this sucks. Edward Norton was awesome as The Hulk. Marvel is making a huge mistake. I really wanted to see RDJ and Norton together :(

        • LOL- you guys just made me spit my coffee out.

        • Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Wow! Talk about hilarious!

  7. This is the first big misfire, yeah. I mean, this sort of thing could hypothetically make a massive dent in an otherwise seemingly flawless film. I mean- obvious we don’t know much of crap about The Avengers yet short of the blisteringly obvious, but still- this is a big ball-dropping.

    • Yes, the first misfire will be the replacement of Norton, but the first evidence of what the movie will be like will be in Captain America.

      • Precisely- if that movie is a let down, I’m taking a firm step back. It will be the first taste of whether or not they can really pull this off.

        And yes, I’m even willing to let Thor slide if it turns out to be a train wreck (which I hope it doesn’t..).

      • Yah Joe Johnston’s Wolfman got slapped in the face so I’m a bit nervous of Cap too

  8. Ooh,my boyfriend is going to be so pissed when he wakes up for work and sees this posted on FB! This blows!!


  9. Ugh that’s terrible. My outlook on The Avengers keep going from Positive to Negative to Positive to Negative again. The idea from the beginning was exciting and I couldn’t wait. Chris Evans was announced as Captain America I lost all hope. Wheadon got the job of director and suddenly I was excited all over again. Norton not being in this makes me lose hope again. There were more ups and downs in there to many characters , but Fillion might be in it yay. Others as well, but to many to list I’ll keep it simple.

    Norton not in this = bad

    I’d rather Hulk not be in the film if they won’t use Norton. What kind of idiots are working on this thing to make stupid choices like this.

    • I was okay with Chris Evans, but this- this kills a lot of my faith in this film.

      • i wonder if the cowards at the studio forced whedon to break the bad news

    • Maybe Fillion as Banner? That could work out pretty darn good!!

  10. I’m dissapointed in Marvel. I really think this is a bad idea on Marvel’s part. I wonder what Norton has to say about this.

  11. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I’m even LESS thrilled with this Avengers movie >:(

  12. I think Nortons participation has been iffy for awhile,
    So,while this is dissapointing news,It is not entirely unexpected.

  13. Definitely will not be seeing this of they cast someone else. they already got these movies out,if they want to make avengers believeable & acceptable they need to stay consistent to what they’ve done already,otherwise it defeats the purpose. Norton was dope as bruce banner, they need to re-evaluate what they are trying to attain by doing this.

  14. It’ll be a money thing. In these situations, it always is. The Avengers is probably going to have most of the big cast of Iron Man, along with Chris Evans and likely a few other big names. Ed Norton probably cost too much, so like with Terrance Howard, they got rid of him. Also the only reason they’d go with an unknown, they can pay him almost nothing and keep control over him.

    Shame really, I liked Norton in that role, I thought he fit it nicely.

  15. F**k Marvel.

  16. Very bad news…

    • this film wont make it to the big screen without norton ha!!!

  17. it could be cause Norton likes to rewrite things like he did the Hulk. But the thing is he did a great job. I’m sorry to see him go cause i loved him in the Incredible Hulk but i’m still going to go see this movie

  18. is this officially 100% confirmed that he’ll be recast? all we need is a small glimmer of hope god damn this sucks, are they not aware that ed norton is pure gold? he’s one of the finest actors around and they’re just going to drop him… just like that. marvel you fools FOOLS I TELL YOU!

  19. Wow, wrong move on their part. No one has played banner better. They need to worry less about the costs of such a major project. This movie if done right will kill at the box office, dvd sales and probably a bunch of other merch sales. Im gonna go entourage here and say it…. SUITS SUCK

  20. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that as this story spreads and fans become more vocal about their disappointment that Marvel thinks twice about this decision.

    Given that Norton’s had such an up and down relationship with Marvel and the Avengers film, my only fear is if they DO come back to him it’ll be too little too late.

    I would love nothing more than to update this story and say their plans have changed. And like many of you have already said, the quality of Thor & Captain America will now have an even greater influence on my anticipation of The Avengers.

  21. As a Batman fan although I hate the news but I’m kinda smiling too because if Marvel keep this up, they’ll be swamped by Batman 3 in 2012. It’s almost like, Batman u don’t hav Heath, so we’ll drop Ed to make it even.

    • I don’t understand why this would make you happy. The success of ALL comic book movies will keep the studios making them. The audience that sees The Avengers will be the same audience that goes to see Batman 3. I hope that both The Avengers AND Batman 3 are awesome movies because I love going to the theater to see these types of movies!

  22. This is terrible news. I was looking forward to seeing Norton back reprising this role. Though I have said this before, I’m hoping the studio is keeping some things underwraps, so when finally when the Avengers trailer comes out, it is like “boom” Norton as the Hulk. I love those moments about movie trailers, it re-inforces my enthusiam to see the movie. Truly exciting. That just my opinion though.

  23. very bad move, disapointed with marvel… come on dc maybe you can make the fans happy with a justice league film!!!

  24. I just lost a lot of faith in Marvel Studios. How could they do everything so right for so long, then turn around and do something like… this? This is the kind of move I would expect from Fox, not Marvel. Hopefully they come to their senses before it’s too late.

  25. bad move marvel, bad move

  26. Not seeing in the link anything indicating he is fighting for the character. I have heard he wanted it to more reflect the lackluster jones run that marvel has retconned away. If so it would not behoove them to add it to the movie.

      • There’s nothing wrong with wanting that considering Robert Downey, Jr. has had two movies to grow his character to Norton’s one. The end of “The Incredible Hulk” is where Bruce Banner gets more interesting. If Banner doesn’t get another movie before “The Avengers” is released, I don’t see it as a huge request to show character growth for Bruce Banner.

        You know “The Avengers” is going to showcase Captain America and Thor because they’ll be forefront in people’s memories since their individual releases are so much closer to “The Avengers.” Character growth for Banner should be included. Norton is just looking out for his character.

  27. well we got to remember this isnt official word from marvel studios or norton/his agent. So who knows what could happen between now and filming in jan/feb. IF the story is true its a bit sad he wont be there. But the reason could be they could just have not much for banner to in the film. So say if he transforms into banner at the end and its a new guy they could just keep the guy’s face hidden so we dont know who it is. Now if norton is out, maybe he didnt like the money offer marvel was going to give him, or he didnt like the direction the avengers was going to take and walked. To we know what the reasons were we dont know whats up. Hopefully this story is false and we will see norton back.

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