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. At the beginning of movie, I was very disappointed and frustrated to see another man is acting Hulk. I wanted Edward Norton, as he was the reason why I became a fan of Hulk!!!
    But, Avengers ? – I actually enjoyed it ! After complete the story and knowing the role of the Hulk in the movie, I understood it was probably a good decision of Marvel to cast Mark Ruffalo for the Hulk. The casting and the role does not fit to Edward Norton, because he has such charisma that simply does not go with other strong characters. Seeing Mark’s Hulk, as a mid-age modest doctor in this movie was such a pleasant in this movie.
    Mark Ruffalo is a true Hulk in “Avengers”. However, I’m still being a great fan of ED Norton’s Hulk in “The Hulk”. :)

    • Wow that was the perfect reply. I could not agree more. I feel like when Edward norton is in a movie he owns it. And the Avengers movie needed to be shared. For this reason I thought ruffalo was a better choice. Norton remains my favorite actor tho

  2. Of course it’s not about money, when Hollywood won’t be able to pay the actors for its movies? What a bullcrap! Norton is the right actor for the movie, I just finished to watch the Avengers and no offense but that new actor who plays Hulk is just not good enough! Mr Norton was Hulk and so he should continue to be Hulk as the other actors continue to play the roles of their heroes! The directors who’ve disagree to take Mr Norton should feel ashame! That’s an insult, We, the fans don’t care about what problems they had with Mr Norton to make this decision, what we care about is seeing the right actors playing the right heroes and Mr Norton is Hulk! Not that guy coming out of nowhere!

    • actually Mark Ruffalo didnt come out of nowhere…he has quite the resume and he is a wonderful actor.

      • You be quiet, Mr.Norton should have been the actor for Hulk.

        • Every single actor who has played the Hulk at one point or another has been great, and each has brought a new part to each movie. I think that they were all good choices (Eric Bana, Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo) and were great for their own respective movies. Bana brought a mysterious side to it, Norton played a good solitary role without other Avengers, and Ruffalo’s style of acting was great with other actors. I know some people may disagree with me, but this is just my personal opinion.

    • Edward Norton all the way the other guy…Mark Ruffalo or whatever didn’t give the Hulk the character he deserved. I was extremely pissed and don’t think I’ll be buying anymore box office tickets to Marvel movies.

      • ur srsly not watching the best superhero movies because of one character? i thought ruffalo was great but whatever

  3. I was so disappointed to learn edward norton was not cast as the hulk in the avengers, i have to say it definitely lowered my enjoyment of the movie, i respect that mark ruffalo is a good actor, but the simple fact is he is not the hulk! the hulk became my favourite super hero purely on how norton portrays him, nobody can capture the character like he does. i am very angry at marvel for this choice, and i find their reason for replacing norton pretty rude actually as if norton isnt talented enough for the role, (more like he is too talented and they wanted some1 to look pretty and follow orders).

    • I haven’t seen avengers yet so I don’t know how ruffalo will be, but norton was sooo good in the incredible hulk! It’s one of my favorite marvel movies, he’s such a talented actor and he deserved a much more respectable treatment. I hope marvel knows how much they’ll loose in ditching norton… And I hope I can enjoy the Avengers without norton, but it wont be easy. Really rude of them, gosh doesn’t they want the best actors? For this movie? If Norton isn’t totally impossible to work with I don’t know what marvel thought when they declined him this role. Gonna see avengers tomorrow, if ruffalo doesn’t do well in his role as the hulk, then I’m gonna rate avengers really low on imdb…

  4. I was soooo disappointed when I learned that Edward wasn’t playing the hulk! I recently saw the avengers movie, and let me say that it would of been a thousand times better with him as the hulk. I am praying, that Edward wiill once again be able to play th hulk in th avengers upcoming movies, regardless of the contract that mark agreed to. Come back edward norton!!!

  5. Mark Ruffalo was brilliant in The Avengers. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I beleive he is the best hulk by far. He really suited the role. I sincerely hope they bring Mark back to play the hulk in more Avenger movies. Good on you Marvel, you made a good decision.

    • *believe

  6. Well after seeing the avengers I can only say that Mark Ruffalo was a severe disappointment. Edward Norton is the very epitome of Bruce Banner and as such is simply irreplaceable, Marvel made a catastrophic lapse in judgement and I can only hope that in the future they come to their senses and bring back the real Banner we all fell in love with. Mark Ruffalo is no doubt a talented actor but he should stick to romantic comedies, he is simply not the leading man to contend with the likes of the avengers.

  7. I don’t think it’s the same without Ed. Although I think Mark Ruffalo did a great job, it just wasn’t the same. He wasn’t who I’ve imagined Hulk as all these years, and it made me kinda sad.

  8. My vote goes to Mark Ruffalo. Before his portrayal of Bruce Banner, I was not a Hulk Fan. Sure, my favs are still Thor and Iron Man but now I kinda like the green guy too. I loved Mark’s simple but brilliant ordinary guy take on it all. The other Hulks were too intense, too into themselves…this Hulk is a fun guy to be with, just don’t get in his way while he does his smash thing.

    • I agree with Gina utterly.

    • Agreed…..i dont like any of the hulk movies but loved the hulk in the Avengers. Thor is still my favorite but if they made a hulk movie and mark was the actor, i would love to see only because he would be the hulk

  9. I just got done watching the Avengers and thought the actor for Hulk was one of the worst decisions ever made by the people from Marvel Studios. You selfish people, stop making dumb excuses on why you won’t use Mr. Norton and bring him back already. Hulk was my favorite hero and I was excited to see him on the big screen with other Marvel heroes, but the poor choice of having an actor other than Mr.Norton ruined my entire experience of the new Marvel movie the Avengers. This message goes out to the casting crew for Avengers, I am disappointed in your work and do not want to speak to you. EVER!!!!

  10. If Edward Norton isn’t playing Hulk, then there might as well not even be a Hulk.

  11. I’m very disappointed! In the Hulk, Norton portrayed Bruce perfectly, you could see how the character struggled. Norton was perfect, his acting was deep and meaningful.

  12. Sounds like Edward Norton wanted more screen time than the other actors or the story to go deeper with his character and that wasn’t the type of movie Marvel was making.

  13. I really was blown away by the Avengers having little expectations when I saw it. It was kind of everything I hoped the X-men would be but never lived up to. X-men movies were good but this was just better. Reading that Norton wanted the Hulk/Banners character to advance more in the Avengers probably wasn’t in the best interest of production cost especially since the screenplay was in place already. I think they didn’t want to cater to his request and neither side wanted to compromise to get it done. Mark did an admirable job but Norton really has the whole introspective tortured Dr. Banner thing down. Mark seemed a little forced at times almost like he was so happy to be there he couldn’t focus on the character…

  14. why is ashley greene on that avengers image? nevertheless, i haven’t seen the avengers, but i would’ve preferred edward to have been in it. mark ruffalo does however fit the whole “hulk” image. he just seems right.

  15. I’m srry but Edward should have been hulk.Mark just wasent in tune with the character like Edward was.I think it was a spit in his face when they did that to him I actually would like to see another hulk with Edward in it maybe him vrs the red hulk but as far as mark goes they wanted a newbe that would shut up and follow orders.personally never heard of someone being to good hen u got it you got it.that’s a problem with these movie companies they listen to themselves not the fans.

  16. The only part of the entire movie that bothered me was that Edward Norton wasn’t the Hulk and YET again, Marvel had recast the Hulk. I completely enjoyed the movie. I’ve watched it 3 times. I guess as long as Marvel doesn’t recast him again I’d be fine with that.

    • Side Note: Of the 3 most recent actors to portray the Hulk, Edward Notron was the only one who captured the character PERFECTLY.

  17. Ok even though this is way to late, I think the new hulk sucked at acting, his facial expressions were so amateur. The older hulk was such a better actor.

  18. I absolutely hated the new Hulk look!!! Nortons Hulk was a BEAST! Marvel….”Your making me angry!”

  19. I was disappointed that Edward Norton didn’t play the Hulk in the new Avengers Movie,and felt that Mark Ruffalo just didn’t fit the part.I have always loved Joss Whedon’s work as a director from his days doing Firefly and Serenity but not using Edward Norton as the Hulk makes me wondering if I’ll see any of his movies anymore and have my doubts about him as a director.

  20. I just saw the movie, without Mr. Norton, its very hard to see a different actor. These days I’m used to disappointment. I enjoy watching Mr. Norton in films nd I

  21. Well that sucks

  22. I understand almost all of the points that have been made here. I, too, loved the Hulk portrayed by Edward Norton, and love him as an actor. Mark Ruffalo is respectable as an actor, and to an extent reminded me of the the TV version of the Hulk. Do I believe they should have stuck with Norton… Definitely. However, would you rather them battle back and forth and NOT have a great movie? I mean, seriously… This could have been a lot worse… We could have had to watch Eric Bana DESTROY the Hulk role again.

  23. I HATE when they make sequels with out the original actors the portrayed the charactors BEST! I don’t know if that really was a note from Norton him self,but if it was WOW, what a wonderful guy… Marvel you are SO STUPID and you know you are going to go on always having that thought in the back of your heads “we should have gone with Norton” If it wasn’t for all the other great actors I would boycot the buying of this movie. Edward Norton you are an awsome actor and you will forever be my favorite HULK!!!!!!!!

  24. Ruffalo was amazing in Avengers! Marvel/Joss definitely made the right decision there.

    I did enjoy Norton in The Hulk, but feel like Ruffalo was more suited to the role in Avengers.

    I truly hope he gets his own stand alone Hulk film as it will be “incredible”… See what I did there?! Haha

    G x

  25. Ruffalo was amazing in Avengers! Marvel/Joss definitely made the right decision there.
    I did enjoy Norton in The Hulk, but feel like Ruffalo was more suited to the role in Avengers.
    I truly hope he gets his own stand alone Hulk film as it will be “incredible”… See what I did there?! Haha x

  26. Ruffalo was amazing in Avengers! Marvel/Joss definitely made the right decision there. I did enjoy Norton in The Hulk, but feel like Ruffalo was more suited to the role in Avengers. I truly hope he gets his own stand alone Hulk film as it will be “incredible”… See what I did there?! Haha x

  27. Mark was amazing in Avengers! Marvel/Joss definitely made the right decision there. I did enjoy Norton in The Hulk, but feel like Mark was more suited to the role in Avengers. I truly hope he gets his own stand alone Hulk film as it will be “incredible”… See what I did there?! Haha x

  28. Marvel made the biggest mistake of all in not keeping Edward Norton. The hulk storyline in the avengers was so messed up. Every character was the same from their original films. Edward Norton would have made the avengers ten times better. It was a good movie. But bc of the hulk mess up, the movie lost quality.

  29. Just watched (again) The Incredible Hulk last night. Really loved the movie. Really love Edward Norton as an actor, too. So I wanted to know why he was not cast in The Avengers. I thought it unfortunate because I like EN.
    But I gotta say, Mark Ruffalo was spot on as the Hulk in Avengers. Now I cannot imagine anyone else doing it! Edward Norton is a fabulous actor and I’ve followed all of his work. But I cannot see him “fitting” well with the Avengers team. So ultimately it was a great decision. Nothing personal (I hope), just business. And it worked. NOW they better not think of replacing Mark Ruffalo…they finally got the Hulk right!
    Love you Edward Norton…let’s see more movies with you starring.