Sadly, this back and forth on Norton's involvement with The Avengers has swayed from likely to unlikely for far too long. Last Fall, things seemed on the positive side with Norton saying that the idea of Hulk being partially a villain of sorts, or at least a high-tension character in The Avengers would be "fun" like it was in the comics (he's a reader and a big fan) and he even went as far as saying the Hulk's return was "only a matter of time." Two months later, in interviews he seemed less enthusiastic again about the idea and that was it until Marvel President Kevin Feige dropped Hulk's name as one of the characters involved when discussing The Avengers.
Was that a confirmation then that Hulk would be an Avenger? With the way things had been going we still couldn't say. But things got even better when Norton revealed in March that his agents were talking with Marvel. That was the last we heard so it seems there's definite interest from both parties. We know from what Norton's said in interviews that he would only play along if his character has a meaningful role, something that developed the character beyond how we saw him in The Incredible Hulk where he's finally learned some control over his other (larger and greener) self.
This task of giving each superhero in The Avengers a significant part is a monumental undertaking for Joss Whedon and company. And while Norton says he's not yet met Whedon about the movie, I hope that changes soon.
As for Norton's statement, yes, we all want you to play Bruce Banner in The Avengers. Marvel, make it happen.
What do you think about Ed Norton's future with The Avengers?
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Iron Man 2 is currently in theaters everywhere; Thor opens May 5, 2011; The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012