While at New York Comic Con, promoting his ex-CIA agent role, starring alongside Cate Blanchett (Robin Hood) and Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) in director Joe Wright's, Hanna, former Hulk, Eric Bana, offered a few thoughts on Marvel's Mean-Green-Machine casting troubles.
Though he was there to promote Hanna, Bana took a minute to answer a question about the recent controversy surrounding Edward Norton's exit from the Hulk role - as well as the decision to have Mark Ruffalo step in for the Avengers (as Bruce Banner and his CGI anti-hero) as well as any potential Hulk sequels.
At the Hanna press junket, Bana spoke about his own exit from the Hulk franchise:
"Nothing ever really went down, it was a real natural occurrence of events. I guess there was a fair gap between the first one and the second one - I was never really in a position where I was on for the second one. So there was never really a feeling as though I'm not a part of it. It just naturally evolved. By the time the second one came along I was in Toronto shooting Time Traveler's Wife and they were in town shooting the Hulk at the same time. It never really felt like anything good or bad either way."
The actor was equally kind when discussing Marvel's choice to drop Edward Norton in favor of Mark Ruffalo for the Avengers mega-mashup:
"In a way, I think it's kind of cool. So far, each time it's come out, there's been someone different. So that might be its legacy. There might be someone else for the 4th time."
There's no question Bana was being gracious - especially considering it's unlikely he'll be returning to the role.
However, while Bana might think it's cool that several different actors have had a turn as the Hulk, it's been a major headache for Marvel - especially considering the exceptional success of casting Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man or Tobey Maguire in the first three Spider-Man films. Even though the upcoming Spider-Man reboot will feature The Social Network's Andrew Garfield as the heroic web-slinger, for an entire decade, Maguire's name was synonymous with the Spider-Man character - bringing in over 2 billion in global box office dollars (between the first three films).
While fans will undoubtedly flock to theaters to see their favorite comic book characters adapted for the big screen, no matter who plays them - there's no doubt that, from a production (and marketing) standpoint, having the same actor portray a character makes things a lot easier.
The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012.
Hanna will be released on April 8, 2011.