By far biggest panel and one of the biggest news-generating events at this year's Comic-Con was of course, Marvel Studios' presentation for Thor, The First Avenger: Captain America and The Avengers. Of the revelations and announcements made by Marvel, the most controversial is Mark Ruffalo's taking over of the character Bruce Banner from The Incredible Hulk star Ed Norton.
Marvel Studios directors Jon Favreau and Joss Whedon were both questioned on the matter of replacing Ed Norton and the challenge of breaking continuity. Favreau talks about having to experience a similar issue with Iron Man 2 and Whedon shares his feelings on Ruffalo joining his cast for The Avengers.
At Comic-Con, IGN had a chance to speak with Iron Man director Jon Favreau about the Norton-Ruffalo situation where he gave his honest thoughts about replacing actors and breaking that continuity:
"It's tricky... I know Edward, and I dig the guy's talent tremendously. He's always been a very great guy... I'm sure that however this comes out, it's going to be something that's amenable to both the filmmaker and the studio. I know that we faced the challenge of recasting with Don Cheadle and Terrence Howard, and although I think breaking continuity is always a challenge and should be avoided whenever possible, it is the reality of the movie business that sometimes things don't work out."
The Terrence Howard replacement did cause a lot of fury from a segment of the online community but in the end it did work out and Don Cheadle was a solid choice to play James "Rhodey" Rhodes. The Mark Ruffalo situation is exactly the same and he's just as talented - folks will see that once they see him on screen as Banner in The Avengers.
As for the director of The Avengers who will directly be working with Ruffalo, Joss Whedon is nothing but excited and happy at the chance to work with the actor and he's grateful they were able to bring him into the fold. At the Saturday night Syfy party, MTV got a quick word from Whedon on the red carpet on the subject:
“I’m stunned that we landed that, just stunned... He has what I remember loving about the show, that quality of, you just look at him and you go through it with him, he invites you in in a way that [no] other performer has since Bill Bixby. He is a guy who’s been beaten up by life, but not defined by that. That’s what I want from Bruce Banner, is a guy who’s still getting it done, even though he has his problem.”
It's nothing but a positive attitude from geek icon Joss Whedon who I was fortunate enough to meet the night before the Marvel presentation took place. He's a great guy to be around and a great director to work with - I'm excited to see what he'll do with such a large-scale project that's tailor-made for his own interests and that of his fanbase.
Even though I was very disappointed that Norton wasn't able to come to a deal with Marvel to reprise the role of Bruce Banner, I know Ruffalo will do a solid job in the part and as time goes by, the reality of this change settles in comfortably.
Thor opens May 5, 2011; The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012.
Sources: IGN, MTV