Friday, it was reported that Marvel Studios was not going to bring actor Ed Norton to reprise his Incredible Hulk role of Bruce Banner in their upcoming superhero team-up film The Avengers. The news caught fans off-guard and the expected uproar went up at the usual fan internet hangouts. Marvel Studios quickly swung in to damage control mode, stating “the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members” was the key factor behind the decision. Norton’s agent quickly responded, calling Marvel Studios, and in particular studio chief Kevin Feige’s remarks “purposefully misleading, inappropriate,” “mean spirited, accusatory” and “unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory.”
The latest chapter of the story is unfolding today, as CHUD is reporting from unnamed sources that Marvel has put out an offer to actor Joaquim Phoenix to take the part left open by Norton’s dismissal.
If he is indeed mulling over the offer, there are a few factors he is probably considering. Many other actors currently involved with Marvel Studios’ overlapping superhero franchises have contracts for multiple films, so it is probable that options for future films, including a continuation of the Hulk franchise, are included here. Also, CHUD is stating that whomever takes on the role will be the low man on the pay scale totem pole.
Whomever Marvel casts in the role, they’ll have to hurry if they want to unveil the entire cast at the San Diego Comic Con in less than two weeks.