Marvel Studio's President of Production, Kevin Feige has issued a quick-response statement to last night's reports of Edward Norton losing his place amongst The Avengers. Here's the full text of what was sent to HitFix:
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.
For those of you who read my previous post, I'd say that it seems "Moral Two" was rather more in step with Marvel thinking than "Morals One and Three". That doesn't surprise me. What is unexpected is the his sentence – you know, the bit about a" name actor". I thought we were waiting on an unknown here?
Please do speculate, wish-cast and generally go to town on that one. Who do you expect to see in the role? Who do you want to see in the role?
There's a bit more here, I think. Read between the lines for scraps and there's a pretty good confirmation Scarlett Johnsson is in the picture – something a few people were considering less than certain. Further than that, Feige seems to be implying that Banner and his big, angry alter ego have an important role to play in the picture. Does this bear out the rumours that he's going to be the film's villain? And has that in anyway effected the casting?
I retract my prediction of this casting breaking in the trades over the next few days. Either some enterprising blog site is going to get the scoop or, as initially planned, this new Hulk is going to be thrown to the crowds at Comic-Con. I hope it's either somebody very, very geek friendly (ie. Nathan Fillion) or somebody very, very thick skinned.
Anyway, yeah, Nathan Fillion. How do you like the sound of that…?