Edward Norton Discusses Exiting ‘The Incredible Hulk’ Role And Kevin Feige’s “Cheap” Press Release

Edward Norton Incredible Hulk Marvel Studios Kevin Feige Universal

The Incredible Hulk star Edward Norton recently discussed his exit from the role of the Jade Giant and the press release on his departure made by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige.

One of the films included in Marvel Studios’ Phase One line-up was The Incredible Hulk, which starred Edward Norton as the titular character’s alter-ego Bruce Banner. While Edward Norton was initially expected to reprise the role of the Hulk in The Avengers, Marvel Studios opted to move forward without him and Mark Ruffalo was eventually cast as the character for all future MCU films.

During a conversation with The New York Times, Edward Norton was asked if his thoughts on storytelling and the filmmaking business meant his exit from the Hulk role and the “friction” with Marvel Studios was bound to occur. However, Edward Norton explained that he had actually planned to continue playing the Hulk and outlined a two-film concept, adding that he got along great with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. Here’s what Edward Norton had to say on the matter:

“Well, no. I loved the ‘Hulk’ comics. I believed they were very mythic. And what Chris Nolan had done with Batman was going down a path that I aligned with: long, dark and serious. If there was ever a thing that I thought had that in it, it was the Hulk. It’s literally the Promethean myth. I laid out a two-film thing: The origin and then the idea of Hulk as the conscious dreamer, the guy who can handle the trip. And they were like,”That’s what we want!” As it turned out, that wasn’t what they wanted. But I had a great time doing it. I got on great with Kevin Feige.”

In the press release announcing the decision to move forward without Edward Norton as the Hulk, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stated the decision was made due to the need to find an actor “who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.” Edward Norton described the press release as “cheap,” noting that wanted to take the Hulk in a direction Marvel Studios wasn’t interested in and that he admittedly wanted more money than they were willing to pay. However, the actor commended Kevin Feige for pulling off his grand plan for the franchise:

“Yeah, which was cheap. It was brand defensiveness or something. Ultimately they weren’t going for long, dark and serious. But it doesn’t matter. We had positive discussions about going on with the films, and we looked at the amount of time that would’ve taken, and I wasn’t going to do that. I honestly would’ve wanted more money than they’d have wanted to pay me. But that’s not why I would’ve wanted to do another “Hulk” movie anyway. I went and did all the other things I wanted to do, and what Kevin Feige has done is probably one of the best executions of a business plan in the history of the entertainment industry. As a Disney shareholder, you should be on your feet for what they pulled off.”

When asked about the quality of the Marvel Studios films, Edward Norton opted not to comment on that matter. The former Hulk actor said that he did not want to go down the path Kevin Feige envisioned for the franchise, and he chastised the media for trying to use his comments to make it seem as if he is trying to take digs at Marvel Studios:

“I’m not going to comment on that. I’m saying that Kevin had an idea of a thing that you could do, and it was remarkable. Now it didn’t happen to be on a tonal, thematic level what I wanted to spend my time doing. Conflating that into a fight or a judgement is grotesque. Picking fights between other people for clickbait is grotesque. I’m not being hyperbolic. It’s part of what’s problematic in our country. We are letting ourselves be polluted by fake fights manufactured by other people for other agendas. Whether it’s Russians manipulating us into intense arguments with one another over fabricated [expletive] or stupid entertainment journalism trying to get clicks. It’s like, I did Bruce Willis’s Comedy Central roast, and I made a joke at my expense. I talked about how I tried to do what Bruce did and make a big movie but I was an idiot because I tried to make the script better. Here’s the actual joke: “I tried to be like you. I did a big action movie called ‘The Incredible Hulk.’ You know what went wrong? I wanted a better script.” This is a joke making fun of myself but they’ll turn it into, like, “Edward takes a dig at Marvel.” No, I’m taking a dig at myself at a roast. People have to grow up.”

What are your thoughts on Edward Norton’s comments about Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios’ Hulk plans? Would you have been interested in seeing Kevin Feige move forward with Edward Norton’s two-film Hulk plan unfold? Was Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige right to recast the role of the Hulk? Sound-off your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned for the latest news regarding Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, The Hulk, and Edward Norton.

Since Marvel Studios replaced Edward Norton, The Incredible Hulk has appeared in five Marvel Studios films since his debut and his most recent outing was in Avengers: Endgame. Here’s the official synopsis for that movie:

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, “Avengers: Endgame.”

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo,  Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Jon Favreau, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Josh Brolin.

Avengers: Endgame is now available on Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD.

Source: New York Times Magazine

Sebastian Peris

Sebastian Peris

Canadian film buff, political junkie, comic book geek, and board game enthusiast.