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"We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in 'The Avengers,'" Feige told the site. "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."
The actors referred to in the statement include current Marvel stars Robert Downey Jr. ("Iron Man"), Chris Hemsworth ("Thor), Chris Evans ("Captain America: The First Avenger"), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson ("Iron Man 2's" Black Widow), who are expected to reprise their superhero roles in team-up film "The Avengers."
Norton played the role of Bruce Banner and his alter-ego, the Incredible Hulk, in 2008's "The Incredible Hulk," a reboot/follow-up to 2003's "The Hulk," which starred Eric Bana in the title role. Reports of a feud between the actor and the studio emerged along with the film, however, with Norton finally issuing a statement to Entertainment Weekly to address the rumors.
"Every good movie gets forged through collaboration, and different ideas among people who are all committed and respect the validity of each other's opinions is the heart of filmmaking," he told the mag in April 2008. "Regrettably, our healthy process, which is and should be a private matter, was misrepresented publicly as a 'dispute,' seized on by people looking for a good story, and has been distorted to such a degree that it risks distracting from the film itself."
With Marvel hosting panels at the San Diego Comic-Con International later this month, news on who will replace Norton – and perhaps further casting information – seems likely to emerge in the weeks to come.
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