Unpacking The Battle To Play Hulk

As it turns out, comic fans don't like the weekends when they get angry. And this weekend turned to be a very high tension one for fans of Marvel's the Hulk, as a public back-and-forth say actor Ed Norton officially taken off the upcoming all-star superhero movie "The Avengers."

CBR's Spinoff Online was on hand to follow the news as sparks started to fly Friday when Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige released a statement confirming Norton would not be back in the role of Bruce Banner saying, "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." Not to be outdone, Norton's agent Brian Swardstrom of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment called Fiege's words "offensive" and "a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light."

As the weekend progressed, fans spoke up on both sides of the fence both defending Marvel's choice and calling for Norton to return to the role. Meanwhile, the speculation mill got rolling on who could play Banner in the (supposedly) Joss Whedon-directed film with names from Adrien Brody to Joaquin Phoenix all getting a bit of love from about the web. Meanwhile, fans were left wondering at the least and upset at the strongest about how exactly the casting had come apart and who might be announced in the role come Comic-Con International later this month.

In a final moment of calm reminiscent of his own version of Banner's eventual control over his anger, Norton released a diplomatic and thankful statement today via Facebook saying, "I know this is disappointing to many people and that makes me sad. But I am very sincerely grateful to Marvel for extending the offer and even more so for giving me the chance to be a part of the Hulk's long and excellent history."

For Norton's full statement, check out Spinoff Online, and feel free to chime in on the uncharacteristically public back and forth while we keep our finger on the pulse of all the new surrounding Marvel's "Avengers" franchise.

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