Ed Norton Dumped From ‘Hulk’ Role

Well, this is enough to make a guy so mad that he swells up, turns green and starts smashing stuff.

After a round of failed negotiations, Fight Club star Edward Norton won’t be reprising his role as the Incredible Hulk for the upcoming epic comic-book adaptation The Avengers, which is slated to hit theaters in 2012. And to add insult to injury, Marvel Studios head of production Kevin Feige has released a statement declaring that Norton got the ax because he’s just not in the same league as the rest of the film’s cast:

“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 [Downey Jr., as Iron Man] Chris [Hemsworth, as Thor], Chris [Evans, as Captain America],  Sam [Jackson, as Nick Fury], Scarlett [Johansson, as Black Widow], and all of our talented casts.”

Norton played the role of the anger-fueled super hero in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, which took in a none-too-shabby $263 million worldwide.

Naturally, Norton’s rep is lashing out at Feige’s statement, calling it “purposefully misleading”:

“This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light,. Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of [Hulk alter-ego] Bruce Banner in The Avengers. He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at [Comic-Con] and make it the event of the convention. When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with [director] Joss Whedon to discuss the project.”

Unfortunately, according to the rep, after several productive meetings, Marvel gave Norton the ax, for “what seemed to us to be a financial decision.”

Marvel is currently searching for a new actor to fill the role. We can only imagine that Lou Ferrigno is currently hitting up the gym extra-hard to prove that he still has what it takes.

Who do you think would be a good replacement for Norton in The Avengers? Share your thoughts in the comments section.