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What’s With Marvel Alienating Actors?

If there’s one lesson that any actor who works with Marvel Studios should take from the recent Ed Norton/Avengers bust-up, it’s this: You do not want to mess with Marvel. But then again, why should we be surprised?

After all, Norton and Marvel had, reportedly, fallen out back before the 2008 Hulk was released over whose version of the final cut would end up being released, and the movie’s lack of success gave the studio the out it needed to be able to replace the actor (Interestingly enough, I’ve noticed some Marvel executives describe Marvel Studios’ history recently as Iron Man, then Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America, as if Hulk never existed; wishful thinking, especially when you consider that the character has been the source of two failed franchises in the last decade). The surprise, then, isn’t that Norton won’t be in Avengers, but that Marvel handled the whole thing so terribly.

Admittedly, that the rumor broke ahead of Marvel’s schedule – Presumably, they’d have rather announced the new Bruce Banner first, instead of having to admit that, no, it’s not going to be Ed Norton and we’ll get back to you later on who it will be – can’t be blamed on the House of Ideas, but the statement released in reaction is just stunning: In what world was insulting Norton out of the blue like that (The implication that he’s not “an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit” of other Marvel actors, nor one who “thrive[s] working as part of an ensemble” – Or, to translate, that he’s a difficult diva who only cares about himself) a good idea, especially as the first official comment from any of the involved parties? Norton’s own classy response, in which he thanked Marvel for the opportunity to “be part of the Hulk’s long and excellent history” and said that “Hulk is bigger than all of us,” just underlined the impression for many that Marvel president Kevin Feige – and, by extension, the studio as a whole – was, to be polite, acting like a bully.

Again, this shouldn’t come as a surprise: This is the studio that replaced Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle for Iron Man 2 and blamed the decision on concerns over Howard’s performance and behavior on set during the first movie – even though multiple sources confirmed that no-one had raised the issue to Howard or his reps earlier, as well as the studio that almost let Samuel L. Jackson walk away over contract negotiations at the start of last year.

Marvel Studios is almost impressively old-school when it comes to dealing with actors, it seems – It’s their way or the highway (Not just actors, of course; complicated contract negotiations may be the reason why we haven’t had official confirmation of Joss Whedon’s Avengers directorial position yet, and it’s been rumored that the studios’ writers aren’t necessarily well compensated for their efforts), and there’s definitely a way in which that should be applauded… But the studio also seems to be running the risk of thinking that actors and other talent is entirely interchangable, and that the most important ingredient is the Marvel brand and the characters – and anyone who’s seen Daredevil, The Fantastic Four or even X-Men: The Last Stand should be able to guess where that school of thought fails. Right now, of course, it’s not actually a problem for the studio – They’re still successful, they still have buzz and Hulk wasn’t enough of a flop to harsh anyone’s buzz really. But the day will come when contracts have to be renegotiated for the actors that can’t easily be replaced, and that’s when things will become interesting: Could Marvel really pull the same tactics they attempted with Norton on Robert Downey Jr. without it blowing up in their faces, for example? Would they be stupid enough to try?


  • Kinglee44

    Marvel is Disney. Disney exploits talent and underpays talent. Difference is.. they are much better with the PR. Feige creates PR problems.. he's no Stan Lee.. (Stan also exploits talent and underpaid talent.. but he is great at PR)

    Feige needs to go. They can do what they want to do better.

  • Josh

    I most definitely agree. No matter how difficult it might be, or how much you hurt your pride, sometimes you just need to suck it up and keep the right person. And Norton was the right person. He had enough passion and love for the property to stand his ground in the interest of making a better movie, and Marvel slapped him down, then kicked him in the grubjies for his efforts. And he took it all smiling and thanking them. Class. Absolute class. Shame on Marvel.

  • percane

    marvel only became disney this year. this pattern of behavior goes back to iron man 1.

    let's also not forget that not only was there the terrance howard controversy, but that immediately after jon favreau directing the second most profitable marvel film ever behind spider-man, they immediately tried to dick him out of directing iron man 2. they only kept him after they realized “oh shit, downey might walk too if we do that”

    not to mention that immediately after canning norton for being “difficult” the first rumor we hear is joaquin phoenix?

    feige is definitely a liability

  • Jackknight7633

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but since when does a movie that made over a quarter of a billion dollars worldwide qualify as any sort of flop at all? The Incredible Hulk was a good movie, not a great one, and made good money, but not great money. And I, for one, wish that they would have brought Norton back if only for continuity's sake. I think this article is right on point, though, in that Feige needs to take a step back and learn to value the talent more.

  • Comicsaredead

    Why does anyone care about Norton? He is not that great. He added nothing to the Banner character. He was no better than Bana. Not that either gave a poor performance, but Norton was no better as Banner. Why is Banner even needed in Avengers? Heck, why is Hulk even needed in Avengers? Because he was in a handful of issues back the sixties? When people think Avengers they don't think Hulk.

  • Mastadge

    If the concern is that they're alienating actors, yes, that's a problem. I don't know enough about what went on behind the scenes with Howard or Norton, how such decisions are usually made, or how the Studio is treating any of its growing ensemble to comment on that. Has there been any indication that they've tried to strong-arm Downey in any way?

    But I hope that concern for the actors is not being conflated with concern about different actors playing the same characters. Because I seriously doubt Downey, for instance, will want to be returning to do Iron Man cameos every 2 or 3 years for the rest of his life, assuming Marvel continues to grow their shared movie universe rather than just focusing exclusively on different corners of it for five or six years at a time and then moving on to a new group of heroes. If they're serious about letting this shared movie universe grow, the characters will be around longer and age slower than the actors, and part of the game will necessarily be our suspension of disbelief as new faces fill familiar roles.

  • Laura's Least Favorite

    Why should Marvel Studios behave any differently than Marvel Publishing? Marvel's attitude for decades has been that characters are what matter, not the creators. As long as Ed Brubaker (for example) is productive and profitable, it'll be “Ed Brubaker's THE writer for Captain America! Make sure you read his book!” The second Brubaker thinks he's more important than the character, though, he'll be out on his ass. It happened to dozens (hundreds?) of creators over the years. Chris Claremont built the X-Men franchise, and as soon as he gave Marvel an ultimatum, he was out. Why does anyone think Marvel Studios is going to suddenly value ANYONE more than their own intellectual property? They've proven time and again with comics that, online outcry aside, fans will follow certain properties regardless of the talent producing them. Until the movie-going audience votes otherwise with their dollar, the same thing'll happen on the film side of the equation.

  • Lgibson1117

    micheal clarke duncan. what's up with him?

  • Patrice

    Studio, actors, director, screenwriter, money, ego, me myself and I, artistic vision of a movie. Hollywood is the most happy joy joy place on earth.

  • Heathpetersen

    Like anything, it's a business. You can raise the issue of X-Men The last stand as a horrible film but it banked. People paid money to see it. We complain about the lack of creative vision, or throwing out a poor product but people still paid to see it. Everyone points at Batman and Robin as the worst superhero movie ever, or at least the one that crippled the comic movie industry for a decade, but it was set up by Batman Forever. Both done by Shulmacher. Know what the top grossing film of 1995 was? People saw it in droves, so why wouldn't execs give him the opportunity to do it again? If you're insistent on making the execs listen, don't give them your money. Don't buy their comics, don't go to their films. Otherwise, what do they care WHAT we say? We're the geek niche, and they're gonna make their money off us anyway.

  • Coryjameson

    Considering how much Disney paid for Marvel Comics, they're going to need obscene profit margins starting immediately to justify the purchase. I don't like Kevin Feige at all but his natural asshole-ness is being amplified by pressure from above(read: Disney).

    I predict several debacles are forthcoming from Disney/Marvel. Managers ALWAYS ruin everything and then do their best to blame someone else.

  • gnarlybole

    Ironic that Marvel is still known as 'the House of Ideas' considering that everything it has slated for movie release was created nearly fifty years ago. Maybe 'the House of Exploitation' would be more appropriate.

  • Raskal66

    Not to mention, Marvel makes a regular habit of alienating the readers with their Oliver Stone's “Wall Street” method of putting product on the rack. Arbitrary price increases in a bad recession, book cancellations, and various other screw jobs at the distribution level with retailer right to return always in jeopardy, and you have a pretty good clue as to how Marvel operates: Give us money……Sometimes we'll give you a good story or a good movie…. Look! There's Deadpool!

  • marvelprince

    Why does everyone keep talking about the Hulk like its some sort of massive flop? Not only did they make back what they spent, it was a number 1 movie with great reviews. It may not have made Iron Man money, but it was no Jonah Hex.

  • Guest

    Wow. This whole thread seems to be designed to stir up people.
    It is two instances, folks. And minor compared to what goes on in Hollywood. Believe it or not, comic books do NOT hold the world together, SDCC notwithstanding.

  • Runitdown

    Boy, there isn't a person on this page who understands a thing, is there?

  • Kirk

    Pretty sure they ditched Terrance Howard because he made more money than anyone else on the first movie, including the star, Robert Downey Jr, and would not concede to lower dollars for a bigger part in the sequel.

  • comic relief

    Graeme thanks so much for mentioning Howard. We certainly haven’t seen much of him since Ironman 1 and we should want him back too.
    I’m going to just come out with it, most comic’s fans were perfectly willing to except Marvel’s smear of Howard when they dumped him for Ironman 2. Unlike with Norton’s abuse; comic’s fans were quick to retort Howard must have done something wrong if the studio treated him so badly. But the irony was that it was Howard’s good behavior that green lighted the film in the first place.
    Downey Jr. (the drug addict) had no credibility, and Jon Favreau didn’t have block buster film credibility then either. And due to a lot of poor career decisions, people stopped expecting anything reliable out of Gwyneth Paltrow. So here comes Terrance Howard to make Marvel seem like it had something worth paying for. The payback as you eloquently illustrated seems fairly predictable at this point. Surprisingly, Howard didn’t nearly have the impact on the film narrative that Norton had.

  • Nakatomitim

    Ed Norton is a notorious diva that tries to worm his way into running every project he's in. I'm not saying Marvel is 100% in the clear here, but Norton is no saint.

  • Ghost

    Much like a new artist drawing a character slightly differently, or a new writer giving a character a new voice; Marvel understands that the characters are bigger than the actors. I am saying that Robert Downey Junior could walk from the role of Iron Man and the next actor could play Tony Stark without much of an issue. The James Bond franchise has already proven this. It is not the actor that makes the movie.

    The treatment of Ed Norton was reprehensible and I, for one, hope that Kevin Feige's head rolls for it (after all its the studio, not the president that makes the movie). Nonetheless, this studio has made three movies. Two that were good (IM2 and Hulk) and one that was excellent (Iron Man). Why don't we all calm down (hah! Calm Fanboys!) and let them make movies.

  • BradRz

    The film industry is not the comics industry; behavior that is acceptable in one is not so in the other, and they differ wildly in their treatment of talent. The Bond series aside, the American film market is still largely dependent on the star system, and directors, producers and companies can live or die on their ability to cultivate and maintain long-term creative relationships with the actors who can consistantly bring in the big box office returns. So far, the situation with Marvel is mainly based on rumor but, under ordinary circumstances, any studio that develops a reputation for being difficult with talent is going to be a studio in trouble (as an example, check out the history of Miramax and the fate of the Weinstein brothers.) Recasting the Hulk might not cause a big stir, but if they tried to pull the same thing with Downey's Iron Man, I don't think the mass audience would be so accepting of the idea of the “brand” being more important than the talent involved. If this is, in fact, the concept Marvel is working from, the next few years will be a litmus test as to whether mass (ie: non-fans) audiences will accept it and the constant recasting/reboots that will have to come with it.

  • Ghost

    Spider-Man was not a Marvel film.

  • Radiate

    But surely the whole Terrence Howard thing is a moot point now that he's actually mentioned talking with Marvel Studios about playing another character. Reportedly he was dropped from Iron Man 2 cos he had difficulties working with Favreau and Fav is pretty much one of Marvel Studio's biggest assets! So they got rid of Howard…but maybe offering him something else.

  • BradRz

    Also- above message wasn't meant to be a reply to marvelprince; just a general comment on the thread.

  • comic relief


    Let me let you in on a little secret; I’ve kept for a long time. I have never thought that much of Thor, and I’m almost praying that a live action portrayal of the character can clue me in on what may make him desirable as a super hero.

    Because otherwise, I just don’t see it. Yet clueless, I have agreed to wait. It’s possible that another interpretation of the character and Thor’s fans may convert me and may just make me a believer.

    So if you can’t distinguish why Norton’s performance was better than Bana’s, or if you can’t distinguish why the Norton’s take on the franchise was better than the Ang Lee’s equally failed attempt to build the Hulk a movie franchise. Than O.K. no one understands your lack of understanding better than I do.

  • Ghost

    Your staggering knowledge of Avengers history is showing. Where indeed was the Hulk in the Avengers franchise? Perhaps the reason the team got together should be dropped…I don't think so though. Also, to relate Norton and Bana's performances in any manner is ridiculous. Bana was a cardboard box.

  • redvector

    RDJ's performance in IM2 wasn't that great and don't get me started about JF's stupid, self-indulgent fight scene near the end of the film. If I could have fast forwarded through that scene, I would have.

  • Dan

    Well Marvel Studios is only Iron Man 1 and 2 so far. The Incredible Hulk was at Universal much like Spiderman is at Sony, FF at Fox and so on. I'm sure they would want to take credit for the movie if it was a bigger success (in the light of Iron Man that same summer).

  • percane

    that's splitting hairs. it was not a “marvel studios” film, but it was most certainly based on a marvel property. excluding spider-man only strengthens my point anyway

  • Fudwestbrook

    @Raskal66 and Laura's Least Favorite

    As much as I would love to join you in the Marvel bashing, their competition DC has as many problems pleasing it’s fans as Marvel has respecting the creative talent that support’s their character properties.

    Despite a huge minority fan base DC continues to tell this hoard that they do not need characters of color in the DC universe. I don’t want to mention all of the characters of color that are either missing in action or recently killed by the company but they just don’t believe the subject matters. Just as soon as fans got used to Blue Beetle and Static in the Teen Titans; DC cuts the characters despite again a huge and growing fan base in and outside of comics.

    And oddly I don’t know whether waiting for the comics industry to mature will make any difference.

  • comic relief

    Amen, Kirk.

  • Emeraldwarrior420

    Good for Marvel! Hollywood has gotten so wrapped up in their own hype of celebrityism, glitz & glamor, and divas that it's gotten out of hand. People have forgotten that the actors work for the studios, not the other way around. Studios should have the last word, not an actor. After all it's their money, and it's their movie. And if an actor gets all huffy and diva-like and walks out, Marvel can always hire another actor. There's 1000s of them out there that are hungry for work and talented.

    Now, that's not to say Edward Norton did anything rude or wrong. I'm not aiming this directly at him, but at Hollywood in general.

  • Kevin Barry

    I'm not trying to defend Marvel, but I certainly won't miss Norton. I don't think he brought much more than his reputation to the movie. He was fine, don't get me wrong, but I don't think he really elevated the project. I remember walking out of the moving feeling pretty unenthusiastic about it and Norton.

    That said, the way Marvel has handled replacing him has been nothing short of embarrassing.

  • PresumptuousMuch

    Aside from Feige's unprofessional comment, I'd say you're just perpetuating the same smokescreen the actors are pushing….that it's all Marvel's fault. Yet you are dealing with exactly two actors. Terrence Howard and Ed Norton. It's not like someone did this to Tom Hanks. Let's not forget that they are actors who can very easily run to the public and ACT wounded. We don't know what went on behind the scenes. The studios may have actually been HOLDING BACK the dirty details of things that would've implicated the actors in a worse way. It's hard to sit here and criticize the studio with only half the facts. Yes, Hollywood and film studios aren't the greatest places, but actors are no angels either.

    The Hollywood system has been very kind to actors in the last 20 years comparable to how badly they were treated in the early days. And there are a large amount of tyrant personalities among actors today so let's not all act like the big bad studio is treating the kindly nice actors unless we have access to the negotiations and meetings.

  • demoncat_4

    Given Marvel history of late with actors they start out with and then replace like Terrance and now Ed. would and the only reason like with Sam they wound up relizing that letting sam go as nick fury would not work since he made the role his. Marvel seems to be practicing the old our way or high way. thing as habbit with actors becoming like the other movie studios . and no doubt they will try it with Robert only to blink at the end. or risk their films start bombing. something Marvel can not have many times.

  • axonrey

    I dig it. I've been thinking this myself. If they intend to sustain an expanded universe, replacing actors will be inevitable. Might as well get use to it now. But, so far, it seems James Bond has been the only sustainable property to reguarly recast with success, even though TV does it often, with good results (See ER).

  • Sw00shman

    Huge misstep by Marvel for sure. Don Cheadle is a great actor, but I'd rather have seen Terrance Howard reprise his role in Iron Man. Norton is equally a great actor. Marvel needs to have a collaborative relationship with these high profile actors. And not sound like dicks when they decide not to.

  • axonrey

    I thought that the Incredible Hulk was a good movie- and if it had any failing, it was not creating a big enough seperation between itself and Ang Lee's Hulk. Some people still think that it was a sequel and not a reboot, and the structure of the film (purposely?) led them to believe this. The fact about Bruce Banner is that he shares half his screen time, or more, with a CGI monster, so the room for character development is somewhat limited, and Bruce Banner doesn't have the charisma of Tony Stark, so establishing who he is is a much more sublte process. I point all this out only to say that, by no fault of Ed Norton, Bruce Banner as portrayed in the film is 100% replacable. There was nothing brought to that character that could not be brought by any other actor of an acceptable talent level. Again, I stress, this is not necessarily on Ed Norton, but by virtue of the circumstances, he is more replacable than someone like Robert Downey (no one is irreplaceable), so if Marvel has other factors to consider, such as finances, creative control, or longevity of their respective projects, people who don't fall in line are going to get sent packing. And it isn't just Hollywood, it's business. The Hollywood part is where the employee says fuck it, instead of falling in line.

  • Mr. M

    “and anyone who’s seen Daredevil, The Fantastic Four or even X-Men: The Last Stand should be able to guess where that school of thought fails.”

    I saw Daredevil: The Director's Cut DVD, and I think it's pretty good.

  • Mwedmer

    There is no “I” in TEAM.
    That is basically what the MARVEL statement is saying. If you look back on the controvercy surrounding IH you will see that there was a lot of word of Norton re-writing the script and editing scenes and other things.
    MARVEL was probably just trying to stop something they feared would happen on their biggest project before it had a chance too.

    As far as how they are dealing with Talent, Its not surprising. They are a Publishing Company who is now in the Movie business. It doesn't matter who the face of the Movie end is, its the publishers who have final say along With DISNEY.

    The reason Hulk is Important, is because he is a founding member of the Avengers. It wouldn't do well with the fans if MARVEL was guilty of changing their own historical background for a film that they had 100% control over.

  • Mwedmer

    Yeah Incredible Hulk was a solid movie with a bunch of foreshadowing in it.
    The reason people think it is a flop is because of the box office.
    but lets be honest and completely realistic here. If it was all about Box office dollars to decide the quality of a film or franchise, then the Twighlight films would all be considered Masterpieces.

    Think about that one for a second.

  • Matt

    No, Universal was the distributor but The Incredible Hulk was produced through Marvel Studios.

  • Invasionforce

    Give me a break! Any actor can be replaced, and if a franchise is successful, will have to be replaced as he/she ages out of a role. There will always be more good actors than good roles. Hollywood has many fine actors, fewer good directors and even fewer good writers. I haven't heard of Marvel manhandling any directors, and doubt that they will. If they are smart, they'll treat good writers well, too. It is rediculous to kow tow to actors when the characters are the stars, and Marvel owns the characters, i.e. the intellectual property.

  • CapnBludd

    Funny how they are hiding Static by putting him in his own book, and Blue Beetle is being hidden so well that they were doing SFX tests for a new tv series, several appearances on Batman:TB&TB, as well as him being in the JLI mini series that is going on

  • Invasionforce

    Tom Cruise was once rumored to be in the running to play Tony Stark. Thank Odin that didn't happen, because Cruise would have been much more costly than Robert Downey, and would have sucked up a lot of resources that ended up being spent to make a better film. Marvel is wise not to play the Hollywood star game.

  • Invasionforce

    All of the writers on the X-Books, from Fraction to Carey to Wells are better writers than Claremont. Marvel, in the long run, has done a good job in protecting their brands.

  • Invasionforce

    I think Marvel made “Ghost Rider,” too, which was a considerable success.

  • Lucky967

    Again, Norton is known for being a bit of a diva and a control freak, there are many times that he has tried to get Final Cut for the movies he stars in (read about the produciton of American History X for an example). He tried to force Marvel to release his cut of The Incredible Hulk, which really isn't what an actor should do.
    Marvel Studios could have been a little more classy in their handling of the situation, but frankly, It doesn't surprise me that they went this way.

  • comic relief

    Oh, I heard about all those other gigs, and I want both characters to be extremely successful in each. Static is one of the few heroes who was a bigger hit out of comics than he was within comics. He isn’t just a token African-American character he’s a character that already earned his pop cultural credibility. Given that there are few to no high profile Latino superheroes, I'm hoping Blue Beetle out performs Static in terms of fame and popularity. I’m proud of his “Brave and the Bold” cartoon appearances as well. Given the fact that he’s still a fairly young character those appearances make him appearance to have some longevity.

    But I still believe given their potential fame and notoriety could reinforce the Teen Titans book and guarantee book an even wider audience outside comics. Many of us waited long time for Static to join the Teen Titans and I still believe his tenure was too short.

  • Philipe

    I'm just really, really worried about the Thor movie ever since I saw the first images from it. Anthony Hopkins' Odin is looking sort of “cheap” and I also didn't like Loki's look. It's looking like a B-movie from the 80's.

    The fact that Natalie Portman, who's very picky about her roles and usually makes good choices, is in it makes me think that I might be wrong. And oh boy, I really hope I am cause I like Thor.

  • Jimp

    I've never really been a fan of the Hulk. I always thought his inclusion in the Avengers was just some way to eventually give the Avengers another super-powered problem that “no one hero can defeat”. If they were an elite, super-hero team, they would never have allowed unpredictable monsters like that. Besides, Banner's whole inner conflict with his temper and personal demons is really tiring to read about. When he Hulks up, he's a pretty unstoppable, one-dimensional, rampaging monster, and this diminishes interest for or tension of the reading experience given the fact that he is just way too powerful.

  • Alex Dragon

    People are trying to paint Marvel as bad guys but it's totally possible that Norton was too much of a pain to bring back. With all the money, time and effort it takes to make these movies and with so much riding on them why would any company want to work with an actor that's being a problem? The Hulk is the main draw and there really isn't a need to bring back an actor they don't want to deal with if they don't have to. If he were to be part of the AVENGERS movie you really don't want an actor who's being difficult because it can lead to the other actors starting to act the same way. If one actor starts making demands and getting his way, what's to stop the others from doing the same?

    There's no talk of another solo HULK movie and the AVENGERS movie will have plenty of star power. There's no need for Marvel to put up with Norton if he truly was hard to deal with because he really isn't that important to the mix.

  • darthtigris

    The most invaluable people are the creative forces behind the movie. While actors can bring a character to life, these characters ARE bigger than any actor (Ed Norton himself even said it). That's the difference between THESE movies and most is that the characters are already well established and the studio knows the characters BETTER than the actors.

    Personally I appreciate the humility that Chris Evans has displayed on playing Cap. Not saying that will translate to a great performance, but he seems to get it.

    And as tolerable as TIH was, it was a disappointment for me. I don't see what Norton brought that was so great, as the story and writing still missed a number of the entertainment possibilities that the Hulk is capable of as has been demonstrated by a number of very talented comic writers.

  • Cooperjason94

    Ed Norton is no big loss. And he's no Robert Downey and doesnt strike me as a team player he always comes off as a bit of a jerk. And i think DareDevil,F.F and XMLS all did better than that Hulk movie. The problem with the Hulk is people want to see the Hulk not a vidgame character. Bruce Banner by himself is not making that movie.

  • Frenchfr

    you are so sad, show where or when, Norton has a rep that is exactly the opposite to what you are putting up there, and an actor who does a great job at everythng he does…

  • frenchfry

    but that is where you are wrong, Ed Norton did not running to the public wounded, but thanking the chance to be part of the Hulk's history…no one is an angel, at least not yet, but he seems to be doing a pretty good job of being a much better, and upstanding person than those who speak for Marvel!

  • Ozymandas

    I can see if sometimes they have to go with a different actor due to budget concerns or whatever, but the studio really should have more professional folks putting out these statements.

  • Bambam76

    Marvel's 'our way of the highway' attitude is completely baffling. Would it be so bad for M studio and actors to work together for the greater good of a movie? Woulnd't they both 'win' along with the fans because they'll have produced a stellar product? It's too bad Marvel's being a jerk.

  • Joe14

    Part of the reason Marvel Studios was formed because of the mishandling of their characters in the past with Daredevil being a prime example. It was their creative conviction that led them to this.

    However, Marvel has never been a class act. A creative force of nature, yes. But Marvel as a culture has a huge ego and rubs their success in other people's faces.

    From Joe Q and Axel Alonso trash talking DC, to dropping creators who are vocal and then badmouthing them, all the way to their mudslinging and finger pointing of studios and actors who don't fall in line. (It's tough to pinpoint blame. Sometimes, the actors ask for too much. Sometimes the studios are at fault. But there are classier ways to handle these things)

    I like their books but as an organization, Marvel has never been a “gentleman.”

    They are brash and have conviction, which works well for creativity but expectedly ruffles feathers here and there. So, I'm not surprised they are acting like this. However, there are ways of keeping your conviction and being more diplomatic about it.

    DC has been more diplomatic, but probably because WB is a greater influence on them. But the results are the same good movies, Decent Movies and bad movies. (Good meaning the recent Batman movies, decent being Watchmen and Losers, bad meaning Catwoman, Jonah Hex and Superman Returns.)

    I think it was a mistake not to iron things out with Ed Norton, but worse that they aired out their dirty laundry. And it was a good thing they salvaged the Sam Jackson deal.

  • Ragudad

    1. Banner was ALREADY recast with Norton. I see no porblem recasting him again. Norton did a good job, but nothing the challenged him. It was a marginal role that is suitable for many cheaper actors.
    2. While filming Hulk Norton was a pain in the ass. Then following production he refused to do the press circuit promoting the film. This is a huge undertaking, drawing 3-4 seperate franchises together. Who can blame Marvel for wanting to minimize their own hassle, particularly for a role that will porbably have minimal screen time.
    3. I'm tired of hearing people complain about the Terrence Howard situation. Terrance Howard was NEVER who I pictured playing Rhodey, and Don Chedle can act circles around him. I have no hard feelings about Marvel recasting a role they HORRIBLY miscast in the first place.
    4. Are any of you REALLY not going to see Avengers becasue they recast Norton? I didn't think so, so get over it.

  • Richjb77

    alientaing actors?? Who cares??
    Is anybody actually not going to see Avengers because Norton isn't in it??
    Did people pass on Iron Man 2 because Howard wasn't involved??
    The characters sell themselves…

  • BrotherUnitno_4

    Marvel didn't make Ghost Rider. That's why there's been talk of the rights reverting back to Marvel if production doesn't start on that film this fall.

  • BrotherUnitNo_4

    Sam didn't make the role his. It was made for him ever since Hitch drew the Ultimates.

  • BrotherUnitNo_4

    Thank you. People keep acting like Norton brought so much to the film, but really that wasn't the case. I mean in a movie with 5 or 6 other superheroes including the Hulk, do people really believe Norton will have that big of an impact on the Avengers film? Unlikely.

  • drewski

    Hard to say, if it is with only Norton and Howard, so what. Don Cheadle is better and actually more like what Rhodey should have been. Sorry but Terence Howard wasn't the right choice for Rhodey in IM 1. And since this was Hulk 2 after Eric Bana did the part already, much like the Batman movies of the 1990's had 3 actors, a third choice who may not be so full of himself might work. Alienation only comes in money and if they have problems with development of character. If they are smart and thoughtful enough, Marvel Studios will simply learn from any errors and do better next time.

  • BrotherUnitNo_4

    Sure they put Static in his own book, but they give him the same writer that's been pushing readers away from the Titans book.

  • Wayne Ligon

    Did everyone just up and /forget/ what a tool Norton was when initially asked about The Avengers and such, hemming and hawing as if because of his one big-blockbuster movie he was suddenly too good to be Banner in future endeavors. His own waffling demeanor over the whole thing caused most of us to write him off in the role over a year ago. Face it: Norton's a good actor but he hasn't exactly set the world on fire since his debut and he should be damn grateful and glad to get an iconic role like Banner. He should have been first in the line for an Avengers pic.

    I'm GLAD to see Marvel not letting the actors run the show. We're primarily coming to see the characters we like brought to life. We like and want good actors in those roles, but at the end of the day, we're not coming to see them. Tobey Maguire found that out, didn't he? He was a good Peter Parker and Spider-Man, but he forgot that there are a couple hundred equally good young actors that can slip into that role and he won't be missed. As far as I'm aware, Will Smith is the ONLY actor in Hollywood who can guarantee a draw at the box office anymore. People are slowing dropping out of going to a film to see Actor X, but they will go to see Character X.

  • Stephen

    Perhaps because marvel hasn't had a good original concepts since Wolverine.

  • Enesm10585

    I totally agree. The last thing Marvel needs is the actors coming in and hampering the process. It didn't sound like Norton was a team player before and what's to make anyone think it's not going to be more of the same with the AVENGERS movie? With so many high profile actors in that movie the last thing they need is someone with an unagreeable ego causing problems and slowing things down.

    I know it's fun to blame Marvel the big bad company for being evil and not bringing the actor back and upsetting fans but in some cases it all might be the actor's fault. I don't think the press release from Marvel was bad if what it said was actually true. If it was true what's wrong with just coming out and saying Norton wasn't a team player and was hard to work with? I'm sure the insiders in Hollywood are already well aware of it if it's true. If everyone just pussyfoots around it and act like everything's just lovely, Norton and other actors who pull the same antics will never change.

    The only effect Marvel and the AVENGERS movie will gain from this move is a smoother production of the movie. As long as there is a HULK in this movie (played by someone else) they don't have much to worry about.

  • nickmarino

    i don't necessarily think Marvel is acting any different than other film studios in this regard. the process is just more obvious with them because everyone is waiting with baited breath to find out their casting decisions. not to mention that filmmaking in general has become much more transparent with the rise of Internet gossip/rumor/news sites. i think we're just seeing the general casting and production practices of Hollywood as they've been operating for decades. hell, TV One has been advertising this “how did the 1st Aunt Viv from Fresh Prince get fired” expose thing like crazy. and this Marvel stuff is just the same sort of business.

  • Truth Master

    Superman Returns was a great movie!

  • d.

    What's with Graeme McMillan alienating logic?

  • meh

    “Could Marvel really pull the same tactics they attempted with Norton on Robert Downey Jr. without it blowing up in their faces, for example? Would they be stupid enough to try?”

    Can we get Michael Keaton's take on this?

  • Jeffmc2000

    Stan never exploited anyone. He never owned Marvel Comics, he was an employee like everyone else.

  • Jeffmc2000

    They do have Deadpool and Runaways movies in development.

  • Www Kim2

    I totally agree!Wat's up wiv dat.

  • Andrea Moss

    “But the studio also seems to be running the risk of thinking that actors and other talent is entirely interchangable, and that the most important ingredient is the Marvel brand and the characters”

    Fuckingly true, dude! Listen, these people thinks they have found a gold mine with all these movie adaptions, but consider that: just in 2011 are due to release SIX movies based in a comic franchise, each one have a budget between 100-150,000,000 $, (Cowboys & Aliens, X-Men: First Class, Captain America, Thor, Green Hornet, Green Lantern)…

    IT'S A MADNESS! If one or two of these movies is a box office bomb maybe this means the end of the genre, (remember the westerns?)…

  • Andrea Moss

    “Stan never exploited anyone.”

    Perhaps Jack Kirby doesn't agree with you.

  • David

    Man, I predict massive fires in Marvel if they don't make huge ammounts of money in the near future. Disney don't joke.

  • comic relief

    LOL. Then, I guess we'll have to cross our fingers. Strangely he never seems to get the quality of presentation in comics that he received in Hollywood or on TV. Thanks for the fine research.

  • BradRz

    “”But the studio also seems to be running the risk of thinking that actors and other talent is entirely interchangable, and that the most important ingredient is the Marvel brand and the characters”

    Fuckingly true, dude!”

    Possibly true, at least if Marvel is lucky. The big litmus test would be whether audiences would accept someone other than Jackman as Wolverine, for example, or Downey as Iron Man, in the jump from one film to another without the long fallow period that other successful recastings (the new Star Trek for example) have had. Also, as I said, Bond (and Batman), are anomalies, at least so far. The upcoming Spider-man reboot will be a major indicator, coming right on the heels of what was still an incredibly successful and popular series (and, despite fan reaction, Spider-man 3 was still a HUGE box office success, both domestically and globally.)

    Anyway, I was just stating that the way the mainstream comics industry works is not the way the film industry works, at all. The organization, the relationship of company to talent, the entire power dynamic within those relationships, is so radically different that there's little comparison. There's no implied value judgement there; it's just the way it is, and it impacts every facet of how business is done, in ways that go far beyond what audiences know or care about, but have to do with an entirely different business culture/ecology. To draw literal comparisons from one to the other (say, Brubaker at Marvel) is moot.

  • brett1368

    The comment… “Anyone who has seen Daredevil, Fantastic Four or even X-Men: Last Stand should be able to guess where that school of thought falls.” Is good, but fails to mention all the Punisher films, Ghost Rider & Elektra.

    So, you don't have to be blind to see the obvious:

    Marvel doesn't know film.
    Ed Norton does.

    Maybe Ed Norton saw Daredevil, FF, Ghost Rider, Punisher, Elektra and Last Stand and that's why he had a more 'hands on' approach. Maybe Norton read the script and saw it as the train wreck nearly every other Marvel movie has been.

    People say Norton behaved like a diva? Maybe Marvel was the diva and they didn't want to be told that what they had on their hands was crap like all their other movies.

    BTW, Marvel alienating actors would be no different than the readers they alienate on a monthly basis.

  • ChadT

    I think I'm more annoyed with the fact that Marvel almost wants to be a step or two behind DC. I mean, Feigle is obviously a pussy and a coward, yeah I don't know the whole details about the Norton thing but how many times do you think this sort of thing has happened in movies? Does Feigle even want to be succesful or do you think he's pulling a Kanye West move and being an idiot to get attention? Bah, I found some more good venting a few sites:

  • Hysan

    Yes, because no movie has ever fired an actor for being difficult or making demands that a studio is simply not willing to entertain. That only happens in comic book movies.

    Or, put it another way – they're both good actors, but are the completely irreplaceable? No. They aren't. And so it goes.

  • Blueiridescence70

    I only went to see Hulk because I think Ed Norton is so talented and every time his characters appear so much smarter than if they casted some other bulked up puppet. too bad

  • Basketball45231

    There is a huge difference between a movie that was simply a Marvel character (Spiderman, X-Men 3, Ghost Rider) and the new movies Marvel is actually making. Before they had no say on what happened. Now they do.

    And Norton as Hulk is still only a small part of the character. In an Avengers movie you wouldnt see him much anyways, you would see Hulk a lot. Its a minor role in the movie, and Norton wouldve been on screen less than the rest of the heroes anyways.

  • Spleeny

    According to Box Office Mojo, the #1 movie of 1995 was Toy Story. Batman Forever was less than $8 million behind it, though, so the point stands.

  • Spleeny

    The term “flop” is directly related to box office. Say what you will about the Twilight movies, but they're massive hits. Incredible Hulk didn't earn its production budget back domestically, so of course it can be looked at as a flop, regardless of quality.

  • Jeffmc2000

    Stan was exploited as much as anyone. He doesn't share ownership of anything he co-created either. Kirby resented Stan for hogging credit, not for making money off his hard work. In his later years Stan was able to arrange a sweet deal for himself thanks to a loophole in his contract, but before that, outside of his yearly stipend as Marvel's head cheerleader he was making jack squat off everything he co-created, same as Kirby, Ditko and the rest.

  • Comicsaredead

    Bana wasn't that great, but Norton was no better. He reminded me nothing of the comics. His look was better than Bana's cause he was skinnier, but his performance was some sort of parody of Bill Bixby. He did not feel like an intelligent scientist, just an actor filling a void.

  • Comicsaredead

    Yes, yes and your sarcasm is flabbergasting… as if the plot of the film is going to stick to the original plot of the comic books… I don't think so. There was plenty of emotion in Bana's performce, he just doesn't have the Banner look. Norton looks better cause he's skinnier. Norton is one of those prissy thespians. Let him go make another sophisticated art film. Let's see if they give him a writing credit.

  • Comicsaredead

    I agree. I am a bigger fan of PAD's smart Hulk than any other incarnation.

  • comic relief


    Okay, so you have a rationale for disliking Norton’s work. Cool, though you were not specific before I assumed you had some reasons. I’m glad to hear your real argument. And I am sure others want to thank you for being so candid also.

    If we ignore the non-creative and redundant narrative you thought Norton, at best, did a caricature of the late Bill Bixby’s acting work. You thought his acting and directorial logic made Norton an impressionist and not a serious thespian. Brother, I think (acting wise) that’s a pretty serious charge and an equally negative insult. Unlike many, you think these decisions (on Norton’s part) make it clear that Norton’s gifts aren’t nearly as fine as everyone thinks.

    You obviously don’t think Norton’s claim that the Hulk TV show really provided the building blocks for appreciating this character in a live action dramatic depiction. In this way you are not just speaking as a historian but a comics scholar as well. You saw his effort or mimicry as being lazy, trite, and unoriginal. You’re saying good riddance Norton, because after the character’s 30 plus run in comics, the Hulk deserves a lot better acting effort than that.

    I don’t share your sentiment, because I found watching Ang Lee’s version hard to watch more than once. Though I don’t believe this made it a great depiction; I found Norton’s version easier to digest a second time. I’m being lazy but I think any positive projection of super hero characters is a must. Forgive me I'm so tired of seeing bad depictions, I'm happy if live action doesn't destroy a character entirely (a la Jonah Hex, even though I believe Marvel has a much worse track record).

    Despite our differences, I think what you are doing is exactly what this site and the comics community needs. We need real discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of different acting approaches. I’m tired of hearing that actors are spoiled, rich divas that thrive on attention at the risk of hurting characters we love. When in fact actors professionally have as much to loose as any writer, artist, colorist, etc. who attempts to depict fictional characters whom millions already love. Bad work hurts characters and comics’ fans have the right to be glad that when we haven’t seen Ben Affleck in too many starring roles since he participated in making Daredevil look bad.

    Comicsaredead, with your honesty, you do us all a great favor. What we do agree on is like you I’m still waiting for the Hulk we know from comics not the inarticulate Hulk of the Bixby/Ferrigno TV era. I have great respect for your insight. Again thanks and keep posting.

  • SullyE

    After reading this, Graeme, it feels quite a bit like you're intentionally ignoring some things in an effort to make your point, which is pretty disappointing and kinda dishonest.

    It should be noted that the reason Howard was let go had a lot to do with his contract getting him more than everyone else in the movie, and Marvel came back with a new contract, and Howard/his reps refused, so Marvel decided to replace him.

    Plus, there were a ton of rumblings about Norton not getting along well with others and demanding rewrites and things before The Incredible Hulk even came out, which is probably the reason he's not coming back as the Hulk.

  • SullyE

    Ang Lee's version is hard to watch, and that has a lot do with gamma-poodles, as well as Bana's gratingly bad performance. Norton did a great job playing the “puny Banner” we should have seen, though I disagree with this statement that comicsaredead made: “He did not feel like an intelligent scientist, just an actor filling a void.”

    Having been raised by an intelligent, world-renowned scientist (in his field, anyway), I can honestly say that Norton acted quite a bit like an intelligent scientist. That said, he wasn't given much chance to–this had quite a bit to do with the fact that the script never really allowed him to be sciency, and spent most of its time with him being on the run. It's difficult to do science on the run.

    “Bad work hurts characters and comics’ fans have the right to be glad that when we haven’t seen Ben Affleck in too many starring roles since he participated in making Daredevil look bad.”

    Director's cut of the film totally made it worth watching. I wouldn't watch it again, but I liked it enough to encourage people who haven't seen it to watch it. Affleck's performance actually makes more sense in that regard.

    “(a la Jonah Hex, even though I believe Marvel has a much worse track record).”

    Marvel has made a grand total of four films. Iron Man (which allegedly had no script), Iron Man 2 (which was great, but didn't really add anything), Punisher: War Zone (godawful script and the villains were ridiculous actors, but Stevenson, Knight, and the direction were amazing), and Incredible Hulk, which was an enjoyable film. The X-Men, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and earlier Hulk films were all made by independent parties with very little support from Marvel and their shortcomings really can't be blamed on the publisher.

  • SullyE

    …noooo… Norton does kind of have a rep as being a bit of a diva. He's one of the best actors out there, but he is kind of known for wanting to control the projects he's in. There were a lot of rumors he was going to be fired while they were MAKING The Incredible Hulk because of his behavior.

  • SullyE

    Universal distributed Incredible Hulk, but they didn't film it. Marvel Studios did that. They also did Punisher: War Zone.

  • SullyE

    Marvel didn't make ANY of those films.


    They didn't script them, didn't cast them, didn't direct them, nothing. Marvel has made four and only four films: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Punisher: War Zone, and The Incredible Hulk.

    Not only that, but Marvel Studios was FORMED because of Daredevil, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Elektra, Ghost Rider, and so forth. They wanted to make good movies. War Zone apparently wasn't totally them either.

    So your theory that Marvel was a diva and didn't want to be told that their other movies were crap (War Zone, their crappy movie, wasn't even finished when Hulk began shooting, and was released at the worst period of the year for releasing movies) is totally false.

    Also, talking about alienating readers is a good indicator you're either a DC fanboy, or just someone who really hates Marvel: the reason they've maintained dominance as the biggest comics publisher in the United States is largely because they DON'T alienate readers.

  • Monel

    The Italian Job.

  • monel

    Google or Wikipedia the history of Norton's work on it.

    Having said that, Marvel shouldn't have released that statement, and I would have liked to have seen him back. Norton's reported contributions to the Hulk script made it a much better movie.

  • Jaimes

    I'm an unabashed Norton fan, so I'll openly admit to bias right at the start … but what gets me about the whole 2008 debacle of The Hulk was that Marvel resisted Norton's (as well as Leterrier's) attempts to make it a better film, and THEN had the gall to blame him for the movie not being a success. I mean – what the?

  • SullyE

    He was trying to get them to release his cut, and was kind of being a bitch about it, by all reports. That's why there was talk of him being fired before the movie was made. He kept trying to take it over. Also, the movie was a success. It made $170 million (total box office of over 320 million) in theatres alone.

  • SullyE

    Since I can't edit, and I'd forgotten a detail, replying to myself:

    It was reported that Favreau had difficulties with Howard, and kept re-cutting his scenes, but Marvel apparently never commented on the situation. So it's not like they were the ones out there blaming Howard for that. Howard's reps said he didn't have a problem, and that's entirely possible. I've worked with people before and I'd never work with them again, but they'd never know I had a problem with them because I was so nice about asking them to do better.

    Yet another frustrating mistake with the article.

  • Godwell

    I totally agree, Josh. Norton was Banner to me and I am totally disappointed in a company that is a major part of my childhood (to adulthood) behaving like dicks.

  • Jacksprat

    Terence Howard's dismissal bothered me more than Ed Norton Jr. I mean.. Hulk was already ruined. They already decided to re-do the CGI, cast a new actor, sort of acknowledge yet disavow the first film, etc…. And THEN do this quasi-reboot just a few years after the first “failed” attempt. Give me a break, what more can they do to ruin any continuity for the character?

    No, I was bothered by Howard's dismissal. War Machine isn't exactly a big character in non-comic book world, and it would have helped audiences relate to the first film if they recognized the character better. I also thought that as great an actor as Don Cheadle is — Howard just looks more like the Rhodes I remember from the comics. A buff military dude.

  • Markus

    Marvel brags about movie continuity but just couldn't claim casting consistency. Too sad. They've been firing awesome actors!

  • Comicsaredead

    But because it was not a “Marvel Studios” film means that it was not the same people running the show. Sony was and is, not Marvel. It's not splitting hairs. It's two different groups in charge.

  • Comicsaredead

    Norton is a prententious ego maniac. He deserved writing credit on Hulk about as much as I did. Class act? Give me a break.

  • BrotherUnitNo_4

    Marvel didn't make Punisher War Zone.

  • Holden21361

    Let me start by saying, I respect your opinion and am not trying to change it. I may not share your views, but it is refreshing to hear someone who has an opinion different than mine.

    That said, I have to disagree with your depiction of Norton's Banner. I thought that he brought a quirky awkwardness to the character that was missing from Eric Bana's attempt (though I think Bana is a great actor). There is passion in Norton's portrayal of the character that is both Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster. And, I liked the evolution of the character through the movie, from his struggle to suppress the monster and cure himself at the beginning of the film to his acceptance and desire to control him at the end. This does keep in tone with Bruce Jones' run on the title.

    As with the changing of writer/artist teams on a given title, the movie's representation of these characters is how the writer, director, actor, and producers see said character. Though it may seem cut-and-dry how a character would or wouldn't act, it is filtered through the perceptions of the creative team that is bring the project to the screen. So far, the popular perception is that the Hulk is a carnal, primitive force of nature. While I don't really dig the 'Intellectual Hulk', I would love to see a creative compromise: a smarter Hulk who becomes more savage and less intelligent as he becomes more angry.

    Just of the sake of asking, who do you think would make a good Hulk? I am interested in your perspective, considering you were not impressed with either Bana or Norton.

  • FredII

    Norton isn't Robert Downey Jr. and neither was Terrance Howard. And that's the point. Some actors are real divas, and sometimes their agents are. To the studio, it doesn't matter who is giving them flack, it's the flack they don't want to deal with.

    X-Men, Fantastic Four, these were made outside of Marvel, and I think that's the second point. Marvel has let it's brand be dilutted by Hollywood in the past, and now that it has control, it intends to be the one in control. Much like Lucas and Disney keeps a tight reign on their lucrative properties, so does Marvel (explaining why the Disney Merger has been such moonbeams and unicorns from reports).

    Really, the Marvel Francise is what is important. Maintaining what it is that makes these characters popular is what is important, and if an actor or director doesn't realize that, and wants to go in a “new” direction, it is Marvel's responsibility to cut them off at the knees.

    Marvel's response was bad, but every studio makes mistakes, one assumes it won't happen again. But at the core, the idea that the Hulk, and the way the Hulk story is told, is more important than what actor plays banner is true. Banna and Norton did the role well, but Banner is really the second fiddle to the story of the Hulk, and not realizing that fact is probably the mistake that both actors made.

  • comic relief


    If you noticed I only congratulated Comicsaredead for expressing his point of view; which was much more defined the second time than in his initial post. I actually preferred the Norton version, (which I said) yet I do try to be patient.

    Today I am not a big fan of the Carmine Infantino/Adam West era Batman. I loved it as a kid because nothing else existed. When I look back at that time period, I am more inclined to admit I enjoy the Neal Adams comic’s version. Though Infantino, as an artist is still pretty spectacular. I hope you can tell my review is greatly focused on the dramatic portrayal of the character not the comic’s presentation in that same time period. In fact I consider the current “Brave and the Bold” cartoon series’ depiction of Batman obsessed with that period. I can’t even watch though I did see part of a show once.

    Today I admit I appreciate the Frank Miller/Kenneth Nolan/Christian Bale era Batman. In other words I can tolerate the Bixby/Ferrigno/Norton Hulk until a better version eventually appears. Unfortunately we have not seen it yet; maybe the Avengers movie will help this along. Yet I agree with Greame, Norton’s treatment by Feige was disrespectful and disgusting.

    Thank you for correcting me. I never saw the Mark Steven Johnson’s Directors cut of Daredevil even though I thought performances by Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, and Michael Clarke Duncan were exceptional. I will regretfully retract the statement that Affleck should carry all of the weight for that Daredevil depiction. I am sorry. I hope you are happy.

    I will respond to what you said next in my next post.

  • comic relief


    You are entirely correct. I should give credit where credit is due. Marvel was purely distributing their properties with so many of the comic book depictions we have seen in the last ten years. They were not the directorial or acting authors in any respect. Still I hold them responsible for the shoddy way they control and distribute their properties. You may believe Marvel is helpless in this regard.

    That said I am a bigger fan of DC’s tendency to withhold their properties waiting for the Donners, Burtons, Nolans, Campbells, etc. of the world to produce these characters well and right.

    Yes I’m a fanatic fanboy, I want to see the entire DC and Marvel universe on screen now; but bad depictions are difficult digest and worse yet they are difficult to forget. I’m glad I have not seen terrible versions of Aquaman, Flash, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern on the big screen yet. DC is doing it’s very best to keep this from happening and I am (though it does not always sound like it) one of their biggest supporters because of it.

  • Jay Fury

    Having worked at Marvel for over five years, and leaving just recently, I can tell you that the corporate culture there regarding EVERYTHING, from negotiating contracts with freelancers to responding to requests for office supplies, is “EFF YOU, WE'RE MARVEL”. They know that the properties they own and the opportunities they offer are extremely valuable and desirable and they use that to establish a position of power and in turn bully the hell out of everyone. Which is totally their right, but in all honesty, I'm actually surprised we don't hear more of this.

  • Thad

    Stan has a better deal now, and he had a better deal in the 1960's — precisely BECAUSE he hogged all the credit and his superiors thought he was the only guy responsible for the comics' success and guys like Kirby were just interchangeable dime-a-dozen artists.

  • Thad

    …this is news to you? That Marvel mistreats its talent? Really?

    See the comments above regarding Jack Kirby.

  • Thad

    But we're talking, specifically, about how Kevin Feige handled the announcement that he wasn't going to be in Avengers, and how Norton responded to that. Feige acted like a dick, Norton acted like a professional. Even if Marvel was right to pass on Norton, Feige handled it badly, and even if Norton was difficult to work with, he showed no indication of that in his conciliatory response.

  • Thad

    “Look over there!”

    We're talking about Marvel recasting roles in its movies, Comic Relief. What does DC's recent behavior with minority characters have to do with the price of wang in China?

  • Thad

    I don't know, X-Statix was pretty great.

    Of course, editorial mucked with it and it got canceled, but it was still pretty great.

  • Agent1458

    I most definately agree about Cheadle, he is an awesome actor, but doesn't have the look of Rhodey like Howard does.

  • Agent1458

    I just don't get how Marvel dumps actors that really fit the part of the characters that they are cast for. Its already been said but Howard had a stop on look for Rhodey and Norton was a nice Bruce Banner. I mean a helluva lot better than Bana. Lets just hope they deal with Downey like professionals and don't lose him as Iron Man.

  • Taylorjt28

    Marvel Publishing, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media. Marvel Entertainment, Inc., a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, owns Marvel Publishing.

    Marvel counts among its characters such well-known properties as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, Wolverine, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Daredevil, the Punisher, Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange and others. Most of Marvel's fictional characters operate in a single reality known as the Marvel Universe, with locales set in real-life cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

    The comic-book arm of the company started in 1939 as Timely Publications, and by the 1950s had generally become known as Atlas Comics. Marvel's modern incarnation dates from 1961, with the launching of Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others. Marvel has since become the largest American comic-book publisher, surpassing its longtime competitor DC Comics.

    On December 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4.24 billion.

    Hey! It's their characters and their money….they can do as they please if it makes the movie better.

  • Brian From Canada

    Agreed! Superman Returns was intended to be a direct sequel to the Richard Donner/Richard Lester films, and it holds up extremely well next to them.

    Hollywood's stuck assuming that Batman's success should be matched by other films, despite the franchises being completely different in tone and character.

  • Brian From Canada

    Another bit of Hollywood tripe!

    First of all, Daredevil and Fantastic Four were successful enough for Fox to launch a second film (Elektra in the case of Daredevil). They're only considering relaunching those franchises NOW because of Hollywood's insistence that anything not on the level of Iron Man or Dark Knight is an automatic failure, despite the “moderate” success of those two franchises.

    Secondly, Fox — NOT Marvel — had every right to block Singer from the lot because Singer thought the competition between both film studios and their property owners didn't apply to him. You don't tell one blockbuster franchise to pause while you make their competition. Ryan Reynolds gets away with that now only because there is no one else more perfect for Deadpool, and Deadpool's nowhere along the production line that Green Lantern was.

    Thirdly, Terrance Howard's dismissal wasn't mishandled by Marvel at all. Two key points were allowed to leak out AFTER the dismissal: cost and ability. Ability had to do with Favreau's distaste in reshooting scenes with Howard that he didn't have to do with any other actor — their views just didn't match. As for cost, his salary was more than Downey, Paltrow and Bridges COMBINED and he wanted a pay raise, which was out of the question.

    PLUS Howard doesn't bad mouth them because he was paid a buy out from his contract as per regular practice in Hollywood. Billy Dee Williams made big money for being switched out in Batman Forever for Tommy Lee Jones. It happens.

    Finally, regarding Ed Norton: yes, Kevin Feige made a public blunder in his handling of Norton's dismissal. But, that said, there are a number of other factors at play at well, such as: Norton's own attempt to control The Incredible Hulk against Marvel; Norton's lack of praise for Marvel; and the Whedon factor.

    Whedon HAS to be considered because Norton — unlike the other actors already attached to the film — is a writer and has his own opinions over how the character should be. He may object to some things already in the first draft, and Marvel's decided that Whedon's presence is more important than Norton. The fact that they've had problems getting an immediate replacement and there's been some caginess around other roles also indicates to me that there may be some issues with Whedon's script as well.

    Whedon's responsible for the worst exchange in the first X-Men film, and he hasn't had a great track record with television, so it will be VERY interesting to see how this plays out. But I don't think Ed Norton is really going to make out badly for it at all.

  • comic relief


    You might have to read my first post to understand how this evolved.

    I said: as much as this seems like an opportunity to bash Marvel, DC has it's own trouble in a similar area yet entirely different topic. In other words, Marvel's behavior may have been objectionable in many ways but let's not forget the many ways the industry needs to mature.

    Yes, this was off Graeme's posted topic yet others seemed to have felt this was worth the discussion.

    Thad I would just move on.