Our tale begins last Friday with a story on HitFix in which we learn Edward Norton will not return to the role of Bruce Banner. "According to Marvel sources, the company has decided that they are going to cast "an unknown" to play Bruce Banner and The Hulk in the film," writes HitFix's Drew McWeeney. Come Saturday, Marvel President Kevin Feige sent word to HitFix regarding Norton's status:
"We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. 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."
Oh, we're not done yet. Norton's agent responded to the statement using HitFix as the battlefield. "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 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 ComiCon [sic] and make it the event of the convention," writes Brian Swardstrom. He and Marvel began negotiating a deal for Norton, but those talks ended on Wednsday. Swardstrom says he figured this to be based purely on the finances involved. "Counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in the Avengers cast, many of whom are personal friends of his," he continues.
Finally, looking forward, Devin Faraci at CHUD hears of someone who could fill Norton's vacated purple hotpants. "Reliable sources tell me that Marvel has already put out an offer, and the actor they've spoken to is Joaquin Phoenix, believe it or not. Phoenix is taking time to mull over the offer and the bigger implications - Marvel may yet resurrect the Hulk franchise - but Marvel hopes to have him in place by Comic Con, which is when they want to announce their new Bruce Banner," he writes. He's putting rumor tags around it and it does contradict HitFix's earlier understanding that Banner would be played by an unknown. He also notes who ever plays Banner will be paid the least of the headline "Avengers" parts. I suppose all will be revealed during what could be a very contentious Comic-Con panel.
Release date: May 4th, 2012
Michael Caine has forgotten that loose lips sink ships as he tells Digital Spy the film will shoot in April of next year. "I think they're going to do it in April, that's about as much as I know," he says. I guess that's not so definite. There is video, so you can see for yourself if this is a good scoop or just Caine talking out of turn again:
Release date: July 20th, 2012
While promoting her new film, "Salt," Angelina Jolie tells Superhero Hype why she passed on the sequel. "Being dead makes it difficult," she confirmed. "They were (trying to bring me back) but I kind of feel like if I die in a movie, I should die actually. I'm that way, and that character is not as complex as Salt. It would just be doing the exact same thing in another movie, so it's not that interesting to me," she says.
Release date: TBA
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
According to Deadline, Kevin Bacon is in negotiations to play the bad guy in the film. Of course, the name of that villain is unknown at this time. Could he be the Shadow King? Mr. Sinister? Or could he be going to the head of the line and playing Apocalypse? I'm sure if contracts get signed we'll know before too long.
Release date: June 3rd, 2011
Superhero Hype reports on their visit to the set of the film. "It's really funny. I guess if I had to be pinned down I'd say it's an action/comedy as a movie - as a genre. You know we play for real stakes here but you kidnap a girl. I'll give you an example of it: Frank is retired from the CIA and we don't really know what he is but we know he has this phone relationship with this girl over his pension checks. And it's clear they kind of like each other and they have this kind of fun sort of little banter and then this is the opening of the movie. And it'll give you a sense of the tone, but it's very quiet and it seems like he's sort of an average guy and he goes to bed and suddenly gets up in the middle of the night and he's going to the bathroom and shadows are passing down the hallway and 3 commandos attack him," says producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura of the film. Meanwhile, our old friend at Bleeding Cool notes Cully Hammer has confirmed he will appear at the "Red" panel during Comic-Con.
Release date: October 22nd, 2010
Ready for negotiating your way into Hall H Saturday morning at Comic-Con? Warner Bros will be presenting a trio of films at that time, "Green Lantern" will be headlining the presentation, which will also feature "Sucker Punch" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows." The whole thing starts at 11:45 on Saturday the 24th.
Starring Ryan Reynolds, release date: June 17th, 2011
NO ORDINARY FAMILY
The series will make it's debut at Comic-Con during a panel also slotted into the Saturday Schedule:
3:15-4:15 No Ordinary Family: Exclusive Premiere— This is No Ordinary Panel! Michael Chiklis (The Shield), Julie Benz (Dexter), and executive producers Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern), Jon Harmon Feldman (Tru Calling), and David Semel (Heroes) present an exclusive screening of the new ABC series No Ordinary Family. After the screening, join them for a Q&A session and find out more about the superpowers that made this family go from ordinary to extraordinary overnight! Plus, everyone in the room will receive a surprise. Room 6A
I imagine the surprise will be a hug from Chiklis.
The stars and producers of Smallville will appear at Comic-Con on Sunday. Here's the panel description from the CCI schedule:
10:00-11:00 Smallville Screening and Q&A— Comic-Con favorite Smallville returns for its last visit to Comic-Con in advance of the show's 10th and final season, as showrunners Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson join star/executive producer Tom Welling and series stars Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, and Justin Hartley to talk about the year ahead, answer fan questions, and give an exclusive sneak peek at clips from the final season. From Tollin/Robbins Productions, Millar/Gough Ink in association with Warner Bros. Television, Smallville airs Fridays at 8pm ET/PT on The CW. Smallville: The Complete Ninth Season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 7. Ballroom 20
Returns: September 24th, 2010
BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD
Superhero Hype has an early review of the direct-to-video release. They praise both the action scenes and drama of the piece. "We see great chases between Batman and Red Hood, a great pursuit joined by Nightwing, and a fantastic fight scene with some cybernetic bounty hunters. But it's not all batarangs and kung fu fighting. There's a surprisingly strong character drama here. We see Batman tortured by the loss of Jason Todd and the appearance of Red Hood making matters even worse. I was also quite impressed by the final showdown between Red Hood and Batman. In it, Batman is confronted with the ultimate question - why did he never kill the Joker? His answer is emotional, dramatic, and perfectly defines the character. Bat-Fans will enjoy it," they write.
Release date: July 27th, 2010
We're roughly a week out from Comic-Con and the preparations begin. Extra prescription medications are being filled, eyeglasses are checked and plenty of hand sanitizer is on its ways. I've been doing my customary walking regiment and, hopefully, my sinuses will play ball for the week. Meanwhile, if any of you in the great, wide Internet discover something awesome, disheartening, or just plain weird, let us know! Take credit, come up with a clever nickname, or go anonymous. The choice is yours. Fresh rumors and movie news every weekday morning. I am Erik Amaya bracing for the future threat of Comic-Con.