Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzalez, and Gavin Edwards’ new tell-all book reports on two MCU stars Kevin Feige will, reportedly, never work with again. According to MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, the prolific Marvel director would be more than happy to work with almost every Marvel studios alumnus. The only exceptions are Edward Norton and Joss Whedon (via Dextero).
A History of Creative Differences
When the Hulk came back for Avengers, the common assumption in the fandom was that he would be played by Edward Norton. After all, Norton had starred in a Hulk movie just four years prior, of which Feige had been a producer. It all lined up. Until we learned that Mark Ruffalo had been cast as Bruce Banner instead.
This led to some confusion amongst fans (specifically me, but I’m sure some others as well) regarding the canonicity of The Incredible Hulk. Robert Downey Jr had made a cameo in which The Avengers was teased, so it seemed like this film would lead straight into the events of The Avengers, but at the same time, it had only been a few years since Eric Bana had played Bruce in Hulk and so we were used to having the character rebooted.
As it is, it turned out just to be a recasting, and The Incredible Hulk still fits within the MCU canon. But what happened between Feige and Norton? It seems like it all came down to a disagreement in the tone of the film. According to the book, Norton was taking inspiration from Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and so wanted a “longer ponderous movie,” which was in direct opposition to Marvel’s desire for a “shorter adventure movie.”
In a statement released after the film came out, Feige said: “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.”
How Does Kevin Feige Feel About Joss Whedon?
As the book tells it, Feige’s feelings for Whedon began to sour during the latter’s work on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The book suggests that Feige took umbrage with Whedon making decisions about the MCU and writing things into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that would have had wider implications in the MCU.
Just the existence of S.H.I.E.L.D. works in opposition to strict MCU canon, as the agency was destroyed during Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Whedon wasn’t sticking to Feige’s master plan for the MCU, which appears to have fractured their relationship.
It seems a shame that such differences between creative teams could cause fractures in relationships, but with an entity as sprawling as the MCU, someone has to be responsible for overseeing the whole thing and ensuring it remains internally consistent in terms of story and tone.
That role is Feige’s and it’s one that he takes very seriously (which is why we love him!). So, it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to continue to work with people who didn’t agree with his decisions.
Feige’s creative grip on the MCU continues into 2024, as we await the releases of The Marvels and Captain America: Brave New World (both of which are in post-production) and Deadpool 3 which is still scheduled for release in May 2024 but which may be pushed back due to filming disruptions due to the SAG-AFTRA strike.
Have you read MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios yet, and if so what did you think? Now that we’re a few years removed from Norton’s recasting and we’ve seen Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk multiple times, are you happy with the casting change? Do you think Kevin Feige is not to work with these two MCU vets again? Are you sad that we’ll likely not see Joss Whedon return to the MCU? Give us all your opinions on the comments, or our social media.