Edward Norton looks back on not being the Hulk in Marvel's The Avengers

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Jun 25, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT (Updated)

In 2010, Edward Norton and Marvel parted ways over the role of Bruce Banner/Hulk amidst a boatload of drama. Four years later, the actor has a new outlook on things.

Back then, Marvel implied that Norton (who took over the role from Eric Bana for The Incredible Hulk) was dropped because he lacked the “collaborative spirit of [The Avengers'] other talented cast members,” while Norton’s agent shot back that Marvel’s decision to let him go was purely a matter of money.

Whatever the real reason, the actor followed this with a very classy post on his Facebook page in order to express how sad he was that he wouldn’t be joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in The Avengers.

Now, four years on, Norton has a bit of a different explanation as to what happened back then. Here’s what he said in an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross on Fresh Air:

“My feeling was that I experimented and experienced what I wanted to. I really, really enjoyed it. And yet, I looked at the balance of time in life that one spends not only making those sorts of films but then especially putting them out, and the obligations that rightly come with that. There were just a lot of things—I wanted more diversity. I sort of chose to continue on my path of having a diversity of experiences. Maybe on some unconscious level, I didn’t want to have an association with one thing in any way degrade my effectiveness as an actor, in characters. I think you can sort of do anything once, but if you do it too many times, it can become a suit that’s hard to take off, in other peoples’ eyes. And if I had continued on with it, I wouldn’t have made Moonrise Kingdom, or Grand Budapest, or Birdman, because those all overlapped with [Avengers]. And those were more the priority for me, but I continue to be a fan and I’m really, really happy I got to do it once.”

The role, of course, ultimately went to Mark Ruffalo, who did an absolutely fantastic job as Banner/Hulk; and whether it was Marvel who dumped Norton first, or Norton who ultimately quit, may not really matter. Sill, what do you guys think of Norton's new explanation?

(NPR via EW)