Edward Norton Responds To Hulk Controversy

'I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone, but it hasn't turned out as we all hoped,' he writes on Facebook.

Things got ugly in the Marvel universe over the weekend when word leaked that [article id="1643407"]Edward Norton would not be reprising his role as Bruce Banner[/article] -- a.k.a. the Incredible Hulk -- in the 2012 superhero all-star flick "The Avengers." Marvel production president Kevin Feige zinged Norton for a lack of "collaborative spirit," a statement Norton's agent called "purposefully misleading."

Now Norton, who took on the Banner role in the Louis Leterrier-directed "Incredible Hulk," has weighed in on the brouhaha with a post on his Facebook page.

"As most of you know, I don't like to talk much about the business of making movies because it means a lot to me to protect the audience's fullest enjoyment of the 'magic' that films can have," the statement began. "But I am so appreciative of the outpouring of support from fans of the Hulk and the Avengers that I feel it would be rude not to respond."

Norton went on to avoid addressing the specifics of Feige's statement, as well as the heated words of his agent. Instead, Norton simply stated the facts of the situation, declared his appreciation for playing the character at all and thanked fans for their support.

"It seems it won't work out for me to continue playing Bruce Banner for Marvel in 'The Avengers,' " he wrote. "I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone, but it hasn't turned out as we all hoped. I know this is disappointing to many people and that makes me sad. But I am very sincerely grateful to Marvel for extending the offer and even more so for giving me the chance to be a part of the Hulk's long and excellent history.

"And I really can't thank the fans enough for how much enthusiasm you've sent my way about what Louis and I tried to do in our turn with the legend," Norton concluded. "It means a lot to me. I grew up with Banner and Hulk and have been a fan of every incarnation. I'm really proud, and very blessed, to have been one of them and will be thrilled to see him live on through other actors. Hulk is bigger than all of us, that's why we love him, right?"

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