Spinoff Online has a provocative article chronicling Marvel Studio‘s frequent clashes with its talent, not only asking whether this policy is intentional, but whether it will become a problem for the studio later on.
The most recent manifestation of this trend is of course the outright dismissal of Edward Norton from the cast of The Avengers, despite a performance as Bruce Banner that was motivated by a real personal love for the character. Other examples include Terrence Howard being replaced for Iron Man 2, and Samuel L. Jackson nearly walking from the same production over salary arguments.
Marvel Studios is almost impressively old-school when it comes to dealing with actors, it seems – It’s their way or the highway… 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… 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?
The “tactics” here refer to Marvel’s press release on their decision not to rehire Norton, where instead of just saying that they wouldn’t be bringing him back on, they also passive aggressively implied that he does not embody “creativity and collaborative spirit” and could not work as part of an ensemble. Real smooth, Marvel.
You can read Spinoff’s whole article right here.