The 6 biggest names to fall out with Marvel

James Luxford
Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

From Digital Spy

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a positive effect on many of the people involved with it – just ask Robert Downey Jr, Tom Hiddleston, or the many, many Chrises.

However, falling out with Disney/Marvel can get very ugly very quickly. Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista is currently berating his employers on Twitter over the firing of director James Gunn for controversial past tweets.

While his castmates have also voiced their displeasure at his firing, Bautista has been the most vocal, describing working without Gunn "nauseating". It's certainly hard to imagine him continuing with the franchise beyond the end of his current contract.

He wouldn't be the first Marvel collaborator to end their association on bad terms. Here are the biggest names to have clashed, or regretted their experience in the world of superheroes…

1. Edward Norton – The Incredible Hulk

It should have been a big green Edward Norton stepping into the arena in Thor: Ragnarok. Norton's Hulk is part of the MCU, coming just a few months after the first Iron Man in 2008 and teasing a crossover in the credits.

At the time it was an exciting concept – a prestige independent actor, Norton made a pretty decent Bruce Banner. Yet, when the heroes finally assembled in 2012, Norton had been replaced by Mark Ruffalo. Why? Stories range from a clash between Norton and the film's producers over the final edit, and his claims that he wrote much of the script, causing a rift with credited screenwriter Zak Penn.

Whatever the cause, Norton never re-appeared, joking about the incident at the recent comedy roast of Bruce Willis. "You know what went wrong? I wanted a better script," he quipped. "I thought we should try to make one Marvel movie that was as good as the worst Chris Nolan movie, but what the hell was I thinking?"

2. Terrence Howard – Iron Man

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Marvel's first major departure came from Tony Stark's best buddy Col James Rhodes, played by Terrence Howard. The Oscar nominee claimed his absence from Iron Man 2, replaced by Don Cheadle, was over his salary.

"It was going to be a certain amount for the first one, a certain amount for the second one, a certain amount for the third" he recalled in an interview. "They came to me with the second and said, 'Look, we will pay you one-eighth of what we contractually had for you, because we think the second one will be successful with or without you'."

Fortunately for Howard, he was also a success without Marvel, starring in the hit series Empire and films like The Butler and Prisoners. It permanently soured his relationship with Downey Jr, however, who he claims pushed him out.

3. Mickey Rourke – Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr's second foe, Ivan Vanko, would have been a lot more intricate had actor Mickey Rourke won his battles with Marvel executives.

"Marvel just wanted a one-dimensional bad guy, so most of the performance ended up the floor" he said in 2011. "If they want to make mindless comic book movies, then I don't want to be a part of that."

Incidentally, original Iron Man villain Jeff Bridges and Iron Man 3 baddie Guy Pearce have both discussed difficulties making their respective films. Must be something about that suit...

4. Joss Whedon – Avengers: Age of Ultron

Genre god Joss Whedon took the MCU to a different level with the first Avengers film, creating a fun adventure that tied all previous instalments together. While the sequel, Age of Ultron, was also a hit, it was enough to make Whedon end his association with the studio for the foreseeable future. "I was so beaten down by the process," Whedon told Variety. "Some of that was conflicting with Marvel, which is inevitable."

In a move that might have been unthinkable a few years ago, the director's next project was for Marvel's opposition, DC. He stepped in to direct Justice League reshoots after Zack Snyder withdrew, although the finished result was far from stellar.

5. Christopher Eccleston – Thor: The Dark World

While fans didn't love the second Thor film, no amount of criticism could compare to the vitriol of Christopher Eccleston, who played villain Malekith.

In an interview with The Guardian in March the former Time Lord reflected on his time in Hollywood blockbusters, remarking "Working on something like GI Joe was horrendous… I just wanted to cut my throat every day. And Thor? Just a gun in your mouth".

Late last year, he also talked about the discomfort of playing a Dark Elf. "Marvel were dishonest to me" he told Graham Norton. "Because they never, ever let me know that there'd be that amount of make-up."

So, don't expect Malekith's resurrection any time soon.

6. Hugo Weaving – Captain America: The First Avenger

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

Captain America villain The Red Skull made a dramatic return in this summer's Avengers: Infinity War, but it wasn't original actor Hugo Weaving underneath that latex.

The Australian star was vocal about not wanting to return to the role in an interview with Collider. While he was glad he played the role, "it's not something I would want to do again... I think I've done my dash with that sort of film."

Not exactly an epic grudge, but it would be hard for Marvel to bring back an actor so publicly reluctant to return. Thus, Infinity War featured actor Ross Marquand in prosthetics and sporting an accent so convincing many people didn't notice the recast.

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