On Friday, comic book legend Stan Lee, Zak Penn (screenwriter of the The Incredible Hulk), and Mark Fergus (co-screenwriter of Children of Men and Iron Man) took the stage at Comic-Con for a panel moderated by Jeff Goldsmith of Creative Screenwriting magazine. Fans were elated to hear Lee talk about the good old days, the villainy of Hollywood executives, and how he came up with the ideas for a slew of characters including Spiderman, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man.
But it was Penn who produced the biggest news. He offered his his take on his tug-of-war with star Edward Norton over The Incredible Hulk script. And he revealed what he could about his new project, The Avengers.
On Norton and the Hulk script, which Penn ultimately received sole credit for (he had been concocting the storyline for 16 years): “Yes, [the fallout] prevented me from collaborating with him [during production]. I don’t really know the guy, he has his own process and he chose to do it the way he wanted to do it. That said, I kept in touch with the people making the movie — but he, you know, has his own particular way of working and…it was unusual. I really don’t know, I wasn’t there, I was off making another movie, so it wasn’t a situation where I was banging on the door saying, ‘Let me come to the set.’ But that was disappointing, I won’t deny it. I wasn’t happy with him coming to Comic-Con saying that he wrote the script. I can’t tell you that made me go back and watch Fight Club.”
On The Avengers: “Right now, we’re [he and Marvel Entertainment] planning a bigger Avengers movie that will tie all of the movies together, and it’s going to bring in a lot of the comic book authors. I am writing, but also, I think you guys [looking at Fergus] are going to be writing with us too, right? [Fergus looks back blankly.] Maybe you don’t know that yet, but you are.”