Avengers 4 Star Mark Ruffalo Reveals The Hulk’s Greatest Fear

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Thanos managed to cut a lot of heroes down to size over the course of Avengers: Infinity War and the mighty Hulk was no exception, with the Mad Titan comfortably trouncing Bruce Banner’s alter ego in the field of battle. While this moment has led many to infer that Banner’s subsequent difficulty in transforming stemmed from the Hulk’s fear of losing once more to the intergalactic conqueror, actor Mark Ruffalo insists that the character is more afraid of another, far less tyrannical individual in the MCU.

In a recent episode of The Marvelists podcast, the star of next year’s Avengers 4 said that his former collaborator Joss Whedon helped him to work out the Hulk’s greatest fear years before the Green Goliath crossed paths with Thanos.

“There’s a conflict brewing between Banner and Hulk that’s been going on since the beginning. And it all came out of sort of this question that Joss Whedon asked me when Hulk gets the fairy dust from Scarlet Witch sprinkled on him in [Avengers: Age of Ultron], Joss asked ‘What is Hulk afraid of?’”

As you may have guessed, the answer to this question is the character that the Hulk’s been struggling with ever since his story began.

“And that was a hard thing for me to answer because what is the strongest, fiercest thing in the universe afraid of? And then I realized it’s Banner. The only thing Hulk is afraid of is Banner and so that’s become something that we’ve been riffing on since [Age of Ultron]. We played with it a lot in [Thor:] Ragnarok and it continues to be teased out in [Avengers:] Infinity War and [Avengers 4].”

This idea follows on nicely from Infinity War co-director Joe Russo’s explanation that the Hulk refused to come out because he’s grown sick of serving as Banner’s muscle and helper. Admittedly, being forced to share your time and your body with a physically weaker but brainier version of yourself can’t be the most fulfilling of existences, and many are speculating on how this internal conflict could come to a head in Avengers 4.

Professor Hulk? A separation of the characters into two distinct bodies? We’ll find out when the film hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019.

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