It’s arguably one of the defining moments from Avengers: Infinity War – Mark Ruffalo’s Incredible Hulk, beaten black and blue by the invading Thanos.
Marvel’s Jade Giant was so devastated by the fight that he never really recovered, and instead spent the remainder of the film hidden within Bruce Banner. So when the Mad Titan arrives in Wakanda, and Bruce Banner calls on the Hulk, he point-blank refuses, sowing the seeds of division.
That character development was threaded into Avengers: Endgame, too, where Banner and the Jade Giant became one and the same – or Professor Hulk, if we’re going by the official terminology. The near-perfect fusion of brains and brawn.
Had things panned out differently, though, Marvel viewers would have been treated to the ultimate rematch: Thanos Vs. Hulk round two, as depicted in Avengers: Endgame – Art of the Movie (h/t ComicBook.com):
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It’s a tantalizing prospect, as Endgame would have offered Hulk a shot at sweet, sweet revenge. Then again, including said scene may well have detracted from the Herculean four-way fight between Iron Man, Thor, Cap and Thanos, which delivered more crowd-pleasing moments than the last five MCU films combined.
And rest assured, Mark Ruffalo and Kevin Feige continue to mull over the future of Hulk in a post-Endgame world, which may well lead to a cameo role in the planned She-Hulk spinoff series.
“Kevin Feige just asked me last week if I had any more ideas or stories for the Hulk,” said Ruffalo. “And I said yeah, I think there’s still some stories to tell. And he said, ‘Well why don’t you come in and tell me about them and we’ll see if we can find a place for you in the Marvel universe?’”
Either that, or a full-on Hulk Vs. Wolverine spinoff movie. It’s little more than a pipe dream, of course, but then again, with 20th Century Fox’s mutants now under the grand umbrella of Disney – and, by effect, Marvel Studios – anything is possible.