After losing in a one-on-one clash with the Mad Titan, Hulk chose to sit out the rest of Avengers: Infinity War, forcing Bruce Banner to fend for himself in the Hulkbuster armor during the film’s climactic Battle of Wakanda. However, in an unfinished scene included in the Infinity Saga box set, we see that the Jade Giant almost came to his alter ego’s rescue during his big fight with Cull Obsidian.
Online uploads of the sequence are being deleted quickly, though anyone curious about what they’re missing can likely find a version with little fuss. In any case, the scene essentially shows Banner on the verge of losing his clash with Cull, before he realizes at the last minute that he’s finally managed to work out his disagreements with Hulk.
At this point, we get what would’ve been the MCU debut of Smart Hulk, as the hero rips free from the Hulkbuster, then uses the armor’s boot to send Cull flying into the energy dome over Wakanda.
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Even before the release of Infinity War, there were signs that the Marvel team intended to bring Hulk into the climactic fight. An early trailer, for instance, showed him running with the rest of the team through Wakanda. More significantly, the film’s tie-in merchandise included a toy that showed Hulk bursting out of the Hulkbuster.
In an interview last year with Vanity Fair, Avengers: Infinity War co-writer Stephen McFeely reflected on their plans to include Smart Hulk in the pic, explaining that it didn’t feel right for Hulk to have his “big win” during a third act that was supposed to be “a march toward losing.”
As a result, this development was saved for the opening third of last year’s Avengers: Endgame, ensuring that Bruce and Hulk’s shared arc would find its closure just as the decade-spanning Infinity Saga was coming to a climax.