As oft-theorized beforehand, Avengers: Endgame jumped five years into the future to explore the aftermath of the Decimation. Most of the heroes were left broken by the Snap but the Hulk was a different story. In the time since we last saw him, Bruce Banner and his green alter ego had merged to become Professor Hulk, with Banner’s brain and Hulk’s brawn.
One of the many, many questions we have after watching Endgame, though, is how did this happen? The first time we see Professor Hulk is when the other heroes catch up with him over lunch, without too much explanation given for how the two managed to merge. While speaking to NY Times, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely revealed that we were originally meant to see this big moment play out on screen in Avengers: Infinity War, but it was ultimately held back for Endgame.
MARKUS: “There was a time when Banner became Smart Hulk in the first movie. It was a lot of fun, but it came at the wrong moment. It was an up, right when everyone else was down. ”
McFEELY: “It happened in Wakanda. His arc was designed like, I’m not getting along with the Hulk, the Hulk won’t come out. And then they compromise and become Smart Hulk.”
This finally makes sense of a weird inconsistency between the IW merchandise that featured Hulk in the Hulkbuster armor while the movie only put Banner inside it. Fans also noted that the CG used to realize Banner inside the suit appeared to be of a different quality to the rest of the movie, suggesting it had been completed later in the post-production process.
Having decided to move Professor Hulk to Endgame, Markus and McFeely had some trouble figuring out the scene where the development is revealed. It all clicked into place, though, when the puzzled Ant-Man became the audience’s POV.
MARKUS: “We were like, but he’s Smart Hulk in the next movie. So that diner scene [in “Endgame”], was like, O.K., how do we smash right into that without scenes of him in a lab, gene-splicing?”
McFEELY: “Oh, I wrote scenes in a lab. Now it’s just him eating pancakes and I think it generally works.”
MARKUS: “The whole thing rides on Rudd going, “I’m so confused.””
As with many of the storytelling decisions in Endgame, some felt the Professor Hulk arc could have been handled better, so maybe his introduction should have been retained in IW. However, Markus makes a good point about the tonal imbalance that would have created.
What do you think, though? Do you like Hulk’s storyline in Avengers: Endgame? Smash out your thoughts in the comments section down below.