Bruce Banner had a very different journey in Avengers: Infinity War compared to his previous appearances. Typically, the mild-mannered scientist attempts to suppress the Hulk for fear of what his angry other half might do when unleashed. However, with the whole universe at stake and the Avengers going to war against alien invaders, Banner really could’ve done with the Hulk’s knack for smashing. Unfortunately, though, the Green Goliath refused to come out, right to the dire end.
It was an unexpected development for the man and the monster, and in an interesting interview with The Marvelists Podcast, star Mark Ruffalo admitted that this wasn’t always the way it was going to play out in Infinity War. The actor explained that the production team went back and forth on whether to have the Hulk arrive in time for the big final fight, but ultimately decided to leave him out.
“We went back and forth a lot on how to end the movie with Banner, and do we repeat the Hulk coming at the last minute or do we try something new? And I think at that point we were all thirsting to have Banner be his own hero for once.”
Fans have often theorized that the original plan must’ve been for the Hulk to appear, as certain merchandise depicts the Jade Giant bursting out of the Hulkbuster Iron Man armor, which is something that never happens in the film. There’s also the matter of the CGI used to render Banner inside the armor that doesn’t seem as polished in some scenes as the rest of the movie, suggesting it was added fairly late in the process.
Though it was apparently difficult to settle on this decision, Ruffalo thinks it was the right choice to make, as it continued what the actor sees as an ongoing character arc for the Hulk that he’s been pushing for since Avengers: Age of Ultron. For Ruffalo, it’s all about exploring what the Hulk fears above all else – not Thanos, but Banner himself.
“There’s a conflict brewing between Banner and Hulk that’s been going on since the beginning and it all came out of this question that Joss Whedon asked me when Hulk gets the fairy dust from Scarlet Witch sprinkled on him in Avengers 2. Joss asked ‘What is Hulk afraid of?’ And that was a hard thing for me to answer, because what is the strongest, fiercest thing in the universe afraid of? What could he possibly? And then I realized its Banner. The only thing Hulk is afraid of is Banner. And so that’s become something we’ve been riffing on since Avengers 2. We played with a lot in Ragnarok, and it continues to be teased out in Infinity War 1 and Infinity War 2.”
Many Marvel fans were left confused by Hulk’s reasons for refusing to come out in Avengers: Infinity War after he received a heck of a beating from Thanos. It was thought he might’ve just been scared of the villain, but the Russo brothers denied that this was the case. Somehow, according to Ruffalo, it’s because he’s afraid of Banner and it should be intriguing to see the real answer to Hulk’s no-show revealed in Avengers 4.
Source: The Marvelists