Avengers: Endgame was hailed as the perfect conclusion to a decade-long superhero saga and a fitting sendoff for iconic characters such as Iron Man and Captain America. But if there’s one criticism we could aim at the movie, it’s the way it handled the Hulk’s arc.
Bruce Banner underwent a seismic shift during the Phase 3 closer, making peace with his irate alter ego to become Professor Hulk, yet all of the major character development this involved appeared to take place between films. It could be argued that Marvel should have made a solo Hulk movie to bridge the gap between Infinity War and its successor, or at least that would be the case if Universal didn’t hold a stake in the character’s screen rights.
In any case, it seems that directors the Russo Brothers did shoot additional footage that would have fleshed out his transformation into Professor Hulk, and it was intended to be part of Infinity War. A rough cut of the scene in question has just found its way online, in fact, courtesy of Twitter user @bork_21, and you can check it out below:
I love Infinity War, but we deserved to see Smart Hulk’s transformation in the final film. pic.twitter.com/UnbAjH3lE0
— *inhales* when i was a Bork… (@bork_21) July 8, 2020
In the clip, we get to see Black Widow and Falcon cross paths with Professor Hulk for the first time. The sequence takes place during the climactic Battle for Wakanda and serves as a small victory for one of the Avengers amid their devastating defeat at the hands of Thanos. It’s an important scene because, without it, the Hulk’s character arc feels like it has a chunk missing in the middle. In Infinity War, Banner is more at odds with the Hulk than ever, only for the two personas to have reached a harmonious compromise by the next time we see him in Endgame.
Such a pivotal moment for Banner should have been explored in more detail, if not in a Hulk solo film, then at least in a completed version of this scene. However, the Russos supposedly felt that the sequence detracted from the severity of the heroes’ ultimate defeat and ended the movie on a different note to the one they intended.
As Hulk fans will well know, Banner ended up with a busted arm from the events of Avengers: Endgame, but reports suggest we may not have seen the last of him in the MCU. There’ve been rumors that he could appear in the She-Hulk series that’s headed to Disney+ as well as the Wolverine vs. Hulk movie Marvel is allegedly planning. In any case, let’s hope that injury hasn’t forced him into retirement because there’s certainly untapped potential in Professor Hulk.