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We were promised for a long time that the Hulk arc that stretched across Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame would have a big payoff, and that’s exactly what happened. Sometime in the five years after Thanos snapped his fingers and unleashed The Decimation, Bruce Banner spent 18 months in the gamma lab and figured how to combine his intellect and personality with Hulk’s physique, and Smart Hulk was born… or Professor Hulk, if you prefer.
A video has now surfaced providing a behind-the-scenes look at how Professor Hulk was created for Avengers: Endgame, and as you would expect, it’s an incredibly complex process. Check it out!
Avengers: Endgame marked Hulk’s sixth appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but thanks to Bruce Banner’s experimentation, Hulk’s face now more closely resembled Bruce’s face, i.e. Mark Ruffalo’s. The Green Goliath even has the tinge of white hair that Bruce rocked in his human form. Professor Hulk is still a towering monstrosity, but now he also looks more human. As Bruce put it in Endgame, he’s the best of both worlds.
As far as what it took to to bring Professor Hulk to life in Avengers: Endgame, this video from CG Record starts off showing some concept art of the character, as you obviously need to know what the character will look like ahead of time before you start crafting them digitally. But computer work is only one part of the process; there’s also Ruffalo’s performance.
Just like in past MCU movies, Mark Ruffalo acting as Hulk in a motion capture get-up, including a camera that tracks his facial movements, which can then be applied to the digital Professor Hulk model so that him speaking and changing expressions doesn’t look (too) artificial.
A side-by-side comparison is then shown of Professor Hulk’s diner scene in Avengers: Endgame, where he meets with Captain America, Black Widow and Ant-Man. While the footage on the right looks much better than what’s shown on the left, it’s still missing Hulk’s mouth movements, but then we also see Mark Ruffalo acting out said diner scene on a couch, and that talking is eventually brought in to create the final product.
We also get a good look at the process of showing Professor Hulk in the Battle of New York pretending to act as savage as his younger self, which isn’t that convincing. In any case, moviemaking technology has evolved a lot since Mark Ruffalo’s debut as The Hulk, and thanks to the hard work of the Avengers: Endgame VFX crew, he looks more realistic than ever.
Now the question is whether or not we’ll ever see Professor Hulk again. There are still no plans for Hulk to star in another standalone movie, and looking at the Phase 4 slate and what’s expected to come in Phase 5, it’s hard to say if he could play a role in any of those stories.
Avengers: Endgame left the character in an interesting place, both with the emergence of the Professor Hulk persona and his arm being damaged after he snapped those who disappeared five years ago back into existence, and there’s certainly more room for the new Hulk to develop further. For now, though, it appears unlike many of the MCU’s other heroes, he’s taking a break, but we’ll let you know if anything changes on that front.
Avengers: Endgame comes out on Digital HD tomorrow, July 30, and the Blu-ray and DVD copes will be available starting Tuesday, August 13. As for what’s in store for the future of the MCU, consult our handy Marvel movies guide for that information.