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Avengers: Endgame may have hit theaters months ago, but that hasn't stopped moviegoers and fans from discussing and dissecting every frame of the massive blockbuster. The Russo's record-breaking sequel will be further be gone through with a fine tooth comb now that Endgame has arrived digitally, and will soon arrive in homes for DVD and Blu-ray. The commentary has already answered plenty of lingering questions, although there is another plaguing fans: why didn't Thanos and Hulk get a rematch?
Avengers: Infinity War opens with Thanos' assault on the Asgardian ships, directly picking up the narrative from Thor: Ragnarok's ending. While Hulk go the jump on the Mad Titan, he was quickly overpowered and knocked out. What's more the big green guy refused to come back out during the rest of the movie. As such, fans expected a rematch in Endgame, which never quite happened. Writer Stephen McFeely recently answered this lingering questions, saying:
I know a lot of people were saying they can’t wait for [Hulk and Thanos’] rematch. Well, that would’ve made sense had he not become Smart Hulk. He’s a whole different thing, and that’s not what drives him. So we never thought, ‘Oh, he really is trying to get a crack at Thanos now.'
Well, this does make great deal of sense. Because while Marvel fans wanted to see the two massively powerful characters go toe-to-toe in the final conflict of Avengers: Endgame, Banner seemed to largely keep his distance from Thanos. And the reason given above is legitimate.
Stephen McFeely's comments to Backstory Magazine (via Comic Book) help to illuminate the moviegoing public about the decisions made while crafting Avengers: Endgame's complicated narrative. The movie had a small army of characters to service, especially the OG members of The Avengers. And since Hulk/Bruce Banner went through such a major change during the movie's five-year time jump, their priority was no longer revenge or a rematch against the Mad Titan.
When Black Widow, Ant-Man, and Captain America caught up with Bruce Banner after Endgame's time jump, he'd gone through a massive transformation. And not the one we've typically seen from the character. Bruce had merged with Hulk, becoming Professor Hulk in the process. The brain and brawn were combined, and it was nice to see the character finally reach some peach with his alter ego. But that also meant putting away grudges that The Hulk might have had with Josh Brolin's villainous character.
As a reminder, you can see Hulk and Thanos' fight from Avengers: Infinity War below.
This was an epic first tussle for the blockbuster, and one that deeply affected the big green guy throughout the course of Infinity War. Hulk refused to come out for the battles in New York and Wakanda, forcing Bruce Banner to suit up in the Hulkbuster armor to join the fight. At least, until he could find a way to connec to the gamma powered monster within.