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After using the six Infinity Stones to eliminate half of all life in the universe at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos was met with a vision of his ‘daughter’ Gamora as a little girl, who asked if he was successful with his goal and inquired about what it cost him. However, while Tony Stark and Hulk both used all of the Infinity Stones at separate times in Avengers: Endgame, they weren’t treated to such Soul Stone visions in the final cut of the movie.
We learned after Avengers: Endgame’s release that Tony Stark was supposed to see his daughter Morgan as a young adult after he snapped away Thanos and his forces. But what would The Hulk have seen when he snapped everyone who was dusted five years year back into existence?
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Avengers: Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and McFeely noted that while they originally wanted to follow the Soul Stone vision rule set in Avengers: Infinity War, they could’t find a way to make that fit within the three-hour runtime. Then Markus stated:
The closest we ever came to Hulk and Bruce Banner talking to each other in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was when Bruce periodically tried throughout Avengers: Infinity War to get his monstrous half to emerge and start smashing, only for Hulk to yell out, “NO!” However, had this scene that Christopher Markus mentioned been shot, we could have finally witnessed a full-blown conversation between this modern day Jekyll and Hyde. I can only imagine what that back-and-forth would have sounded like.
Alas, things didn’t play out that way, and Avengers: Infinity War ended up being the last time that we saw the traditional Hulk in the MCU. Although it was initially planned to have Bruce Banner become Smart Hulk during the Battle of Wakanda in Infinity War, as Christopher Markus revealed back in July, the scene “didn’t work” and was the “wrong tone for the movie.”
So instead, Bruce Banner put the brains and the brawn together at some point in the five years between Avengers: Endgame’s opening and when the rest of the movie took place, which he called the “best of both worlds.” We did briefly see Bruce looking human again when the 2012-era Ancient One knocked his astral form out of his body, but as far as things look now, it looks like the primitive, child-like Hulk we watched across five movies is gone for good.
Although his arm was badly damaged when he channeled the power of all the Infinity Stones, Smart Hulk made it out of Avengers: Endgame’s climactic third act alive. Since there are still no plans to deliver another solo Hulk movie, it’s hard to say if/when we’ll see him again in the MCU. Although given that there’s a She-Hulk Disney+ series in development, it’s hard to imagine Bruce Banner not being involved with that project at least a little bit, considering that he’s Jennifer Walters’ cousin in the comics.