Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame certainly introduced a lot of new concepts into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the franchise's heroes waged their final war against Thanos (Josh Brolin). One of the most surprising examples of that was "Smart Hulk", the latest evolution of Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) that debuted in Endgame. The film saw Hulk and Banner successfully bonding with each other, bringing a new take on the "big green guy". As the recently-released Marvel's Avengers: Endgame: The Art of the Movie book revealed, the arrival of Smart Hulk almost included a drastically different hairstyle. A video of the book from Toys Encyclopedia Thailand, which you can check out above, shows concept art of several different alternate hairdos for The Hulk, beginning at 1:03 into the video.
In a way, it's easy to see how the haircut in this concept art could have worked with Smart Hulk, especially because it feels like a visual throwback to Ruffalo's hair in Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. But the shorter haircut he had in Endgame definitely also worked, especially considering the new chapter that was brought along with it. The topic of Smart Hulk - and exactly how he would be introduced into the narrative of the "Infinity Saga" - was apparently explored in some pretty interesting ways, with the option of him being introduced in Infinity War being considered.
“We wrote [Infinity War], we shot it, and then went on to shoot most of Endgame. And it was: he achieved union with the Hulk while inside the Hulkbuster, burst out, and kicked Cull Obsidian’s ass. And it didn’t work,” co-writer Christopher Markus said at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year. “It was completely the wrong tone for that moment in the movie. It was this victory when we were headed toward a crushing defeat, and it was tone-deaf. But we had already shot Endgame, where he was already Smart Hulk.”
“Imagine the first act of Endgame, he’s Smart Hulk in all of those scenes — meaning when he goes to kill Thanos, when they’re sitting around the compound when Tony’s returned — so that required some adjusting,” co-writer Stephen McFeely added. “And it also meant that we could use the five years as the transition, hint that he’s got problems coalescing, and in the five years he figures it out. You have a couple of lines about gamma radiation and he’s eating pancakes, and off you go.”
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall of 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022.