Even though Smart Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) was one of the most anticipated parts of Avengers: Endgame, it seems the character wasn't always huge with fans and critics. As revealed in the director's commentary on Avengers: Endgame, the Bruce Banner/Hulk mashup was initially supposed to take place during the third act of Avengers: Infinity War. At one point, Banner and Hulk were going to make amends and bust out of the Hulk armor to destroy Cull Obsidian. That was, of course, until the earliest test audiences weren't big fans of that plot point in Infinity War.
"Yes, we called him Smart Hulk throughout the shoot. I guess its okay to talk about how his arc, this event, the creation of Smart Hulk, used to take place in Infinity War," writer Stephen McFeely explained. "He was fighting in Wakanda. The whole arc of the story was Banner and Hulk were not getting along. Hulk wouldn't come out to help him. And at his hour of greatest need, they make some sort of compromise, and Smart Hulk rips out of the armor and beats the crap out of Cull Obsidian and destroys him."
McFeely explains that "this weird success" didn't fit in tonally with the rest of the grim destruction found everywhere else in Infinity War's closing moments. "The movie needed to just stay in its succession of losses in the third act, which meant some hustling on the part of VFX late in the game," McFeely continued.
That's when Joe Russo admits none of the test audiences "would accept it" saying it happened too quickly.
"Imagine before Thanos shows up, we had a scene where Hulk comes out of the bushes, and Natasha says, 'Hey, big guy, sun's getting low,'" Mcfeely said. "And he says, 'Oh Natasha, that's not… We don't need that now, and speaks in perfect English, and you're supposed to be kind of delighted and jarred by it, and then they're all gonna get dusted. It was just tonally off."
Avengers: Infinity War is now streaming on Netflix while Avengers: Endgame is now available digitally ahead of a home media release on August 13th.
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 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, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.