Avengers: Infinity War screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus say Thanos (Josh Brolin) doesn't need a boost from the Power Stone or other Infinity Stones to beat the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
"I may be speaking out of turn, I think Thanos could kick the Hulk's ass without the stone," McFeely told Collider, to agreement from Markus.
Hulk was first seen in Infinity War bursting into frame and attacking Thanos after Loki (Tom Hiddleston) declared "We have a Hulk," but where was the green goliath during the Black Order's attack on the Asgardian refugees?
"In the bathroom," Markus joked. "You gotta go, you gotta go," McFeely said.
"He's Hulk," Markus added. "It takes a while."
More seriously, Markus said it was "absolutely for dramatic effect."
"It was also a plan on their part," he added. "I think they were getting Thanos into position, and then giving [Hulk] the best chance."
"It's sort of the design of that opening scene, we want to make it clear you're not in your father's Oldsmobile," McFeely said.
"We want to announce Thanos as the biggest villain in the MCU, he takes out the previous reigning champion, and by defeating Hulk relatively savagely and easily, hopefully there's a sense of dread over the course of the rest of the movie for anyone who will come up against him, and so that's just sort of a scene design."
After his beatdown in the earliest moments of Infinity War and subsequent escape to Earth, the 'strongest Avenger' then spends the rest of the conflict seemingly too afraid to Hulk out — leaving human alter ego Bruce Banner to play the hero.
"I think people have interpreted it as Hulk's scared," director Joe Russo told the Happy Sad Confused podcast.3comments
"He's had his ass kicked before, and he loves a good fight. But I think that it's really reflective of the journey from Ragnarok," he explained. "These two characters are constantly in conflict with each other over control. And I think that if the Hulk were to say why, it'd be Banner only wants Hulk for fighting. I think he's had enough of saving Banner's ass."
Ruffalo next appears in the yet-to-be-named Avengers 4, out May 3, 2019.