Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings finally hit theaters everywhere and Marvel fans and critics alike are both loving the latest entry into the MCU. Not only did the new film earn a 92% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes after 224 reviews, but it also has a 99% audience score after 1,000+ reviews. The movie features two post-credit scenes, and one will especially delight any fan of the franchise. Warning: Shang-Chi spoilers ahead... In the movie's mid-credits scene, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) are taken by Wong (Benedict Wong) to have a chat with two pretty surprising guest stars... Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). However, there's something about Bruce's appearance that has fans confused...
In Avengers: Endgame, Bruce transforms into Professor Hulk, a combo of himself and the Hulk. He remains that way for the entire film with the exception of the moment the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) projects Bruce's astral form from Hulk's body when he goes to 2012 to retrieve the Time Stone. However, at the end of Shang-Chi, he's seen as Bruce again. His arm is still in a sling from when he used the Infinity Stones to snap everyone back, there's no further explanation for his appearance.
A simple explanation could be that Carol and Bruce are using the same hologram system they used for communication in Avengers: Endgame, and maybe Bruce is just altering his appearance. If you can become a cat on Zoom in real life, why not alter your look for a hologram chat? However, that seems unlikely as Marvel doesn't usually do anything without a good reason. Now that the MCU has entered the multiverse, there's always the chance that this could be another version of the character. On the other hand, Bruce looked pretty worn down in the scene, so our best guess is that he's the version we know, but has gone through some struggles in order to get himself back to his old form.
No matter the reason for Bruce's appearance, it's likely we'll get an explanation in the upcoming Disney+ series, She-Hulk, which is set to feature Ruffalo. The show will star Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, a New York City lawyer whose life is changed after she gets into an accident, leading to her receiving a blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner. As a result, Jennifer develops her own iteration of Hulk powers. Perhaps Bruce had to change himself back in order to help his cousin?
Do you have any guesses as to why Ruffalo appeared as Bruce and not Professor Hulk in Shang-Chi? Tell us in the comments!
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now playing in theaters. She-Hulk has yet to get a release date from Disney+, but will likely premiere sometime in 2022.