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Why The Avengers: Endgame Trailers Don't Show Hulk

The official trailer for Avengers: Endgame is here, including plenty of footage we hadn't seen before. We saw Captain America with what appears to be his shield, we saw the surviving Avengers in snazzy spacesuits, and we saw everyone's favorite loudmouth raccoon hanging with War Machine and looking ready to tear someone a new black hole.

But who we didn't see — and who we haven't seen in any of the promo clips released so far — is the Avengers' emerald powerhouse, the Hulk. It's definitely worth noting that less than two months from the release of Endgame, we've still had no Hulk sightings. It's especially interesting when you consider the discrepancies between the marketing of 2018's Avengers: Infinity War and the film's actual release. In spite of Hulk appearing in the trailer as one of the combatants in the Battle of Wakanda, the green guy was absent for most of the movie. Once Thanos thrashed him on the Asgardian refugee ship, while we got plenty of Bruce Banner, the Hulk briefly appeared to tell Banner he had no interest in showing up, and that was it. In other words, fans want to see the Hulk maybe more than ever. So where is he?

Until Endgame arrives in theaters, there's no way to know for sure, but for now, here's a look at some of the most likely reasons you haven't seen Hulk in the Avengers: Endgame trailers.

He dies first

If the body count of Avengers: Endgame is anything like what we saw in Avengers: Infinity War – even if you only count the heroes who died outside of Thanos' purge — then there's no reason to assume the Hulk will survive the newer movie. You could argue that he has less chance of surviving Endgame than most. We haven't heard a lot about whether Mark Ruffalo plans to keep playing the character after Endgame, but we know the future looks bleak as far as any solo Hulk MCU outings, and we know Endgame marks the end of the "Hulk trilogy" that started with Thor: Ragnarok. So if there's a time to kill the Hulk, now seems like a pretty appropriate one. 

If Joe and Anthony Russo were to kill the Hulk, doing it early in the film might accomplish the same thing Hulk's beating at the hands of Thanos did in Infinity War. Having Thanos defeat the Avengers' toughest muscleman in the first few minutes of the film let audiences know what kind of threat the heroes were facing. The stakes are likely to be raised in Endgame, and it may be that the filmmakers decided the only thing more effective than having Thanos K.O. the Hulk in the first few minutes would be to have Thanos take Hulk out permanently. If that's the case, there might not be much Endgame footage that wouldn't spoil the hero's death — hence his absence from the trailers. 

Fearing another Aladdin backlash

When Disney released footage of Will Smith as Aladdin's blue-skinned genie, the online response was merciless. New York Times pop culture writer Kyle Buchanan, for example, wrote a series of tweets chronicling his freakout over the genie reveal, including gems like "The Will Smith genie makes me feel the same way I feel when a celebrity dies: Nauseous, sad, and like I can't wait to tell everybody about it." Hulk's absence from the trailers may have something to do with Disney fearing a similar backlash. 

Sure, we've seen the Ruffalo Hulk plenty of times, but there's a good chance the Hulk we see in Endgame will be different. With Banner and Hulk needing to work things out after the events of Infinity War, as well as supposedly leaked promo art including the Hulk appearing changed, there's a good chance we're going to be seeing an intelligent Hulk in Endgame — Hulk's body with Banner's mind. That might be something that takes getting used to. Even when he was first made to speak more than a few words in Thor: Ragnarok, Hulk spoke like you'd expect — like a caveman. But a Hulk with intelligence and the vocabulary of a scientific prodigy might be something the Russo brothers would rather you see first in context than in a commercial.

Managing expectations

In terms of the Hulk's appearance, Disney was a little mean to us when they released the Avengers: Infinity War trailers. Shots in the trailer clearly showed the Hulk alongside Captain America, Bucky, the Falcon, and other heroes charging Thanos' army in the Battle of Wakanda. Instead, the Hulk lost a fight to Thanos in the first few minutes of the film and that was it. Sure, Bruce Banner got to take a joyride in the Hulkbuster armor, but there wasn't much genuine Hulk-smashing in Avengers: Infinity War.

It may be that the Hulk isn't in the Endgame trailers because he's not in the movie much. Joe and Anthony Russo must know they disappointed fans with the marketing subterfuge of Infinity War and they may be trying to minimize the harm this time around. Keeping the Hulk out of the marketing could be a way to manage fan expectations for a film that is going to have a lot to do as far as resolving popular characters' stories, and might not have much time for the "Other Guy." 

It may be that this is precisely how Banner works things out with his larger counterpart. Just as he did in the Hulkbuster armor while facing Cull Obsidian in Infinity War, Banner may decide he doesn't need the Hulk anymore. We hope that isn't the case because Hulk is big and green and smashes stuff, but it would certainly make life easier for Banner.

A different shade?

While green is the color most often associated with the Hulk, over the years we've seen that green and gamma don't always have to go hand in hand. The Hulk was gray in his first 1962 comic book appearance, and in the late '80s that version of the Hulk made a successful return. In 2008 — the same year Marvel Studios released the first two MCU films, Iron Man and Incredible Hulk — Marvel Comics introduced the world to the Red Hulk, a more villainous Hulk with bright red skin. The original Red Hulk eventually turned out to be decades-old Hulk adversary Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (played by William Hurt in the MCU films), and later a second Red Hulk surfaced in the short-lived 2016 comic U.S.Avengers. This new version was General Robert Maverick, who would eventually have his powers drained from him by the freshly resurrected green Hulk in 2018's Avengers #685. 

It could be that the reason Marvel Studios has held back images of the Hulk from the Avengers: Endgame trailers is that they plan to premiere one of these non-green Hulks in Endgame and they don't want to spoil the reveal. Some might argue the change is actually two movies late. Originally the epic Hulk/Iron Man battle in Avengers: Age of Ultron was going to feature a gray Hulk, but the filmmakers bowed to fans who wanted to stick with green. 

Building to the 'I'm always angry' moment

The new Avengers: Endgame trailer included a lot of black-and-white flashes from earlier films, and casting our mind back to one of the first MCU blockbusters could tell us why Marvel Studios is hiding the Endgame Hulk from us. 

One of the most well-remembered moments of 2012's Avengers was Bruce Banner's classic "I'm always angry" line. With those words, Banner willed the Hulk out and one-shotted one of the massive space whales helping the Chitauri trash New York City. It was a huge, crowd-pleasing moment and it brought the team together at last after two hours of disparate adventures and bickering. While the green guy hadn't been in the movie much before that moment, after that classic line he stole the show. That mischievous grin after Cap told him to "smash," the Thor sucker punch, and of course the epic Loki thrashing remain fan favorite moments. Part of what made them so successful was the relative lack of Hulk in the rest of the movie. 

It may be that the Russos are building up their own version of the "I'm always angry" line. Maybe they plan to redeem the Hulk's absence and thrashing in Infinity War by giving the green guy the same kind of memorable moment he enjoyed in Avengers. In the meantime, maybe they're hoping the Hulk's absence from the marketing will make our hearts grow fonder — and our cheers that much louder.