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The Russo Brothers Reveal The Unexpected Reason Hulk Is Sidelined In Avengers: Endgame

Ah, Marvel's Smart Hulk. Or as some people call him, Professor Hulk. But let's refer to the big green guy's role in "Avengers: Endgame" as it really should be described — Sidelined Hulk. For many moviegoers, not having Mark Ruffalo's Incredible One gamma-raging on folks and going berserk in 2019's "Endgame" really left a sour taste in their mouths, especially since we barely got any Hulk scenes in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War." But apparently, the Russo Brothers had a specific reason for doing this. 

"Endgame still p***es me off," wrote Twitter user @mluko3 in June 2021. "Sidelined my boy for 2 whole movies." About two years before that, another user, @Macriley_Marvel, commented, "NO ONE likes endgame hulk NO ONE, the Russos' ruined [his] character and made him a comedic joke! We didn't even get to see the merge and hulks FULL strength."

Speaking to WIRED as part of their "Web's Most Searched Questions" YouTube series, the Russo Brothers recently opened up about several different things related to "Endgame," the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, and their filmmaking careers. The topic of Professor Hulk came up towards the end of the interview, with the directors being presented with the question, "Why do the Russo Brothers hate the Hulk?" Their reasoning behind going with the weakened version of the character was simple — and brutally honest.

The Russo Brothers just didn't know what to do with the Hulk in Avengers: Endgame

According to the Russo Brothers, there just wasn't anything available creatively for the OG Hulk to do in "Avengers: Endgame" that would have helped advance the story. "We nerfed the Hulk," joked Joseph Russo in the interview with WIRED. "We just didn't know what to do with him," he added. "We were like, 'What, this big powerful character ... what do we do with this big, powerful character?'"

When the Russos were initially planning the two-part Infinity Saga finale, the scripts had called for Mark Ruffalo's Hulk to go through his entire Smart Hulk character arc in "Infinity War," with him merging himself with the Marvel beast in the film's third act during the Battle of Wakanda, rather than in "Endgame." Screenwriter Christopher Markus told Polygon in 2019, "We wrote it, we shot it, and went on to shoot most of Endgame, and he achieved union with the Hulk while inside the Hulkbuster. He kicked Cull Obsidian's a**. But it didn't work. It was the wrong tone for the movie." If the Russos had gone ahead with these initial plans, who knows what Hulk fans could have gotten treated to in "Endgame"?