Mark Ruffalo Reveals Hulk’s Original Role in Avengers: Infinity War Climax

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo changed their Hulk plans while shooting Avengers: Infinity War. For Mark Ruffalo, that's the magic of Marvel movie-making.

Infinity War Cast
Photo: Marvel

If you remember the ad campaigns for Avengers: Infinity War, the commercials promised a very different climax. The trailer showed a team of heroes running along the fields of Wakanda, wading into battle against the hordes of Thanos. Led by Captain America and T’Challa, they rushed into the fight, joined by Okoye, Bucky, Black Widow, War Machine, and the Hulk. And yet, when audiences sat down to watch the climactic fight scene, they didn’t see the Hulk among them. Rather, it was Bruce Banner in Hulkbuster armor.

The armor was the result of a subplot throughout the Phase Three capping film, in which Hulk refused to come out after getting brutally beaten by Thanos at the start of Infinity War. Throughout the movie, Banner argues with “the other guy,” trying to Hulk out to help his fellow Avengers. For reasons that only make sense to Kevin Feige, the plot point resolves itself off-screen between movies, as he pops up in Avengers: Endgame at peace with both sides of himself and in the form of Smart Hulk.

But early versions of Infinity War saw the Hulk subplot resolve in a more spectacular manner. Speaking candidly to attendees at Emerald City Comic Con (via Popverse), Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo revealed that during shooting, “Hulk was supposed to come busting out of the Hulkbuster at the end and we shot that, we shot it four times and it wasn’t working.” More specifically, Ruffalo explained, directors Joe and Anthony Russo realized that “we couldn’t have Hulk save the day again, and we had to have Banner… lose.”

For Ruffalo, the story change is an example of the organic storytelling the Marvel method provides, something that undercuts the popular image of a meticulously planned universe, heavily managed by Feige. “That was the kind of thing where it was in the script one way for two years, and then when we came to shoot it,” said the actor. “We decided it would be better if Hulk didn’t show up, and Banner had to try to make friends with him to get him to show up.”

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As this example shows, Marvel movies involve a process. “Before we shoot any of these movies, we’re always sitting down with Feige, and he’s like, ‘What do you guys want to do in this next round? Where would you like to go? What would you like to see happen?’” explained Ruffalo. “I think that keeps things lively and interesting for you, and lively and interesting for us, which is what makes good cinema, I think.”