There’s nothing fans love more than a good climactic rematch. But some fights just aren’t meant to happen.
One of those long-awaited fights, for people who enjoyed Avengers: Infinity War, is a rematch between Hulk and Thanos, a fight that was lightly foreshadowed via Hulk’s development in that film. But as viewers of Endgame know, that fight never happens, as the Hulk’s arc is shifted to the broader Smart Hulk arc early on in that movie. And according to the writers, that shift is precisely why that big fight never happened.
“I know a lot of people were saying they can’t wait for [the Hulk and Thanos] rematch. Well, that would’ve made sense had he not become Smart Hulk,” co-writer Stephen McFeely told Backstory Magazine, as reported by Comic Book Resources. “He’s a whole different thing, and that’s not what drives him. So we never thought, ‘Oh, he really is trying to get a crack at Thanos now.’”
Which raises a question that I’ve been wondering about ever since this whole Smart Hulk thing was revealed. What happened to the original Hulk? The distinct personality that governed the Other Guy from his first appearance in the MCU up through Infinity War where he last showed up? When Banner integrated his own personality with the Hulk transformation, where did that guy go? Is his personality still lurking around somewhere in Banner’s head, hidden for now? Or did he just disappear? Dude has unfinished business, development that didn’t quite get done. I’d like to see him again.