Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Avengers: Infinity War
Director Joe Russo explains why the need to misdirect fans regarding Hulk's participation in Avengers: Infinity War's climactic battle in Wakanda. Already out for more than a week, the conversation surrounding Avengers 3 doesn't look like it's going to die down any time soon. Following the discussion that revolved around Infinity War's cliffhanger ending, and other iconic moments in the movie, fans are now starting to analyze the film's finer details, including the funny but equally frustrating state of relationship between Bruce Banner and the Hulk.
Marvel Studios and the Russos went to great lengths just to preserve all of the film's twists and turns, including not screening the movie in its entirety until its the night of its premiere, which was only days before it debuted worldwide. The directors also opted to not giving actors full scripts (ironically, including Mark Ruffalo), with others even getting fake ones. Furthermore, they incorporated sneaky misdirects into the promotional materials for the film, such as in trailers and even via Infinity War tie-in merchandise specifically for the Hulk.
In a recent Q&A with NPR’s Linda Holmes at George Washington University (via Fansided), Anthony and Joe Russo discussed some of the highlights in Infinity War with fans. One question revolved around the money shot from the trailers in which the Hulk is seen charging into battle with the other heroes, something that didn't end up in the final cut of the film. In fact, the Hulk was a no-show throughout the movie following his opening one-on-one fight with Thanos, leaving Banner having to use the Hulkbuster to help his friends. Joe Russo explained: “We have to be careful with the character of Banner. Because if every time he’s in trouble Hulk saves him, Hulk becomes the hero and he becomes whiny. We wanted to force Banner to be the hero."
Joe Russo expanded on this point during a recent appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, saying,
I think people have interpreted it as Hulk’s scared. I mean, certainly, that’s not a — I don’t know that the Hulk is ever… he’s had his ass kicked before, and he loves a good fight. But I think that it’s really reflective of the journey from Ragnarok. Is that these two characters are constantly in conflict with each other over control. And I think that if the Hulk were to say why, it’d be [that] Banner only wants Hulk for fighting. I think he’s had enough of saving Banner’s ass.
Avengers: Infinity War is meant to be the second film in a three-film-arc for Bruce Banner/Hulk following Thor: Ragnarok, so there's certainly much more to be told regarding Bruce Banner and the Hulk. It's uncertain how this saga between the two entities will end up, but with Avengers 4 being the final part of the thrilling personal narrative (and of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first saga), there's a good chance that the Hulk will finally show up next summer, especially since the forthcoming movie seems to set up an original Avengers reunion.
It's no secret that the Russo brothers deliberately misdirected fans with trailers to stay ahead of them. In fact, that whole running shot wasn't in the film at all - something that some people have already previously speculated about being nothing but a promotional shot. In the directors' defense, their decision is understandable since they wanted to maintain as much secrecy as possible throughout the marketing campaign. But still, there's a fine line between misdirecting and misleading that they should keep in mind for Avengers 4.
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- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019