Avengers: Infinity War director Joe Russo has finally revealed why Bruce Banner couldn’t get the Hulk to fight and the reason may affect the big green guy’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward. (And no, it’s not because Loki was posing as Bruce Banner the whole time, though that is an interesting theory. As is this one about Loki.)
Speaking on the movie’s commentary bonus feature, director Joe Russo went into detail saying the Hulk’s reticence had very little to do with the beatdown Thanos gave him at the beginning of the film and more to do with the evolving relationship with his alter ego Bruce Banner.
“This was an interesting journey we went on with Banner, trying to decide how we move him forward in the Marvel Universe,” explained Russo. “What makes him unique as a character is that there is a host body that is being fought over by two distinct personalities who hate each other. And both want control of the host body. So we thought an interesting direction to take him in is what if Banner, who typically uses the Hulk to solve crisis situations, what if the Hulk were no longer interested in solving those problems for Banner? So that the relationship is becoming increasingly dysfunctional. That’s what’s going on here.”
But what about Thanos? Was the Hulk scared to take on the mad Titan after his crushing defeat?
“People have speculated whether there was some fear on the Hulk’s part about having to face Thanos again,” said Russo. “But I think ultimately what it is, is that he’s tired of playing hero to Bruce Banner.”
That actually makes sense. I mean, how would you like it if someone (Bruce Banner) was constantly trying to keep you (Hulk) from appearing except when things get really desperate and he needs you to keep saving his butt only to send you away over and over? That would get old.
“What makes him unique as a character is that there’s a host body that is being fought over by two distinct personalities who hate each other. Both want control of the host body,” Russo explained further. “We thought an interesting direction to take him in is, well, what if Banner, who typically uses the Hulk to solve crisis situations, what if the Hulk were no longer interested in solving those problems for Banner? So, the relationship is becoming increasingly dysfunctional and that’s what’s going on here.”
So there you go. After all, there’s no way the Hulk was scared. As Russo stated awhile back on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, “I don’t know that the Hulk is ever [scared of anything]. [Hulk has] 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.”