PLEASE BE AWARE THE BELOW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: ENDGAME
Fans were speculating what would become of Bruce Banner and the Hulk in Avengers: Endgame given the characters arc in Infinity War. The 2 were struggling to co-exist, perhaps more than ever, so much so that Hulk refused to fight during the final battle on Wakanda. As we now know, Endgame introduces Professor Hulk/Smart Hulk to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, combining the brain of Bruce Banner with the brawn of the Hulk. But as revealed by the screenwriters behind both Infinity War and Endgame, “there was a time when Banner became Smart Hulk in the first movie”, but the idea was scrapped. Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus broke the news during their interview with the New York Times and you can see what they had to say below.
MARKUS There was a time when Banner became Smart Hulk in the first movie. It was a lot of fun, but it came at the wrong moment. It was an up, right when everyone else was down.
McFEELY It happened in Wakanda. His arc was designed like, I’m not getting along with the Hulk, the Hulk won’t come out. And then they compromise and become Smart Hulk.
MARKUS We were like, but he’s Smart Hulk in the next movie. So that diner scene [in Endgame], was like, O.K., how do we smash right into that without scenes of him in a lab, gene-splicing?
McFEELY Oh, I wrote scenes in a lab. Now it’s just him eating pancakes and I think it generally works.
MARKUS The whole thing rides on Rudd going, “I’m so confused.”