Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) had no shortage of entertaining moments in Avengers: Endgame, but it sounds like one of the most amusing ones was unplanned. During Endgame‘s recently-released commentary track, the film’s writers and directors spoke about the scene where some of the Avengers travel back in time to the Battle of New York, and “Smart Hulk” being unhappy with having to impersonate his former self. As it turns out, Banner’s reaction to that – that he was embarrassed to be acting in such an uncivilized way – was improvised by Ruffalo.
“I can’t remember, was this scripted?” co-director Joe Russo asked.
“Yeah.” co-writer Stephen McFeely answered.
“I just remember one of our stunt players going ape (BLEEP) as the original Hulk,” Russo added.
“No, yeah, the idea was that Hulk was gonna do something awful and embarrass the heck out of Smart Hulk,” McFeely echoed.
“This half-hearted growling from Ruffalo is exquisite,” co-writer Christopher Markus added.
“Yeah, an act.” Russo revealed. “That was an improv on the motion capture stage I believe. It used to end with just him saying, ‘I’m sort of embarrassed, it’s gratuitous’ and then he would just jump away.”
The transition into “Smart Hulk” was essentially several films in the making, with Banner and Hulk being at war with each other in one way or another since 2012’s Avengers. Still, it’s hard to deny that the five-year time jump saw a pretty drastic development in Hulk’s story, something that the creative team took into consideration.
“We sat in a room and went, ‘Let’s go one year later. No, no let’s go two. No, four! Five! Let’s make sure we have enough distance that people can change in that time,'” Joe Russo told ComicBook.com earlier this year. “And now you’ve sat with it so long that it’s become part of who you are as a person. It’s not a year later, it’s five years later. Families have started, like Robert [Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark]. This is my long-winded way of getting to the Hulk which is Banner reflects over that five year period about ‘The two of us have been fighting over this host body for years and we lost because we were fighting. It was selfish of us to fight over the host body.’ So the only natural progression forward for someone as intelligent as Banner to resolve the situation is ‘Let’s merge ourselves. Let’s quit fighting over the host body and just merge.'”
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall of 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If…? In Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.
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