WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.
In the lead-up to the release of Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War, fans began speculating which fan-favorite characters would appear over the course of highly anticipated Avengers sequel, and when. You'd think, based on certain trailers, we'd at least get a Hulk smash (or two) in the final Wakanda fight scene. However, we did not get this.
Fueled by the Hulk being seen in trailers and promos, it was assumed by many that Bruce Banner's alter ego would burst from the Hulkbuster armor during the climactic battle in Wakanda and help turn the tide of battle only to be surprised when the Jade Giant angrily refuses to emerge and save Banner once again.
Appearing Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at an event sponsored by Smithsonian Associates, the educational programming branch of the Smithsonian, directors Joe and Anthony Russo revealed their rationale from keeping Banner from transforming into the Hulk during Infinity War's climax.
Joe Russo admitted, while both siblings are big fans of the Hulk themselves, they felt audiences had grown accustomed to seeing the Hulk to emerge at the last minute and save the day and decided they should turn that expectation on its head. While many fans predicted Hulk would emerge for a rematch with Thanos in the final battle, the filmmakers instead gave Banner a moment of self-empowerment as the bookish scientist is forced to step up and face down the Mad Titan himself instead of relying on the Hulk saving him once again.
The brothers then confirmed earlier reports that the Hulk's inclusion in clips of the final battle seen in trailers and promos was a conscious effort to keep fans guessing how the events of the film would unfold.
When pressed if the Hulk would make his full return in next year's Avengers 4, Anthony Russo merely shrugged and refused to answer if Bruce Banner and the Hulk would work out their "performance issues."
Check back later CBR's full report of the Russo Brothers' Smithsonian presentation.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Infinity War stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Tom Hiddleston, and Josh Brolin. The film is in theaters now.