Hulk was always going to be the one to execute the second snap that would’ve undone Thanos’ Decimation in Avengers: Endgame. Following the Avengers’ successful Time Heist mission (despite the death of Black Widow), the team gathered back at the HQ in 2023 to assemble a brand new gauntlet that would hold all Infinity Stones. Ultimately, Smart Hulk did the honor of snapping his fingers, successfully resurrecting all those who perished five years prior in Avengers: Infinity War.
At that point, it had been established how wielding the power of all six Infinity Stones at once can result to permanent physical injury, evidence by Thanos’ burnt left arm after he clicked his fingers. So, naturally, the heroes needed their strongest ally to enact the snap for them. And while there was a short commotion on who should do it, the film’s directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, revealed that it was always going to be the Hulk.
Hosting a Reddit Ask Me Anything event, the filmmakers were asked if they considered any other hero “to snap people back or was it always the hulk?” Anthony took on the query and replied, “No, it was always going to be the Hulk.” He didn’t get into specifics on this narrative decision, but fans in the thread quickly made sense of their choice since Thor: Ragnarok established that he’s the strongest Avenger.
It’s no secret that Smart Hulk was supposed to debut during Avengers: Infinity War‘s Wakanda battle, but Marvel Studios scrapped the idea after it didn’t fit well with the pacing and tone of the movie. After his brutal one-on-one fight with Thanos at the beginning, the green-rage monster was a no-show until Avengers: Endgame‘s five-year time-jump. By then, Bruce Banner had found a way to integrate both of his personas together, resulting in a being with the consciousness of the brilliant physicist and his alter-ego – “best of both worlds,b” as he called his current state.
Then again, despite having the strength of the Hulk, the film has yet to see him use it before he enacted the second snap. The character was mostly utilized for his brains, helping to figure out the Time Heist and explaining how time travel doesn’t really work the way it did in Back to the Future. And since they already rid him of his prowess in Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame highlighted his physical capabilities; and what better way to do that than to wield the power of all six Infinity Stones and bring back half of the population to life?
On top of that, it was also a subtle character arc loop. Having always wondered what the purpose of his gamma radiation mishap that brought out the Hulk was, the line, “I was made for this,” as he assumed the responsibility of putting on the glove, was monumental to his personal journey. No word yet on when he’ll pop out in the MCU again after Avengers: Endgame has been revealed, but fans can expect Smart Hulk to still be involved in the universe moving forward.
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Source: Joe and Anthony Russo