Bruce Banner spends most of Avengers: Infinity War frustrated that the Hulk won’t come out and fight for him, and the film’s directors just revealed exactly why we never see the Incredible Hulk in the movie after his initial fight with Thanos. Quite simply, the Hulk is tired of fighting for people that don’t really care about him.

Spoilers follow for Avengers: Infinity War.

Anthony and Joe Russo appeared on a May 6 episode of Happy Sad Confused with Josh Horowitz to talk Infinity War spoilers, and during the episode, they broke down exactly why we got a lot more Banner and a lot less Hulk in Infinity War. Throughout the movie, Banner tries desperately to bring Hulk out, but the green guy refuses. But it’s not because the transformation mechanism isn’t working. “If the Hulk were to say why,” Joe Russo explained, “it’s that Banner only wants Hulk for fighting. He’s had enough of saving Banner’s ass.”

Thor and Hulk share a moment in 'Thor: Ragnarok'.
Thor and Hulk share a moment in 'Thor: Ragnarok'.

“People have interpreted as the Hulk’s scared,” Joe Russo mused, referring to how Thanos soundly defeated him in one-on-one combat in the film’s opening. “But it’s really reflective of his journey from Ragnarok, that these two characters are constantly in conflict with each other over control.” It has more to do with the internal conflict between Banner and Hulk than any bruised egos.

Banner expressed concern in Ragnarok that if he became the Hulk again, he might never revert, but that still happened in Infinity War anyway. Remember that also in Ragnarok, both Banner and Hulk accused Thor of only caring about their transformed counterpart. Hulk might lack Banner’s intelligence, but he’s smart enough to know that the other Avengers only use him for his brute strength. And similarly, when a fight happens, everyone pressures Banner to bring Hulk out. Does anybody really care about either of them?

On Sakaar, Hulk was basically worshipped as a celebrity which is why he didn’t really want to leave. It wasn’t until Thor convinced him they were friends that he agreed to help, but these days, Hulk is over being used and abused.

“We thought it’d be more interesting to explore Banner as a hero rather than someone that whines to get help from his alter-ego who he dislikes,” Joe Russo added. “The Hulk is not interested in helping [Banner] anymore. These two have reached an impasse with each other.”

'Avengers: Infinity War'
This epic shot from 'Avengers: Infinity War' never really happened.

The Russos also confirmed that Hulk’s appearance as part of the epic team-up shot in the Infinity War trailers was always intended to be a fake-out. Similarly, there were several toys that showed Banner transforming while inside the Hulkbuster armor.

The Hulk probably isn’t gone forever, but for the time being, he has no interest in helping Banner or his friends with any of this nonsense. We’ll find out when the untitled Avengers 4 movie hits theaters on May 4, 2019.

To hear more from the Russos as part of the interview, listen to the full episode on Spotify.