When Thanos snaps his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War and wipes out half the universe, he sees his adopted daughter Gamora in a vision. When Iron Man uses the Infinity Stones in Endgame he has a similar experience where he meets a grown-up version of his daughter (this scene was shot, cut from the movie, and later released as a bonus feature). So what does Bruce Banner/Hulk see when he uses the stone to undo Thanos' snap?
Last week, we shared a pretty convincing theory that Hulk saw Black Widow in his own Infinity Stone vision (which would explain how he knows Natasha is still dead), but the writers of Avengers: Endgame just offered up an even more satisfying explanation.
During a live watch-along event on Monday evening, Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely answered fan questions on Twitter about the movie. With Hulk's missing vision on my mind, I took a shot in the dark and asked what Bruce Banner sees after his own snap. The answer didn't disappoint.
"We did write one, a conversation between Hulk and Banner, but it didn't make it to camera," Markus wrote. "Ruffalo showed up but Hulk wouldn't come out of his trailer."
Jokes aside, that's a pretty compelling answer. Avengers: Endgame never really gives a satisfying explanation for how the Smart Hulk character came to be. Instead, he says a few words, and everyone just accepts it and moves on. ("Eighteen months in the gamma lab, I put the brains and the brawn together and now look at me. Best of both worlds.")
We never get to see the process that creates Smart Hulk, but showing a conversation between Bruce Banner and Incredible Hulk would have been the next best thing. It could have explained how the two warring identities found some equilibrium, and give fans some closure on exactly which parts of each character inform Smart Hulk's identity.
Over the weekend, Markus and McFeely also revealed that Avengers: Infinity War almost included a scene revealing how Smart Hulk came to be. Specifically, the Battle of Wakanda would have shown that transformation, rather than simply having Hulk refuse to join the fight against Thanos and his army.
"This scene did originally involve the birth of Smart Hulk," McFeely tweeted. "Filmed it and everything. Ruffalo was genius, arguing with himself. Didn't work for beans."
Ultimately, we never got any sort of on-screen depiction of Smart Hulk's creation. For now, we'll just have to take the character's word for it when he says he's the "best of both worlds," along with these unrealized scenes as described by Markus and McFeely.
At least until Hulk shows up again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, probably in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Avengers: Endgame is streaming now on Disney+.