Shang-Chi post-credits scene fixes the worst part of Avengers: Endgame
“I see this as an absolute win!”
Shang-Chi is finally on Disney+ so there’s never been a better time to revisit the Marvel movie’s excellent post-credits scene. Unlike Eternals, which stays self-contained even after the credits roll, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings uses its finest moments to connect directly to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the process, it undoes one of the most annoying things about Avengers: Endgame.
Warning! Spoilers for Shang-Chi ahead.
Shang-Chi’s post-credits scene, explained
At the end of Shang-Chi, Wong makes his second cameo of the movie, this time grabbing Shang-Chi and Katy (Aquafina) and dragging them through a portal to meet the Avengers. Specifically, we see Captain Marvel and Bruce Banner, who appear via holograms to discuss the importance of the Ten Rings.
There’s a lot happening here, including the reveal that the Ten Rings contain a beacon that’s either emitting or receiving a mysterious signal no one understands. But the most important detail has nothing to do with Shang-Chi’s magic bracelets.
Instead, we need to talk about the Hulk. Or more specifically, the lack of Hulk in Shang-Chi’s post-credits scene.
How Shang-Chi changes Avengers: Endgame
One of the most intriguing ideas in Avengers: Endgame was “Smart Hulk,” who claimed to have the brains of Bruce Banner and the brawn of the Hulk. But the movie never really explains what that meant, and the obvious implication was that Bruce basically erased his counterpoints distinct personality and took over the green guy’s body.
Marvel also squandered multiple opportunities to clearly explain the origins of Smark Hulk. A deleted scene from the third Avengers movie showed Black Widow meetings Smart Hulk right after the team was defeated by Thanos. In Endgame, after Smart Hulk uses the Infinity Stones to undo Thanos’ Snap, we were supposed to see a conversation between Hulk and Banner play out. That never happened either.
In other words, we still don’t really understand Smart Hulk, but Shang-Chi sidesteps the entire problem. Thanks to the movie’s post-credits scene, we can rest easy knowing regular old Bruce Banner is back. (And hopefully, that means the Incredible Hulk is back too.)
Why is Bruce Banner back in Shang-Chi’s post-credits?
The short answer is: we have no idea. But the slightly longer answer is: we might have a clue.
In a recent interview, Eternals co-screenwriter Matthew Firpo told ScreenRant why none of the Avengers show up in his movie. In the process, he drops a clue about Banner and Hulk.
"I think in terms of the timeline, we just lost Tony, we just lost Cap, Natasha's gone, Hulk is currently working on himself I think to make himself human rather than Smart Hulk, so I think that all the Avengers were just pretty busy."
Of course, Firpo could just be guessing. There’s no reason to believe anyone at Marvel told him what Hulk has been up to since the character has no role at all in Eternals. Then again, it’s also possible he could have some inside information.
Shang-Chi post-credits: One more Hulk theory
We do have a theory of our own about Bruce Banner’s return, and it has everything to do with a totally different Marvel story.
In the comics, Jennifer Walers becomes She-Hulk after receiving a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner. We know Banner will appear in the upcoming She-Hulk show on Disney+ so it seems likely we’ll see this play out in live-action. For Bruce to give blood he probably can’t be in Hulk form, right?
But regardless of the reason why, the important thing is that Smart Hulk is gone. And to that we say: Good riddance Smark Hulk, we hardly knew ye.
Shang-Chi is streaming now on Disney+.