Warning: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame.
The Hulk emerged from Avengers: Endgame as a far different character than the one we’d grown to love over the past decade. Taking a cue for the comics of the ’90s, he becomes “Professor Hulk,” combining the brawn of the Jade Giant with the brains and personality of Dr. Bruce Banner. And it is in fact the Hulk who brings back the dusted, helping to save the day. But at quite a cost, as the arm he held the Infinity Stones with now seems damaged for good. But are Banner’s injuries as permanent as they appear? According to director Joe Russo, the answer is yes.
Joe Russo, during a live Q&A event with ComicBook.com (via Slashfilm), went into detail about the extent of Hulk’s injuries sustained during the snap. “He’s lost an arm. He lost Natasha. That’s not coming back.” Russo revealed. “That’s permanent damage, the same way that it was permanent damage with Thanos. It’s irreversible damage. His arm, if you noticed, is a lot skinnier. It’s blackened. So, he loses a lot of strength there.”
Even if science can’t reverse what was done to Banner’s arm, this is a world where magic also exists. Could Doctor Strange help out with Hulk’s problem? The two are now acquainted after all, and in the comics the two have a long standing relationship as members of the Defenders. And with Namor maybe hinted in Endgame, maybe the Defenders are on their way to the MCU.
Nevertheless, Joe Russo made it pretty clear that whatever Hulk’s fate is now is no longer his problem. As far as he is concerned, he and his brother wrapped up Banner’s story. But he’s also aware that someone else might pick up this plot thread down the line. Russo left the door open for other creators, saying “there’s a lot of smart people left. Maybe someone helps him repair that. Maybe someone gives him a new arm. I have no idea where that character goes from here. The nice thing is we didn’t have to pay attention to where it goes after this, we just try to tell a satisfying ending.”
Images: Marvel Studios