Why Isn't The Hulk In 'Civil War'? Almost Every Other Hero Is...

The battlefield will be crowded when Captain America: Civil War opens on May 6. But one of the few Avengers who are skipping that little kerfuffle is Bruce Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk. Mark Ruffalo won't be appearing in Civil War as the scientist with a big, green attitude problem. So fans will never know for sure which side Dr. Banner would have fallen on in the Team Cap/Team Iron Man divide. Black Widow, Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, War Machine, Hawkeye — the list of cast members goes on and on. I won't believe, then, that there was simply no room for Bruce. So what's the story? Why isn't the Hulk in Captain America: Civil War ?

If Hulk did show up in Civil War, his old war buddies would be surprised to see him. You probably remember that Bruce flew himself far away from his fellow Avengers at the end of Age Of Ultron, fearing that his little problem would eventually hurt more people, including love interest Natasha. She gets the word that the GPS on Bruce's quinjet showed that he touched down near Fiji, presumably to find another hideaway like the one she found him in in the first Avengers movie. They could go looking for him, but Natasha knows that he doesn't want them to.

Of course, it's public information that Ruffalo will be making his return as that character in Thor: Ragnarok . (Suggested subtitle: Big Guys In Space.) So by now means have Marvel fans seen the last of Bruce. Why then, is he sidelined for Civil War? Maybe the mai tais are just too good? Has he started running a successful snorkeling business for tourists?

Last December, the co-screenwriter of Civil War gave Entertainment Weekly the skinny (the irony!) on why neither Thor or the Hulk are on the call sheet for Civil War. "You put those guys in a fight, it’s over quickly," Christopher Markus told the magazine. "It’s like, ‘Well, we have the Hulk on our side.’ Oh, fine, then." I mean...true enough. But Hulk hasn't meant instant victory for his side in the past; otherwise Avengers movies wouldn't clock in at over two and a half hours. With Thor on one side and Hulk on the other, I think it could be a pretty fair fight. Marcus and his collaborator Stephen McFeely also noted to the magazine that Hulk doesn't have a role in the Civil War comic series this Marvel episode is based on.

The characters' absence hasn't prevented fans from arguing over whose team they'd choose for the intra-superhero fight. Some of the cast and creative team of Civil War participated in a Buzzfeed fan Q&A recently, and were inevitably hit with that question. For the record, Cap actor Chris Evans thinks Bruce would pick Tony's side since "they have Scarlett [Johansson]" — a nod to the budding romance between the Hulk and Black Widow. Co-director Joe Russo disagrees, saying that he "can't imagine" Ruffalo's character giving his loyalty to Team Iron Man and the government after how the latter has always sought to lock him up and control him.

"Science Bros" on opposite teams? Perish the thought. Maybe it's a good thing that the Hulk will be sitting this movie out.

Images: Walt Disney Studios; Giphy (3)