When the massive Captain America: Civil War cast was announced, one character was conspicuously missing: Hulk. Since then we’ve heard from Robert Downey, Jr. that Hulk is in the movie, then that he wasn’t in the movie, then maybe he’s in the movie? Now star Mark Ruffalo is here to clear the air; Hulk is NOT in Captain America: Civil War and he’s going to explain why.

Despite reports that he was seen on the German set of Captain America: Civil War, Ruffalo says he won’t be seen in the final film and it’s because Marvel has something much bigger up their sleeve. In an Italian interview (translation via Slashfilm), Ruffalo explains:

Because he’s still missing, and it’s unknown where he is. I thought that I would be in the film, but in the end they evidently believed that the reveal of what happened to the Hulk was too big, and Marvel wants to save that information for later. My character had been in the script, but then he got removed. Who knows, maybe the Hulk will never return. They want to keep the revelation of what happened to him a secret, because it’s something really big.

[UPDATE: Huffington Post talked to the film’s writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who said that Hulk was originally going to be part of the Captain America: Civil War post-credits scene, but was cut from the script for the reasons Ruffalo states above.]

This at least explains why Robert Downey, Jr. had told Ruffalo he was in the movie and where the earlier confusion came from. While we’re disappointed we won’t see Hulk’s return, the rationale certainly makes sense.

Where Hulk has gone to and his current status is one of the biggest mysteries/cliffhangers in the Marvel universe and to try to explain his whereabouts and subsequent return in an already packed Captain America movie would be doing this storyline a big disservice.

Exactly what the “really big” reveal of what happened to Hulk is or will be remains to be seen. We do know that Ruffalo, and Hulk, will co-star in Thor: Ragnarok, which has been described as an action-comedy buddy movie.

Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters on May 6.

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