Hulk almost had a different scene involving the Time Stone in Avengers: Endgame. A large part of the final Avengers movie in the Infinity Gems saga involved a time heist, where the heroes used time travelling devices invented by Tony Stark to jump to different points in time in the past to retrieve the infinity stones before Thanos ever got his hands on them to create their own infinity gauntlet.

The scenes involving the various time heists featured a vast array of past and present MCU side characters, some of them interacting perhaps for the last time with the heroes, like Thor having a touching final scene with his mother Frigga, who is dead in the current timeline.

Perhaps the least interesting of the time heists involved The Hulk travelling to the past to recover the time stone from the sanctum of Dr. Strange's mentor, The Ancient One. Hulk encounters the master mystic and the two almost come to blows, before The Ancient One gets a sense of the importance of Hulk's mission, and willingly hands over the stone to him after delivering a brief lecture on how removing the stones from their timelines would affect past and future events.

Related: Avengers: Endgame Writers Reveal Hulk's Original Role in Infinity War

Now writers Crhistopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have revealed that they had initially planned a much more intense scene involving the retrieval of the Time Stone.

"At one point, we had a different way of getting to the Time Stone which involved some characters breaking into (Doctor Strange's) Sanctum Sanctorum and being pursued by all the weird stuff that happens to be trapped inside there. It was totally off story and unnecessary and it got cut, but it was fun to write."

So the initial idea was to have The Hulk play a much more proactive role in getting the stone than simply asking for the powerful artifact and basically having it handed over to him. It would have certainly been much more interesting to see him in one-on-one action, something that was sorely lacking in Avengers: Endgame. The most we got to see of Hulk in smash mode was working with the other heroes in the final stand against Thanos' army. It would have been interesting to see the new, intelligent Hulk use a combination of brains and brawn to take on whatever bizarre magical monstrosity he encountered in the home of the Sorcerer Supreme.

But the scene involving The Ancient One may ultimately have the greatest significance for the future of the MCU. As Tilda Swinton's character explained in the scene, the risk taken by The Avengers in going back in time to defeat Thanos would result in massive changes to the current timeline and create branched realities. We already saw a couple of examples of this new type of status quo where past and present characters slip in and out of time, like past Thanos arriving on present Earth to destroy the entire universe, or past Gamora taking the place of present, still-dead Gamora.

This gives Marvel greater license than ever to play fast and loose with character deaths and exits from their franchises. It's the cinematic version of a comic retcon, where a character can be removed at a certain point via a dramatic means like dying, only to return to the movies at some future date with a carelessly thrown out explanation about 'being from another timeline'. Basically, no character in the MCU need now stay permanently dead, as long as there's still life left in the actor's contract. This latest story comes from Beta.Canada.com.

Neeraj Chand