Avengers: Infinity War has brought up more than a few debates, but screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have now revealed that Thanos would've beat the Hulk even if he didn't have the Infinity Gauntlet with the Power Stone, fueling more debate. The opening scene takes place on the Asgardian refugee ship after Thanos and his Black Order have taken it over to locate the Tesseract. In a last ditch effort to defeat Thanos, Loki sends the Hulk into a rage to fight. However, the fight doesn't go in the Hulk's favor.
Stephen McFeely believes that the Mad Titan would've destroyed the Hulk with his own bare hands in Infinity War. This would explain why Ebony Maw allows the fight to continue and makes the scene look like Thanos was just having some fun, like a cat playing with a mouse. Looking back at the scene, Maw and Thanos are pretty calm, even when it appears that the Hulk has the upper hand in the battle. McFeely had this to say when asked if Thanos could still beat Hulk without help.
"I think he could. I may be speaking out of turn, but I think Thanos could kick the Hulk's ass without the (Power Stone)."
However, the opening Infinity War scene wasn't just to show that Thanos could beat the Hulk. Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus wanted to establish the fact that Thanos is the biggest villain in the entire MCU. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige revealed early on that the first 5 minutes of Infinity War would show off the immense power of the Mad Titan and he was not kidding around. McFeely explains.
"We want to announce Thanos as the biggest villain in the MCU, so he takes out the previous reigning champion. And by defeating Hulk relatively easily and savagely, hopefully there's a sense of dread over the course of the rest of the movie for anyone else who comes up against him."
Establishing the dark tone of Infinity War right away was a gamble, but right from the start, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know that the stakes are very real. Thanos was able to easily wipe the floor with the Hulk and then kills Loki right in front of Thor. All of this comes after the Mad Titan and his Black Order killed off half of the refugees of Asgard on the ship, which is not shown on screen.
While the stakes were high in Infinity War, it isn't clear which deaths will remain permanent when Avengers 4 hits theaters next May. While most of the deaths will be reversed in some fashion, the recently released synopsis for Avengers 4 mentions "fragile realities" and "sacrifice," making it look like some of the Avengers will give up their lives to save the lives of many. You can watch the rest of the interview with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely at Collider.