I found the dialogue in The Avengers very confusing when Agent Coulson explains to Captain America how Doctor Banner was working on the serum of Dr. Erskine.

STEVE: So, this Doctor Banner was trying to replicate the serum that was used on me?

COULSON: A lot of people were. You were the world's first superhero. Banner thought gamma radiation might hold the key to unlocking Erskine's original formula.

STEVE: Didn't really go his way, did it?

COULSON: Not so much. When he's not that thing though, guy's like a Stephen Hawking.

For someone who did not see The Incredible Hulk, it would look like Bruce Banner was working in replicating the serum, when that is totally false. It was actually deceived by Thunderbolt Ross, clearly stated on the film:

THUNDERBOLT ROSS: Banner's work was very early phase. It wasn't even weapons application. He thought he was working on radiation resistance

Either I'm totally wrong here and I didn't understand the dialogue, or Agent Coulson was explaining himself in a very S.H.I.E.L.D way, which basically means to hide the truth from Captain America, or the whole dialogue does not make any sense. Bruce was never working in replicating the serum, that was the hiding intention of Thunderbolt Ross.

1 Answer 1


Coulson is being truthful here. What you’ve misunderstood is what Ross is saying in The Incredible Hulk. He is saying that what they told Banner he was working on was radiation resistance when in fact they actually had him trying to recreate the super soldier serum. Everything Coulson says is true, Banner was trying to recreate the formula, he just thought the formula was for something else because Ross lies to him.

  • then, if he did not know, why Coulson says: Banner thought gamma radiation might hold the key to unlocking Erskine's original formula. He though that working in a super soldier formula was for something else than for military uses ?? I don't believe he was so naive Sep 28, 2020 at 12:25
  • @RobertoHernandez: "I don't believe he was so naive" — he was similarly oblivious to Romanov being into him, for what it's worth. Sep 28, 2020 at 12:49
  • @PaulD.Waite he could be naïve for emotional issues ( he is a scientist, so probably for matters of the heart he might be slow ), but for something that is his life, if he knew he was working with Erskine formula, what else could be the use of that ? That for me is not well explained in the MCU. Sep 28, 2020 at 12:59
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    @RobertoHernandez: sure, you do have a point. Maybe he wasn't aware of Dr Erskine, and the purpose of the formula, despite working on it. Maybe he was told that the serum was designed to produce radiation resistance. (It might even have actually improved radiation resistance a bit, along with all the other effects.) Sep 28, 2020 at 14:20
  • Perhaps Professor Yatz was working on that formula as well. Sep 28, 2020 at 17:12

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