As a founder member of the Avengers, one might assume that less-than-jolly green giant Hulk would be a key part of upcoming sequel Endgame – but so far there’s been no sign of Bruce Banner’s alter ego in any trailers or posters, with only Bruce himself (as played by Mark Ruffalo) a part of the mix.
In a way, this is no surprise – after being badly beaten by Thanos at the start of Avengers: Infinity War Hulk repeatedly refuses to “come out” and help Banner, forcing Ruffalo’s scientist to find other ways to fight and suggesting that we might not be seeing ol’ jade-jaws for the foreseeable future.
But now, a fan has suggested a theory as to why exactly Hulk might be so shy about joining the party – and what it is that will actually entice him to take on Thanos once more.
“Hulk wants friendship,” redditor smacksaw wrote, suggesting that Hulk didn’t hide out of fear of Thanos, but rather because he’d evolved over the course of earlier film Thor: Ragnarok.
“Watch Ragnarok. All they talk about is ‘Thor not Hulk friend. [Director Taikia] Waititi makes is perfectly clear: Valkyrie comes. They are friends. It's obvious. He helps her. He clears the air with Thor. They establish a friendship between Thor and Hulk, not just Thor and Banner.
“Hulk runs after Thor. ‘Friend!’ he exclaims. Because he's lonely. Because no one likes or respects him for who he is."
Adding that Banner has always treated Hulk like a “trained animal,” the theory goes on to suggest that in Endgame the two halves of the same whole will have to come to a new arrangement, while the rest of the Avengers also build their own friendships with Hulk, giving him the validation he’s always wanted.
You can read the full theory below.
Whether Endgame plays out exactly like this remains to be seen – Marvel boss Kevin Feige has suggested that Ragnarok, Infinity War and Endgame are a bit of a covert Hulk trilogy, so we can certainly expect some development in his story – but it’s certainly a convincing, and quite poignant, way to look at the character.
Avengers: Endgame will be released in UK cinemas on the 26th April