In the theory-happy world of Marvel fan forums, no debate is ever truly settled. So while directors Anthony and Joe Russo have already offered their explanation for why Hulk refused to come out for most of Avengers: Infinity War, the internet continues to yield its alternative suggestions, including this new piece of Reddit speculation which argues that it was a feeling of shame that kept the beast from surfacing.
Though the official explanation from the Russo Brothers is that Hulk is simply tired of being called on by Bruce Banner to fight all his battles, Reddit user Paranoidas argues that it seems a little sudden for the character to start feeling used by his alter ego. For their own theory, the user turns to the events of Thor: Ragnarok, which sees the green Avenger strike up a rare friendship with Thor. At the climax of the film, however, Hulk proves incapable of defeating Hela in battle, letting down one of his first ever genuine buddies.
Hulk experiences similar failure at the start of Infinity War, when he loses to Thanos and ultimately gets transported back to Earth, leaving the God of Thunder and his fellow Asgardians to die for all he knows. From here, the conclusion is drawn that Hulk was so ashamed of repeatedly letting down Thor that he chose to hide away in Bruce’s body.
Again, the Russo Brothers have offered their own clarification of the character’s motivation, but if you think Paranoidas’ explanation sounds better, then feel free to go along with it at least until the sequel proves otherwise. Either way, Avengers: Infinity War left Hulk with some issues to work through, but it’s a safe bet that he’ll be returning to the fight when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019.