Avengers: Infinity War might have mostly lived up to all the hype, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few bugbears that fans have about the movie. One of the biggest is Bruce Banner and Hulk’s weird dynamic in the film. After being tossed around by Thanos in the first few moments, he refuses to show his big green face from then on. This doesn’t sound like the smash-happy Hulk we all know and love, right?
Well, according to a new theory first posited by journalist Josh Dickey, there may be a reason for this. The idea he puts forth is what if this isn’t actually Banner/Hulk at all? What if it’s actually Loki in disguise? We all thought that the God of Mischief had truly turned over a new leaf when he stood up to the Mad Titan on the Asgardian refugee ship, which ultimately appeared to cost him his life. But the great thing about Thor’s brother is that you never know what he’s playing at – he’s already faked his death once, after all.
Though it might sound a bit outlandish at first, this theory would actually dovetail with a few inconsistencies and continuity issues that Infinity War raises. One big one’s that Bruce seems to recall everything that Hulk experiences during his confrontation with Thanos with perfect clarity. This has never been the case before. Sure, you could say their psychic link might have strengthened, as Hulk has shown some cognitive development in his last two appearances. But Banner definitely didn’t have Hulk’s memories when he took the wheel again in Thor: Ragnarok.
It might also explain how “Banner” happens to land slap-bang in Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum when he arrives on Earth. It would make more sense if this was Loki in disguise, as he’s encountered Strange before. He could have directed his path to Earth towards the Master of the Mystic Arts, since he knew he’d be the perfect person to lead an offensive against Thanos.
It’s possible, then, that the real Hulk escaped the Asgardian ship with Valkyrie prior to Thanos’ attack. We know that Tessa Thompson’s character is set to return in Avengers 4, so maybe she’ll bring Hulk with her – leading to a shock reveal when Loki has to come clean about his deception.
This is all just wild speculation at the moment of course, but who knows, maybe this change happened late into the production process? It could also explain why merchandise sees the Hulk in the Hulkbuster armor despite this never actually occurring in Avengers: Infinity War.