When push came to shove in Avengers: Infinity War, Hulk failed to show up after taking a monster beating from Thanos early in the movie, the kind he usually delivers to bad guys. As much as Bruce Banner wanted Hulk to take over in New York and Wakanda, the green monster wanted none of it. However, we do know from toy leaks that not only will Hulk appear in Endgame, but he’ll do so as a much better, smarter version of what we’ve seen so far — a mix between the monster and Banner, Professor Hulk. Endgame will surely explain everything come April 26th, but until then we’ve got a couple of interesting theories about Hulk for you to consider.
It’s rare that we mix different fan theories for Avengers 4, but it turns out that two Redditors focused on two different aspects of the Hulk, and they make even more sense when you connect them. We’ll begin with Hulk’s absence in Infinity War, which Redditor Chrispy609 believes happened because of Doctor Strange.
I’ve said over and over that Doctor Strange is the architect of the MCU timeline we’re about to see play out, and I told you everything that happened in Infinity War is because Strange wanted it to happen that way. Strange didn’t stop Star-Lord from waking Thanos up just as they were removing his gauntlet, and he gave up his life to make sure Iron Man survives Ant-Man goes to the Quantum Realm. And Strange may have caused other things to happen in the past for the Avengers to arrive at this particular point in time. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to assume Strange interfered with Hulk, too.
The Redditor says that Strange didn’t want Hulk affecting the outcome of any of the battles he may have been a part of. So Strange may have gone to Sakaar while Hulk was there and convinced him not to show up if he were ever to return to Earth:
Evidence – while it’s not hard evidence, Ragnarok makes it clear that when Hulk is driving, Banner is in the trunk. I believe Dr. Strange saw the Hulk’s strategic importance to the mission and tees up the situation while Hulk was on his two-year run. Also, it’s possible that he told Loki while on Sakaar to take the Tesseract and hand it over. The way Strange and Loki gave up the stone was very similar.
Remember that Hulk is practically a kid in Thor: Ragnarok, and Strange would be able to manipulate him with ease. The theory also says that while on Sakaar, Strange may have told Loki to grab the Tesseract. And that’s because Strange needed to make sure Thanos grabbed all the stones so that he could eventually be defeated.
Let’s not forget that in Infinity War, Heimdall sent Hulk back to the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York of all places, which is where Strange was. Was that an accident or Doctor Strange made it happen? Was it some trigger for Hulk? That’s something the theory doesn’t say.
But there’s a second Redditor, StripplefitzParty, who thinks it’s a different magician who will transform Banner and Hulk into Professor Hulk in Endgame.
That’s The Ancient One, of course, whom Banner might get to meet as he goes back in time. Mark Ruffalo already confirmed that he worked with Tilda Swinton on the set. Whenever they end up when they go back in time, it’s likely that The Ancient One will be the Sorcerer Supreme:
Almost every single theory/leak about A4 has indicated that time travel will occur, and one really interesting one is Bruce going back in time with other Avengers, and while the others attempt to perform some time-travel espionage Bruce goes to the Sanctum Santorum to talk with Doctor Strange because he fell through his roof the first time they met in Infinity War. However, because at the time of the Battle of New York, Doctor Strange had not started his magical journey at Kamar Taj, so the Sanctum would be guarded by another sorcerer and would likely take Bruce to the Ancient One upon hearing his knowledge.
It would be here that the Ancient One learns not only about Thanos’ actions and the mission the Avengers are on but also about Bruce’s condition and does some magical therapy to bind the two spiritual forms of Hulk and Bruce together so they can cooperate as one physically.
It would make perfect sense for two sorcerers to affect the evolution of both Banner and Hulk, but we’ll have to wait until April 26th to see if either of these theories pan out.