Welcome to the Road To Infinity War Series! This is the third installment, as we go character by character. We will take a look at where we last left each key hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where they might show up next and what they could be up to.
So far we have taken a look at the two most prominent Avengers – Iron Man and Captain America. You can check out those pieces here and here. Today we will be taking a closer look at The Incredible Hulk himself, Bruce Banner.
Marvel has three films this year, then one more in early 2018 before Avengers: Infinity War. There is a lot that can go down before we get the full wrath of Thanos. But where does Hulk fall in the grand scheme of things right now, especially after flying off at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Has Banner gone full on Hulk, or is the man behind the monster still in there somewhere?
To this point, we have only gotten a few small doses of Doctor Banner. There was 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, but many people forget that since Mark Ruffalo was not in it (Edward Norton played Banner). Since Ruffalo being cast, the big green guy has only appeared in the two Avenegrs films. But now all eyes are looking towards Infinity War, not the past. So let’s see what Bruce’s road to Infinity War will look like.
Where we left him
It has been a few years since we have seen the Hulk. 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron was the last film the green guy appeared in. And of course, he left us with a cliffhanger.
During the film’s climactic battle scene, The Hulk made a personal decision. Earlier in the film, Bruce lost control of himself, letting the big guy run rampant. This led to an ugly scene with a lot of damage. Banner did not want that to happen again. So he decided to fly off in the Quinjet, never to be heard from again.
A few scenes later, while Black Widow, who has feelings for Bruce, was talking to Nick Fury, we were given the impression the Quinjet was sending off a signal from the middle of the ocean essentially. But there was no word from Banner. No word of where he was.
In other words, fans have been left to wonder where he has been for the last two years. We have no idea what experiences he has gone through, or where exactly he departed the Quinjet.
But something tells me we will get a little bit of information before the year is over.
What will Bruce be up to before Avengers: Infinity War? Where does he fit into the big picture?
2017 is set to be the biggest year yet for Marvel and the MCU. There will be three film’s dropping in this one calendar year alone. The first two, will not have anything to do with the Hulk. Those films are Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
But just because he will not play a part in those films doesn’t mean we won’t learn anything before November when Thor: Ragnarok comes out (more on that shortly). And that is thanks to Marvel’s love for the credit scene.
So to jump ahead really quick, we do know Hulk will be showing up in Ragnarok. I mean, he is in the trailer, which you can watch below. So we know he is on Sakaar. And we know he is fighting gladiator-style for the entertainment of the Grandmaster.
But we still do not know how he got there. This just screams credit scene. Given the Guardians are a space themed group, and this has a “Planet Hulk” feel to it, my money is on the second credit scene for the film giving us some insight on the Hulk’s journey to Sakaar.
And if that does not happen, we will certainly learn about it within Ragnarok. Within that film itself, Banner’s role is not entirely clear. I would imagine Thor and Hulk put aside their differences during their gladiator battle. I would imagine the two head off to Asgard eventually to take down Hela. But maybe the big guy stays behind, having found a home on Sakaar?
My growing suspicion is that he remains on Sakaar to end the film. Having gone through a journey with Thor, he will certainly learn a bit about the Infinity Stones. So after this film, the next time we see him will likely be in Infinity War. And if my gut is right, he will serve as the connective tissue between the Avengers and Guardians.
Given the Grandmaster is related to the Collector, maybe the Reality Stone ended up in Grandmaster’s possession after the explosion at Collector’s place in the first Guardians. Or maybe we end this film with the Soul Stone ending up on Sakaar.
This could lead to Thanos coming for it during Infinity War. This would prompt the Guardians to pay a visit, where they would meet up with Doctor Banner. Both the Guardians and Hulk would have knowledge of Thanos’ grand plan, and ultimately head to Earth to meet up with the Avengers.
So there you have it. With four films left before we reach Infinity War, there is plenty of things that could change. We kind of know where Hulk is right now. We just need a little more backstory on how he got there. The next Thor film should help cement things.
Where do see The Incredible Hulk’s journey going over the course of the next handful of MCU films? Tell us in the comments!