A New MCU Fan Theory Could Explain Why Hulk Saved Tony in the First ‘Avengers’ Movie

What does a Marvel fan do when they’re confined to their home? They find a convenient reason to visit their old MCU favorites again, including the original Avengers movie. Then they ask questions they hadn’t thought of before about certain scenes. 

One of the most dramatic moments in that movie is when Iron Man is about to fall from a great height. He seems doomed until the Hulk springs into action and catches Tony. Granted, Tony got a heck of a case of PTSD from the whole affair, but he was alive and lived to fight on for several more movies. Still, why?

How much does the Hulk understand when he’s Bruce?

Mark Ruffalo speaks onstage
Mark Ruffalo | Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

One of the key mysteries of the Hulk character is just how much Bruce Banner remembers of what happens when he’s the hulk. There are several versions and colors of the Hulk in the comics, but since the subject is the one in the MCU, it’s easiest to focus on the classic green Hulk, or what some fans call the “savage” hulk. 

In this version of the Hulk, his memories of what he does as the Hulk are foggy at best when he turns back into a human. The basic idea is that the Hulk is the unleashed id of Bruce Banner, the man-child who throws fits when someone makes him very angry. But because Bruce Banner is basically good, the Hulk is also basically good. 

On Quora, someone asked why the Hulk is dumb when Bruce Banner is so smart. One of the answers said, “Hulk isn’t really dumb. He’s simple and childlike (and constantly in the midst of a temper tantrum) and doesn’t know tons of science/smart person stuff, but he’s not lacking for brainpower, though it mostly only shows itself in Hulk’s awe-inspiring precision.”

Why do fans think Hulk saved Tony?

In the MCU, the logic seems to be a bit more complex. A topic-starter on Reddit, referring to Hulk saving Tony, asked, referred to this conversation between Tony and Bruce in The Avengers: 

Tony: Hey, I read all about your accident. That much gamma radiation should have killed you.

Bruce: So you are saying that the Hulk… The other guy saved my life? That’s nice. It’s a nice sentiment. Saved it for what?

Tony: I guess we’ll find out.

Bruce: You may not enjoy that

Tony: And you just might.

The fan elaborated, I think Hulk was listening to this conversation and felt that Tony understands him and is worth saving.”

Fans agreed, with one saying, “You’re 100% correct. Joss Whedon talks about this in the directors commentary. Hulk catching Tony was the pay off to their conversation.”

Still another fan said maybe they were all thinking too much, posting, “Personally, I don’t really feel like there’s a deep meaning behind it. Hulk recognized the other Avengers as his allies, and since he’s used to everyone hating him, he was probably keen to hold onto that. But that’s just me.”

What’s the future of the Hulk in the MCU?

It’s not known exactly where the Hulk fits into the future Marvel cinematic universe. He doesn’t seem to fit into any of the movies of the announced movie lineup, except maybe Thor: Love and Thunder, because Hulk and Thor teamed up in Thor: Ragnarok

There have been unconfirmed reports that Ruffalo is in talks to make an appearance in the She-Hulk show slated for Disney+.

There has also been controversy among fans about whether Ruffalo should continue to be “Professor Hulk,” the version seen in Endgame with the Hulk’s body but Banner’s mind. Even one of the TV Hulks, Lou Ferrigno, didn’t care for the Hulk talking intelligently. Whatever form he takes, Ruffalo would like to continue. 

According to Cinemablend, Ruffalo said last year, “Kevin Feige just asked me last week if I had any more ideas or stories for the Hulk. And I said yeah, I think there’s still some stories to tell. And he said, ‘Well why don’t you come in and tell me about them and we’ll see if we can find a place for you in the Marvel universe?'”