‘Avengers: Endgame’: ‘Professor Hulk’ Happened Too Soon
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were surprised to see Professor Hulk hit the screen in Avengers: Endgame. But not all the reactions were positive. Some thought that his appearance was rushed, or that more setup was needed to introduce the character.
Professor Hulk first showed up in Marvel Comics close to 30 years ago, and he has since enjoyed plenty of popularity. So why did his big-screen debut get such mixed reactions?
Read on to learn more about who Professor Hulk is, where he came from, and why he showed up in Endgame.
The origins of Professor Hulk
Anyone who read Marvel Comics in the 90s recognized Professor Hulk instantly. Incredible Hulk #377 first introduced us to the Professor after Bruce Banner’s multiple Hulk personalities were merged.
Though not as physically strong as the original (often referred to as Savage Hulk), this incarnation of the Hulk was a combination of Banner’s incredible brilliance and Savage Hulk’s unmatched strength.
When these powers combine, it created the ultimate hero and finally helped Banner achieve his goal of bringing the Hulk’s destructive powers under control.
Though he originally appeared in the comics, Professor Hulk made his big-screen debut in 2019’s Avenger’s: Endgame. In Thor: Ragnarok, we saw a Hulk that couldn’t revert back to human form, and in Avengers: Infinity War, we saw a Bruce Banner who was at odds with his inner Hulk.
While there are theories about how this transformation happened, the MCU hasn’t confirmed anything. With 40 minutes of screen time in Endgame, we got to see a lot of action that included Professor Hulk but didn’t get a ton of information about what he had been up to in the five years since The Decimation took place, and how he was able to establish peace between his different egos.
What did fans think of the new Hulk?
Hulk has always been a fan favorite, but the Professor got some mixed reactions among moviegoers. To some, he just seemed to appear out of nowhere and left viewers with a lot of questions.
Can Hulk revert back to human form? Will we ever see Bruce Banner again? What is his origin story, and what exactly are his strengths and weaknesses?
In his original incarnation in the MCU, Hulk was unable to communicate, but in Ragnarok, we see him speaking. It seems clear that his origin didn’t play out exactly as it did in the comics, which left some hardcore fans grumbling.
Many people wanted to learn more about Professor Hulk’s origins and get more information about how he came to be. After all, we only had The Incredible Hulk in 2008, while Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man all had multiple movies that dove deeper into each character.
While the 2008 movie was one of the MCU’s weaker efforts, many fans would have appreciated a deeper look at Hulk and his intricacies before simply giving us the Professor.
Of course, it’s important to remember that the MCU films have to be aimed at a more general audience, so they can’t always stay true to the comic book source material. However, in the comics, Bruce had multiple Hulk egos, not just Savage Hulk and Professor Hulk. We didn’t get a single hint of these other personalities in the movie.
Another Hulk film could have examined these personalities, and Professor Hulk could have been saved for a later date. As one fan on Reddit wrote:
“What I’d rather is that if they’re not going to show the story of that transition, hold off on it. Have the familiar Bruce Banner in the cafe, maybe show the beginnings of work he’s been doing on the matter. Do ‘Smart Hulk’ a little further down the road.”
Will we see Professor Hulk again?
There are rumors in the MCU that Professor Hulk is here to stay (perhaps even getting a movie of his own), but no one can be sure what’s in store for the big green guy.
There’s a lot of potential for Hulk in future MCU movies, where his other personalities can be explored. In fact, some fans are hoping for an appearance of Worldbreaker Hulk, the most powerful incarnation that existed in the comics. While some of our favorite characters had to make the ultimate sacrifice in Endgame, Hulk is sticking around. With such a deep well of stories available to pull from decades of Hulk comics, fans are excited by the prospect of more Hulk movies in the coming years. The MCU is known for keeping future plans for films under wraps as much as possible, so keep your eyes open to see what’s next for the Hulk.