The release of the first official trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has Marvel fans squirming in their seats with excitement. Hitting theaters in April 2018, Infinity War will feature practically every major Marvel Cinematic Universe character to hit the big screen over the last 10 years, all coming together as one to fight off the mad Titan, Thanos.
A recent image taken from the set of the third Avengers movie has many of us scratching our heads about Mark Ruffalo’s character, Bruce Banner aka the Hulk. Could Marvel be teasing us with a major spoiler about the Hulk’s future? We took a look at this, plus several other intriguing pieces of information we’ve recently learned about Infinity War.
A Hulk trilogy of sorts
As a character, Hulk has been one of the most underutilized of the Avengers. He appeared in his own standalone movie, The Incredible Hulk (which featured Edward Norton as the title character), and then again in the first two Avengers team ensemble movies. Otherwise, Hulk and Banner had been mostly missing in action.
But then came the exciting news that they would team up with Thor in Thor: Ragnarok, which hit theaters in November and will precede Infinity War by six months. Here is what Ruffalo had to say to Collider in an October interview about Marvel’s plan for the Hulk:
“I was called in to meet with Kevin (Feige), Lou (D’Esposito), and Brad (Winterbaum), months before this. And they said, ‘If you were going to make a standalone Hulk movie, what would it be?’ I said, ‘I think it should be this, this, this, this, and it should end here.’
He said, ‘Great, what if we took that and did that between Thor 3, Avengers 3, and Avengers 4? And we did that whole character arc for you as if it were a standalone movie.’”
What we learned in Thor: Ragnarok
In the first installment of the pseudo Hulk trilogy, Thor discovers the Hulk on Sakaar in what is a mini-Planet Hulk story. The two characters, along with Valkyrie and Loki, escape the planet and battle together against Hela in Asgard.
The major storyline for Banner is the discovery that the Hulk has had full control ever since the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, or around two years. Banner tells Thor he believes changing back into the Hulk — which he reluctantly does at the end of the movie — might give the big green monster total control for good.
The end of Ragnarok sees Thor, Loki, Valkyrie, and Hulk floating in space aboard the ship they’ve stolen from the Grandmaster. We know that it’s not too long before they encounter Thanos, who is tracking the Space Stone (inside the Tesseract, which is in Loki’s possession). That will set up Infinity War.
Thor forging a new weapon?
Speaking of Thor and Ragnarok, one of the important moment from the movie is the destruction of Mjolnir, better known as Thor’s magic hammer. By the end of the movie, he has to come to grips with the fact that his power doesn’t come from the hammer itself, but merely helps him harness it.
That may be so, but the hammer was still a pretty awesome weapon to use in a battle against bad guys. Mjolnir was forged in the heart of a dying star, according to Odin. In a moment in the Infinity War trailer, we see Thor struggling in the middle of what seems to be a sort of giant engine in space. Could he be forging a new weapon to use against Thanos?
It’s hard to know for sure, but according to IGN, there are LEGO descriptions that lead us to that conclusion. Will this mean the return of Mjolnir, which has been teased by director Joe Russo in the past? Or will it be a new weapon, such as the axe known as Jarnbjorn?
Bruce Banner returns
Early in the Infinity War trailer, we see Banner laying inside a smoking hole with Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, and Wong standing over him. Bruce appears confused, and has just transformed back to his original form after the long fall. After all, it’s not like he hasn’t done this before — remember when Hulk fell from the Helicarrier in The Avengers?
There are other shots in the trailer that show Banner, back to his old self, and only one of the Hulk — running alongside Captain America, the Winter Soldier, Falcon, the Black Panther, and Black Widow in Wakanda. Was Banner’s notion that changing back into the Hulk will cause him to lose control simply incorrect, or is there something else going on here?
Tony Stark calling for Captain America’s help
Another key moment in the trailer can be found with Stark, Strange, and Wong all looking forward with concern while standing inside Kamar-Taj. But something that might go unnoticed in the image is the cell phone Tony appears to be holding in his hand. We know that the billionaire Stark has nothing but the newest technology, and he wouldn’t have this old, 2005-style phone as his personal device.
This appears to be the cell phone that Steve Rogers sends to Stark at the end of Captain America: Civil War, along with the promise that if Tony needs him, he’ll be there. There is no doubt that at some point in Infinity War, Stark is going to come to the realization that he needs Captain America — not to mention, Spider-Man, Thor, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and so many more.
Hulk and Banner battling for control?
In the new set photo we previously mentioned, Iron Man can be seen on the ground in front of Bruce Banner, who has a giant foam Hulk hand in front of his neck. That hand has been used in the past for filming scenes featuring the Hulk — who is created with CGI — and leaves one major question: How can the Hulk’s hand and Bruce Banner be in the same scene?
There are a few options here. First is that Banner and the Hulk are battling for control, which was teased in Ragnarok and will almost certainly be part of the story going forward. But having part of his body change, but not the rest? That seems more gimmicky than anything.
The other option, and this is way out in space as far as ideas go, is that Banner and the Hulk have somehow split and are two individuals that exist at the same time. Nothing is impossible in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we already have confirmation that Banner runs into Doctor Strange during the course of Infinity War. Maybe Strange has some sort of magic spell that could separate the two?
Loki gives up the Tesseract…or does he?
Another key moment we see in the trailer is what appears to be a whole lot of dead Asgardians lying on the ground with Loki carefully stepping around them. He holds up his hand to reveal the Tesseract, which shouldn’t surprise anyone that has seen Ragnarok. It was heavily implied that Loki snagged his favorite Infinity Stone from Odin’s vault at the end of the movie.
Given Loki’s history, most probably assume that he’s handing over the Tesseract to Thanos in exchange for sparing his life. But this is a new Loki of sorts, one that Thor has challenged to evolve and to learn to be a leader. Given how Ragnarok ended, it would be perfectly within Loki’s character growth that he would make Thanos believe he’s handing it over, but instead use the Tesseract to send the Hulk back to Earth to warn everyone.
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