Hulk Might Have a Dark Future in the MCU Thanks to Some Subtle Foreshadowing

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are waiting to see the direction Marvel takes with the saga after so many storylines wrapped up in Avengers: Endgame. While some of the characters are sadly gone, plenty of others remain while new heroes emerge.

One of the characters that had a seemingly complete end to his arc was the Hulk (aka Bruce Banner), portrayed by Mark Ruffalo. But one eagle-eyed MCU fan may have spotted a small line in Avengers: Endgame that promises a dark future for the hero.

Here’s a recap of what Hulk’s gone through already in the MCU and how his character may have rough times ahead. 

Hulk’s journey in the MCU

Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Hulk was the main character of the second standalone MCU film, The Incredible Hulk. After that film, he only made appearances as a character in the Avengers’ films. He also pops up in Iron Man 3 for a cameo and with a much more substantial role in Thor: Ragnarok. 

Essentially, Banner’s story is one of a man dealing with dual personalities. Banner is the intellectual human side while Hulk represents sheer, animalistic rage. Throughout the series, Hulk is shown to be a difficult character to control.

He’s so difficult, in fact, that Banner and Tony Stark join forces to design “Hulkbuster” armor that can help keep the beast in check if he gets out of control 

Where we leave Hulk in Avengers: Endgame

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Banner and Hulk undergo an internal struggle in Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War. When we see Hulk in Endgame, he’s merged with Banner to take on the “Professor Hulk” persona.

Based on another version of Hulk from Marvel Comics, this Hulk has all the strength and brawn of the big green guy with the wit, intelligence, and eloquence of Banner. 

This is a necessary piece of character development because later in the film, Hulk is needed to perform the “snap” with the Avenger-created Infinity Gauntlet that undoes Thanos’ initial decimation of the universe. No other character would have the strength to absorb the blow.

Of course, Hulk wouldn’t have possessed the wherewithal to understand why he’d need to do that. That’s why the character needed Hulk’s strength combined with Banner’s personality. 

There are plenty of comic relief moments for the character. There’s also a scene where he mourns the death of Black Widow, throwing a bench clear across a lake in a fit of anger. Ultimately though, the character is shown to be somewhat level-headed and good at containing his emotions. But how long will that last?  

Why Hulk may have a dark future ahead in the MCU

In Endgame, Banner has clearly gotten control of the Hulk personality. But there’s one small scene, pointed out by a fan on Reddit, that shows that the uncontrollable monster still exists. 

At one point, Thor grabs Banner’s shirt while he’s in the Professor Hulk persona. While Banner doesn’t get angry, he does say, “Please take your hand off of me.” He says this in a calm, even tone – but why would he feel the need to say it at all?

It likely means that Banner doesn’t have 100% control of the Hulk side of his personality. Someone getting too aggressive with him may lead to the Hulk returning. This could manifest itself in any number of ways during future MCU films. While it’s unclear where the Hulk will pop up in future MCU projects, his character is alive at the conclusion of Endgame, so he’ll likely return at some point.

There’s also an upcoming Disney+ series based on She-Hulk, which Banner will almost certainly appear in one way or another. 

Hulk’s subtle foreshadowing hints that it’s possible we may not have seen the last of the “out of control” version of Hulk – in fact, it’s more than likely we haven’t. There’s no way to tell when or where this Hulk pops again, but rest assured that the uneasy alliance between Banner and Hulk will fall out of balance at some point in the MCU’s future.