Hulk’s Hero Days Ended with ‘Avengers: Endgame’: Banner’s Arm Is Likely Damaged Beyond Repair
Avengers: Endgame has come and gone, yet the launch of Disney+ and the release of additional footage has fans theorizing once more on how the fallout of events will impact the MCU moving forward. When watching Avengers: Endgame, one mission quickly becomes evident: close the character arcs for the OG six — Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, and Black Widow.
Captain America finally “got a life” — spending a little extra time in the past to be with his love Peggy Carter. Tony Stark finally put himself last — bidding farewell to the MCU in a sacrifice destined to live on in history. Black Widow offed herself to preserve Hawkeye’s family unit; thus, her standalone film will be a prequel, and Hawkeye will likely pass the torch to his daughter in the upcoming Disney+ series.
As for Thor, he learned that it was time to lead the life he chooses, not the one destiny set out for him. He’s got one more movie coming, Love and Thunder, and he will undoubtedly pass the literal and metaphorical hammer to Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. When push comes to shove, Endgame paved the way for a new age of Marvel — with new heroes destined to be at the center. But, what about Hulk?
What about Bruce Banner? Many MCU fans feel that Avengers: Endgame did him dirty and that he deserves a little revitalization in the MCU; he deserves to be a combination of brains and brawn — stomp and smash plus smarts — as opposed to a big Green guy who dabs to impress the youngsters at a diner. Unfortunately, based on the events of Endgame, Hulk will likely be out of commission as a combat hero.
Why Hulk will be out of commission following ‘Avengers: Endgame’
Thanos was one of the most powerful beings to ever grace the MCU, and “the snap” left him permanently damaged. When the Avengers went to pay him a visit at the start of Endgame, he no longer stood as the strong and insurmountable villain, but as a large and weakened, physically destroyed man.
While Thanos did destroy the stones (making his predicament worse), the same stones killed Stark when he saved the world. Simply put, all the stones together carry an unheard-of degree of power — one that a human body cannot withstand.
As Bruce Banner explains in the movie, he was the one chosen to carry out “the snap” because the Infinity Gauntlet pumps out Gamma radiation, which already runs through Hulk’s body. However, that doesn’t mean he could withstand “the snap” and walk away unscathed. At the end of Avengers: Endgame, we see the Hulk’s arm wrapped in a cast and — based on the narrative intentions set forth for the MCU — this was likely the writers’ way of telling fans that the Hulk’s journey would take a new course. Hulk will not cease to exist, but he will no longer be a hero on the frontlines. Hulk’s physical savior days have likely come to an end.
What’s next for Hulk in the MCU?
The MCU will not continue with the OG 6 at the center; meaning, the writers needed a way to imply Hulk’s journey as a hero would come to a close — damaging one of his greatest weapons — his arm —may have to suffice. “The snap” was a glamorous way to end his savior story, even though it felt less impactful than Stark’s.
Moving forward, Bruce Banner will likely serve to introduce She-Hulk into the Avengers (or the A-force, depending on the direction Kevin Feige and his group of creatives go in).
He will likely be all brains with a big, strong, green appearance. And who knows, maybe he will throw a punch or two in moments of need — bringing fans back to the good old times. However, once Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk) joins the team, it’s likely that Banner too, like Stark and Rogers, will slip away from the limelight, going on to finish out his days as a “once was.”