Avengers 4 Theory: Professor Hulk Is Bruce Banner's Ultimate Fate

The Avengers 4 Art Teases A New Hulk

And that brings us to this Avengers 4 artwork. Notice this image shows a Hulk who's very different to the one we've seen before in the MCU. He's not Hulked out quite as much, the face is more recognizable as Mark Ruffalo's, and - most importantly - he's actually wearing clothes. If this image is indeed related to Avengers 4, it teases a scenario where the Hulk and Bruce Banner actually seem to have merged. Where these two different identities have become one.

The process of transforming from Bruce Banner to the Hulk usually shreds Bruce's clothes. When he turns back, any still fitting clothes would be useful to "puny Banner." So the fact the Hulk has suited up is actually very much suggestive, hinting the Hulk doesn't expect to turn back anytime soon. He and Banner have found some sort of place of balance.

Related: Infinity War: Why Heimdall Could Only Send Hulk To Earth

If that's the case, this is the direction the entire Hulk arc is traveling. The Hulk and Bruce Banner personas will confront one another, and ultimately combine. When Screen Rant was on the set of Avengers: Infinity War, we were even told about a "smart Hulk" being present in the movie (which didn't happen but could have been held back for Part 2). The result will presumably be similar to something comic book readers refer to as "Professor Hulk."

Professor Hulk Explained

This whole idea has a strong comic book precedent, running back to Peter David's run of The Incredible Hulk. David explored the idea the Hulk was born from Bruce Banner's childhood trauma, at the hands of an abusive father, and his mind had schismed long before exposure to Gamma Radiation. In fact, David even introduced a third persona, the Grey Hulk! In #376, in an issue entitled "Personality Conflict," Bruce Banner's different personas were launched into head-on collision. The issue featured staggering scenes in which Bruce reeled, his body rebelling against the change, his hands enlarging and turning green and gray. It also featured extensive dialogue where the personas spoke to one another through Banner's mouth.

If that sounds familiar, it's because Avengers: Infinity War reproduced the idea. Visually, the part-transformation scenes are lifted straight from The Incredible Hulk #376. There's even a brief moment of dialogue between the two personas, with Banner yelling at the Hulk, and the Hulk shouting "No" back.

Incredible Hulk #376 ended with the personalities in desperate conflict, literally attempting to choke one another to death. It took the intervention of psychologist Doc Samson to end the Hulk's turmoil. He used post-hypnotic suggestion to prevent the personas going to war again, and then forced Banner to face to his childhood trauma. The result was the final integration of the Hulk's different personas, creating the so-called "Professor Hulk" - a single, whole mind, with the genius of Bruce Banner and the childish love of action of the Hulk.

It's distinctly possible this Avengers 4 art isn't genuine. Whether it is or not, though, existing arc for Hulk is clear. Marvel seems to be building up to a "Professor Hulk" style unification. The logical end of this three-film character arc. If that is the case, Avengers 4 will end with a totally different Hulk, a being who could prove fascinating in the next Avengers film, or else in his next cameo.

Related: The Biggest Reveals From Avengers 4's Leaked Art

Key Release Dates
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
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