How A Hulk-Skrull Fits Into The MCU
Of course, the real question is how well this fits with the MCU's ongoing narrative. At the beginning of Thor: Ragnarok, the Hulk has been missing for two years. That means the Skrulls could conceivably have captured him shortly after the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. In that Reddit post, it's suggested the Hulk attempted to break orbit in the Quinjet, and the Skrulls noticed him. Another possibility, though, would be that the Skrulls were monitoring the Battle of Sokovia, and realized one Avenger was leaving in a Quinjet, presumably abandoning the rest of the Avengers. They intercepted the Quinjet - perhaps near Fiji, where S.H.I.E.L.D. lost track of the plane.
The Skrulls would conceivably then be able to spend quite a while working on the Hulk, exploring his DNA and trying to duplicate his powers. Only when they were satisfied would they have begun considering how to send their replacement back to the Avengers. But why would they send their Hulk to Sakaar? It may be that they deduced there was a solid chance Thor could turn up here, given Sakaar appears to be at the heart of a wide array of wormholes. As the Redditor points out, there's evidence in Thor: Ragnarok that the Hulk hasn't been the Grandmaster's Champion for long; his face still hasn't been added to Grandmaster's statue commemorating his Champions.
Related: Thor: Ragnarok Wastes Bruce Banner
The Redditor suggests a subtly different variation on this, though; that the Hulk isn't the only Skrull impostor in Thor: Ragnarok. The theory suggests Skurge is a Skrull as well, and his mission was to get Thor to Sakaar. He then switched sides to learn about the potential new threat of Hela. At the end of the film, Skurge thus sacrifices himself in order to ensure the main Skrull operative, the Hulk, is successfully embedded in the Avengers. It's a rather more involved development of the theory, and an attractive one in that it removes the element of chance from this Skrull scheme.
Is The Hulk-Skrull Theory Plausible?
While it's an interesting theory, this one doesn't seem terribly likely. For one thing, this three-film character arc for the Hulk is clearly evocative of the Peter David run, with some scenes lifted almost perfectly from Incredible Hulk #376. It seems more reasonable to assume Marvel is setting the Hulk and Banner personalities in conflict. By that reading, the slightly out-of-character Bruce Banner in Thor: Ragnarok simply reflect Taika Waititi's more humorous style, and Banner's strange ability to remember what happened to the Hulk in Avengers: Infinity War is just a case of plot convenience.
Secret Invasion actually faced Marvel Comics with a difficult choice. On the one hand, they understandably wanted some major characters to actually be Skrull impostors, if only for dramatic effect. At the same time, though, Marvel didn't want to damage the character arcs that had been central to the last few years' worth of stories. That was why they didn't use "Secret Invasion" to reveal Tony Stark had been a Skrull impostor during Civil War. While that story had damaged Iron Man's popularity among comic book readers, it would have been far too convenient a solution. Likewise, Marvel avoided using the Skrulls to resurrect Captain America, who'd been killed off in the aftermath of Civil War. Marvel Studios will face the same problem if they do a Skrull invasion; they'd risk weakening the dramatic and narrative effect of the last few films. It's unlikely they'd retcon an entire character arc in this way.
Perhaps the one key takeaway from this theory, though, is that some fans don't seem happy with the Hulk's arc in Avengers: Infinity War. We've already had theories that the Hulk is actually Loki; now we have another, that he's a Skrull impostor. There's clearly a lot of dissatisfaction with how Avengers: Infinity War handled the Hulk, and that will likely give Marvel cause for concern. Hopefully, the final film in this loose Hulk "trilogy" will bring the story to a satisfying conclusion.
- 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 05, 2019