WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War
The Hulk will meet Thanos at the start of Infinity War - and we've got a theory on how he returns to Earth. The ending of Thor: Ragnarok set the stage for Thor, Loki and Hulk to truly kick off the events of Marvel's Infinity War. Drifting through space with what remains of Asgard, the mid-credits scene caused the hopeful mood to evaporate completely, as Thor and Loki stared at a massive ship suddenly arriving in their path. A ship now confirmed to be Thanos and his Black Order's vehicle.
What happens next is both generally revealed in the trailers, and a bit of a mystery. We know that Thanos gets the Space Stone from Loki after he swiped it from Odin's Vault, and we know that Hulk ends up across the galaxy, smashed directly into the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange. Back in the form of Bruce Banner, no less. So... what are the trailers leaving out?
We have our own Infinity War Theory to fill in the missing pieces, answering how Hulk gets from Thor's ship to Earth. But that's just the start of the questions it raises, the second being: why is Hulk no longer in control of Banner's body (which the good doctor feared would be the case after transforming in Thor: Ragnarok)?
Most importantly, we're betting that Hulk escaping from Thanos is what cements Loki's ascendance to a true Hero in the MCU.
This Page: How Hulk Gets Back To Earth
Loki Uses The Space Stone To Send Hulk To Earth
Since the first Infinity War trailer showed Doctor Strange and Wong leaning over the smashed staircase of the Sanctum Sanctorum, and beholding Bruce Banner in the crater, fans have been speculating. Was Hulk knocked to Earth from wherever Thanos attacked, falling back into the MCU while Thor floated until found by the Guardians of the Galaxy? Some have even wondered if the object entering Earth's atmosphere in a glowing ball of fire in the latest Infinity War trailer was Hulk on re-entry. But as in most cases, the correct answer may be the simplest one.
We know that Loki has the Space Stone-- or the Tesseract, as it was referred to until Thor learned the true nature of the Infinity Stones. The Tesseract has already been shown to operate as a "doorway," bringing Loki to Earth in The Avengers, and later, the Chitauri army commanded by Thanos. So when Thanos's ship arrives in the mid-credits scene of Ragnarok, Loki and Thor presumably have an escape route... even if Thor isn't entirely aware that Loki 'rescued' the Cube from Odin's Vault.
The question one might ask - or the first question, at least - is why send Hulk to the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange? And Ragnarok may have provided that answer earlier. Loki was given a less-than-warm welcome to both the Sorcerer and his Sanctum earlier in the movie. Technically, it was Thor who got to officially pay a visit to both occupant and residence, while Loki's time there amounted to seconds. Just long enough to complain about his treatment, draw daggers in pursuit of some payback, and be swallowed up by a portal.
It's possible that was enough. A god of mischief like Loki knows powerful sorcery when he meets it, and even if he would never admit it, Doctor Strange completely outplayed and overpowered him. He may be the only Marvel character to ever get the better of Loki on magical or mystical terms, which shouldn't be overlooked. And if Loki put any time into understanding the Infinity Stones driving the events of Thor, Odin, and Asgard over the past few years, it's plausible he knew what the arrival of Thanos meant, just as much as Thor.
Which means he knew exactly what he was doing when he chose NOT to follow. Needless to say, explaining that part requires some serious potential SPOILERS...
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019