Are we finally going to see round 2?
Leaving Avengers: Age of Ultron earlier this year, moviegoers were left with a number of questions about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with one of the biggest being – where the hell was Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/The Hulk? The film left the character’s fate ambiguous for the time being, as he took a SHIELD jet into the unknown, without telling any of his fellow team members where he was going. While he was originally set to appear in next year’s Captain America: Civil War too, his role in the film was inevitably cut, and it looks like the next time we see the character – he’ll be much more cosmic than we’ve ever seen him before.
With numerous reports confirming his involvement in 2017′s Thor: Ragnarok, it looks like the unlikely Avengers duo will finally be reuniting after they shared some of the most memorable moments in 2012′s The Avengers. Unfortunately, nothing else is known about the film up until this point, and while its nice to know when we can look forward to seeing our favorite Big Green Rage Monster onscreen again, you can’t help but wonder how the hell Banner ends up in Asgard.
At this point, it has all but been confirmed that a large majority of Rangarok will take place in the cosmic side of the MCU, as the title itself refers to the Norse version of the apocalypse, teasing one final battle that will result in the death of every notable Norse figure, including Thor himself. So is it possible that the Hulk could be involved in the apocalyptic events we can expect to see throughout? If so, in what capacity?
Well, here’s where things get really interesting because last week, Mark Ruffalo made some comments about what he’d like to see happen in the film, and what he mentioned was his desire to see the Hulk and Bruce Banner share a scene together:
“I am excited to keep coming back to this role. I see a lot of space for it to grow. I feel like there’s a lot of cool stuff to explore still, especially the relationship between Banner and Hulk. Hopefully, we’ll see the two of them in a scene together. That would be cool!”
Now, the characters have physically separated before in the comics, with one of the more memorable times happening in The Incredible Hulk #315, when Doc Samson (who was also exposed to gamma radiation) theorized that the Hulk is an actually conscious entity and thing living inside of Banner, instead of it just being a part of Banner’s actual mind. Through a government experiment too, Samson is able to separate Banner from his green half, but without the conscious, moral mind of Banner there to control him, the Hulk turns into an absolute monster of destruction, laying waste to anything in his path – eventually leading Banner to subduing the Hulk and joining with the character again.
The problem is that this route would involve a lot of scientific exposition and build-up that Ragnarok won’t likely have time for, and would also have to introduce a new character of some kind to want to introduce the story element itself. However, the fact that the movie takes place in the Cosmic Universe actually makes this possibility even more likely, as it means that the separation could happen through some form of magic or cosmic energy, without having to be explained.
Which makes me think that Banner could approach Thor at the beginning of the film for a way to subdue his other half, after he’s already exhausted every scientific method himself, and the events in Age of Ultron have basically made Bruce completely sick of the Big Green Rage Monster.
However, it’s unlikely that even the God of Thunder would have the power to complete the experiment himself, and there’s probably only one person in the Cosmic Universe (that doesn’t contain a fully-functional Infinity Gauntlet) who could have enough power to separate the two characters, and that’s Odin. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Odin isn’t the one sitting on the throne anymore.
We know that Ragnarok will have to address the cliffhanger left at the end of Thor: The Dark World in some way too, after Loki (Tom Hiddleston) managed to finally gain full control of Asgard, with the entirety of Odin’s power in the palm of his hands. While it’s currently unknown how Loki will play a role in the movie’s overarching story, it’s probably safe to assume he’ll be behind the inciting incident that sets off the end of the world in some capacity, and will make the lives of our heroes the hardest they’ve ever been. He is the God of Mischief after all, and Marvel is probably working their assess off to make sure the film acts as a suitable continuation for what might be their best twist to date.
The thing is that Loki is already very familiar with Banner and the Hulk though. Taking into account his obssessive fascination with the Hulk and the way he used the character to his advantage on the SHIELD helicarrier in Avengers, I could very easily see the God of Mischief using Odin’s power to separate the two entities, in the hopes of either controlling the Hulk (therefore being unstoppable), or seeking to wreak as much havoc and destruction upon the world as he can - leading to the beginning of Rangarok.
Plus, Thor would probably be forced to fight the unleashed version of the Hulk himself, in an attempt to stop the destruction from continuing, and if Mark Ruffalo’s recent comments with the NY Daily News are any indication, it looks like we can expect to see the two characters trade blows with each other one more time after all:
“I don’t really know that much about it, but I think it’s going to be a buddy picture with Thor and Bruce Banner. I think they’ll probably fight. There’s no doubt, everyone wants us to fight at one point.”
Again, this is just my version of a calculated shot in the dark, and I can’t think of a better way to tie in the Norse end of the world, than by having both Loki and the Hulk involved in its destruction. The idea of the Hulk being let loose from his captor sounds almost too interesting not to happen, and I’d be surprised if Kevin Feige and co. will be going as far as including the character in the Ragnarok plot without the Hulk being heavily involved in the problems that arise. No matter what happens though – I’m just excited to see the character introduced into the Cosmic Universe in some way, and this seems like the most likely outcome to me, especially since the possibility of Planet Hulk seems to grow increasingly more unlikely as time passes.
Thor: Ragnarok will come to theatres on November 3rd, 2017.
Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.
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