There hasn’t been a Hulk movie since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, thanks to some rights issues preventing Marvel from making another flick centered on the big green guy. But starting with Thor: Ragnarok, Mark Ruffalo’s big green bruiser has had his own “secret trilogy,” which continued in Avengers: Infinity War and will climax in 2019’s Avengers 4. And now, potentially leaked concept art might hint at how the Hulk’s arc will end.
On Tuesday, supposed leaked concept art of Avengers 4 surfaced on Imgur from anonymous user, “Hero X.” The validity of the art has yet to be verified, but if it’s real, then the piece spoils the roster of a “New Avengers” group. The new team is made up of original members like Captain America and Iron Man, along with new members like Rocket, Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel. And yes, Hawkeye too. It’s basically all the surviving heroes in the aftermath of Thanos’s universal genocide, though you’re still not going to spot the Netflix Defenders anywhere.
The Hulk is there too, decked out in a new uniform that covers a lot more of his big green body than his typical “ripped pants and no shirt” look. But as of late, the Hulk has had, let’s say, performance issues. In Thor: Ragnarok, Bruce Banner learned that his being Hulked out for two years led to a problem: If he transforms again, he might never turn back. But Asgard needed a Hulk when Hela was tearing the place up, so Bruce stepped up.
After fighting Thanos in Infinity War, Hulk was flung back to Earth (and into the Sanctum Sanctorum), which somehow turned him back to Bruce Banner. Now, Bruce has trouble becoming the Hulk again. As directors Joe and Anthony Russo explained, the two egos are at odds with each other and are now way out of sync.
If Ragnarok was about the Hulk pushing Banner to the side, and Infinity War focused on Banner as the Hulk refused to play, maybe Avengers 4 will see the two come back together. A clothes-wearing Hulk could suggest that the two personalities are working in tandem, and that Banner’s smarts and the Hulk’s strength are united. It’s happened in the comics before, so it’s not unprecedented, and it would be a fitting end to the three-film arc.
There are certainly more questions to the next Avengers film than the physical state of Bruce Banner/the Hulk, but given the finality of Avengers 4, anything could happen to the original Avengers.
Avengers 4 will hit theaters on May 5, 2019.