The Hulk’s three-movie story arc began in Thor: Ragnarok and it could culminate with the appearance of a brand new Hulk in Avengers: Endgame. All signs seem to point to a superhero with the strength and big, green body of Hulk but the brains and personality of Bruce Banner. The internet’s dubbed him “Professor Hulk,” but there’s a precedent in the comic for this version of the character that may reveal what we can expect in Avengers: Endgame.
Here’s what you need to know about Professor Hulk and how he may fit into Avengers: Endgame and the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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A leaked image recently surfaced showcasing the original Avengers in their new Endgame super suits. In the picture, Hulk has a distinct new look. He’s in full costume instead of the usual frayed and torn pants. Even more interesting, Hulk’s facial features now greatly resemble Banner and he seems far more calm than the bulky green monster who appeared in The Avengers and Ragnarok.
Fans were quick to point out the difference, and speculate what it might mean for Hulk/Bruce Banner in Avengers: Endgame.
The concept of a smarter Hulk has been explored in previous Marvel comics. In Hulk Visionaries, which ran from 2005 to 2009, writer Peter David created a version of the Hulk with the intelligence levels of a teenager. He was also gray not green (a nod to the character’s original design) and went by the name Joe Fixit.
In 2014, Hulk #5 (written by Gerry Duggan, art by Mark Bagley) introduced the world to Doc Green, an even smarter incarnation of the Hulk made possible through the fictional Extremis serum. This version of the Hulk was actually even smarter than Banner, Duggan told *ComicBook Resources at the time.
The version of the Hulk we meet in Avengers: Endgame could be some sort of mix of these two, or something new entirely. Regardless, Professor Hulk’s deep roots in Marvel’s comic book history will push the MCU character in interesting new directions.
Tony Stark famously declaring, “We have a Hulk,” largely summed up the the character pre-Ragnarok. While Bruce Banner was the scientist, intelligently coming up with theories to help solve things, Hulk simply smashed. In fact, Ragnarok was the first time Hulk said more than a few words at a time. That was the first major development in his arc, suggesting that the Hulk had developed his own consciousness during his time on Sakaar.
This may be the reason Banner found it impossible to morph into Hulk in Avengers: Infinity War. Hulk had always been angry, but never stubborn when it came to making an appearance. Infinity War progressed their relationship by giving Hulk an opinion in the way Banner called upon him. Merging the two into Professor Hulk would allow the characters to live as a unified person. As Professor Hulk, Banner and Hulk would also be more reliable in the fight against Thanos.
With Endgame serving as a final chapter for this version of the Avengers, it should also close out the Hulk’s own character arc. Professor Hulk may just be the perfect amalgamation of Hulk and Banner, and perhaps by combining the best of these two characters forced to share a body, it could finally bring both of them some peace.
At the very least, we can’t wait to watch Professor Hulk use both his brains and brawn to whoop Thanos’ butt.
Avengers: Endgame hits theaters April 26, 2019.