Was one of the most shocking deaths in Avengers: Infinity War really just a red herring? According to this fan theory, Thor’s tricksy half-brother Loki didn’t shuffle off this mortal coil after his ill-fated tete-a-tete with Thanos. Rather, he straight-up stole the identity of one of of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Hulk. While the theory sounds implausible at first glance, we’re breaking down all of the evidence on today’s episode of Nerdist News Edition.
Editor’s note: This video contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War
There have been plenty of theories about how Loki cheated death in Avengers: Infinity War, and we covered one of them on Nerdist News in July. This, however, is a different theory that involves Loki disguising himself as the not-so-jolly green giant who once used him like a rag doll to remodel the floor in Stark Tower. The theory first came to our attention earlier this year when Eaze editorial director Josh L. Dickey tweeted this out:
Loki’s dagger sneak attack on Thanos was feeble. He knew it wouldn’t work.
Heimdall also knows Banner can probably survive anything Thanos throws at him in the short-term. On Earth, Banner is acting loopy. Can’t hulk out.
Deception more useful now than force.
Banner is Loki
— Josh L. Dickey (@JLDlite) May 10, 2018
ScreenRant‘s Thomas Bacon elaborated upon it, and the evidence is really starting to stack up. According to the theory, Bruce Banner is acting suspiciously out of character for the entire movie. He can’t Hulk out, he seems to know an awful lot about the whole Thanos situation, and his long-awaited reunion with Black Widow is awkward and unusually silent. While one could chalk up the uncomfortableness of that reunion to the two-year time frame in between their last meeting, it doesn’t quite add up.
Hulk’s sudden ability to remember everything that happened to him during the battle with Thanos and company on board the Asgardian ship flies in the face of previous canon in which Bruce Banner seemingly can’t remember what happens to him when he Hulks out. As for Bruce Banner struggling to turn into his brutish alter ego, the most-accepted answer within fandom is that Hulk was embarrassed after being so easily smacked down by Thanos aboard the Asgardian ship. The Russo Brothers offered the explanation that after being in control for two years, Hulk isn’t too keen on going back to being used purely as a weapon by Bruce Banner to solve all of his problems when the going gets tough.
But more convincing than any of these arguments is the idea that Bruce’s “performance issues” were actually misdirection on the part of Loki, who has been masquerading as Hulk the whole time. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Loki steal someone’s identity. He did it to his own father at the end of Thor: The Dark World and proceeded to employ Matt Damon in a deeply narcissistic stage play.
Adding further fuel to this fire is the question of how did Heimdall know to send Hulk to the Sanctum Sanctorum? In Marvel’s Infinity Gauntlet mini-series, it is the Silver Surfer who crash-lands into Doctor Strange’s magical bachelor pad, a plot which was given to the Hulk in the movie. One could reasonably theorize that Loki had worked out a plan with Heimdall to send himself in disguise to the location of one of the only other people in the universe who has hands-on experience wielding the power of an Infinity Stone: Doctor Strange. After their less-than-pleasant encounter in Thor: Ragnarok, Loki would likely try a stealthier approach to enlisting the Sorcerer Supreme’s help so he doesn’t wind up falling for thirty minutes all over again.
So if the Hulk is actually Loki, where is the real Hulk hiding? We have three theories:
1. Hulk is safe and sound somewhere on Earth. He stashed Odin there after faking his own death at the end of The Dark World, so it’s well within his wheelhouse.
2. He could have perished in the Snapture.
3. Hulk escaped Thanos’ destruction of the Asgardian vessel along with Valkyrie, Korg, and Miek.
Or maybe Loki really did die in an attempt to heroically sacrifice himself for his brother and their people. But knowing Loki? Probably not. We’ll find out come 2019 when Avengers 4 finally rolls into theaters and attempts to solve the problem of how to undo the Snapture.
What do you think of this theory? What’s your favorite Infinity War fan theory? Let us know in the comments below.
Images: Marvel Studios