Early last week I wrote on a potential theory concerning Hulk's encounter with Scarlet Witch. You can catch that piece here. But if you'd rather not suffer through reading that post AND this post, the heart of the post is that everyone got a front row seat to all the visions Maximoff produced inside the Avenger's minds, except Hulk's. I wondered, could the absence of this vision be intentional on Marvel's part? Well, within a few short days, many fans openly shared their best thoughts and theories regarding what happened to our favorite Green Rage Monster that caused the mass destruction in South Africa. Surprisingly, most of them point to what we might see in Big Green's cinematic future.
But before venturing into that territory, I should mention, quite a few people believed Maximoff merely controlled the Hulk; every Avenger saw their nightmare unfold, and the chaos and destruction caused by his own hand WAS Hulk's nightmare. This is possible, but this raises the question of Wanda's motive. Why manipulate every other Avenger with futuristic visions and not Banner? If you explore Hulk's backstory, you'll find a plethora of rage and anger in his mental soil for Scarlet Witch to plant her seed. It seems unlikely she wouldn't. While it is remotely possible she just wanted to use Hulk as a play toy, with the destruction she caused to an innocent populace (which, as I understand, was never even a motive for the Maximoff twins), Hulk raging through South Africa was more than likely collateral damage cause by what he saw in his vision. That being said, this article is coming from the presupposition that Banner actually saw something that caused him Hulk out. Here are some of the most common theories fans gave:
Planet Hulk/WW Hulk
This was, far and away, the most popular theory out there, and it shouldn't be a surprise. Hardcore Hulk fans (myself included) have been clamoring for another Hulk solo outing since Mark Ruffalo took up the mantle of Banner/Hulk. As awesome as this would be, the skeptic in me says...
Apparently my inner skeptic is British...or Cockney. I always confused the two. As interesting as it is to think Hulk saw a futuristic vision of his outer-space escapades, I just don't see a Planet Hulk/WW Hulk movie happening. Not because I don't want it. Rather, it's because the people at Marvel have given us some pretty clear signals that there are no solo Hulk outings planned. Also, given Big Green's track record, it could be awhile before we see him strike out on his own again. Sadly, both Hulk movies under-performed in the box office and were not well received by a non-superhero audience. Maybe in phase 4 Marvel fans will get the Hulk movie they deserve...just not the one they need right now (Should I not have cross pollinated with DC? Oh well). But you never know. How great would it be to get surprised with Ruffalo's Hulk on his own movie poster, donning the classic arena battle armor with Tony Stark's iconic line above his head: "Time to suit up." That would be pretty fantastic...but very unlikely.
Captain America: Civil War
Sadly, it has been all but confirmed that the Hulk will not be making an appearance in [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) or Guardians of the Galaxy 2. However, that doesn't mean his story won't be explored, or that we won't see some juicy mid-credit or post-credit scene that will hint at the Hulk's whereabouts. Knowing Marvel never does anything unintentionally, we know that Hulk flying solo (literally) at the end of [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) is pointing us to something bigger. I'm just hoping Marvel doesn't leave us hanging for too long.
While her character is rather peripheral to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, quite a few people expressed that Banner could have received an unwelcome cognitive visitation from some trauma connected to his past, namely, with his old (and still current?) flame, Betty Ross. This isn't an unreasonable theory. If true, that would seamlessly lead into Betty's reappearance in films to come, but it could also tie up some loose ends with Banner. After all, we've heard absolutely no mention of Betty Ross since 2008's The Incredible Hulk. If you think this theory is far-fetched, let me remind you of the code-name Stark and Banner gave to the Hulk-Buster: Veronica. This is actually a wink and nod to the Archie comic books. Archie has two love interests: Veronica and...Betty! Besides, if you have any knowledge of the Hulk, you know that Betty Ross plays an integral role in his story. It would be crazy for Marvel not to bring her back at some point.
Considering General Ross' reappearance in the MCU and the subtle wink and nod to Betty in Age of Ultron, I'm betting we'll see some backstory between Bruce and Betty in the near future.