The next major Avengers villain might be hiding right in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's backyard. A new Avengers: Endgame theory has gone on to say that Bruce Banner/Hulk is the next menace, but as Maestro. Maestro Hulk is a supervillain from an alternate future that is the most brutal mix of brain and brawn. Warning: spoilers for Avengers: Endgame follow.
Posting to Reddit’s r/FanTheories, user u/IAmTheDos argues Hulk’s depiction in Endgame — which sees Banner and Hulk achieve harmony as Smart Hulk, inspired by Professor Hulk of Marvel Comics lore — is set up for Maestro as Banner has “figuratively murdered the Hulk and stolen his body.”
The merger of personalities resulted in a Hulk who is “fairly happy/carefree,” the user writes, and the noticeable shift in persona is different from the toddler-like Hulk seen in Thor: Ragnarok.
The user points to Hulk’s jovial attitude as a green-skinned celebrity who jokes around when testing time travel on Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), prompting Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) — who enjoyed a friendship with the brute Hulk who emerged as a gladiatorial champion on the planet of Sakaar — to say she preferred his other iterations: warrior Hulk and Banner himself.
Because Banner and Hulk’s unseen merger into a significantly mood-changed Hulk results in an entirely new personality, whose differences are noted by characters such as former lover Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Captain America (Chris Evans), the user argues Hulk’s power is “affecting Banner’s mind like a psychoactive drug.”
This will “slowly corrupt his mind,” transforming Hulk into an unleashed Hulk who wages war on his former allies.
Comic book storylines that could be adapted to service this story would be "Future Imperfect," where Maestro originated as a 100-years-later Hulk driven mad by the lingering effects of a world destroyed by nuclear war, Civil War II, borrowing from a recent Marvel Comics event that saw Bruce Banner cut down and killed by Hawkeye, and "World War Hulk," which saw the Green Goliath return as a furious “World Breaker” Hulk after his superhero allies banished him into space.
Avengers co-director Joe Russo recently told ComicBook.com the merger of the two personalities was viewed as “the only natural progression” for the body-sharing Banner and the Other Guy, whose struggle reached its peak in Avengers: Infinity War when Hulk refused to help Banner following an ass-kicking handed down by Thanos (Josh Brolin).
“Banner reflects over that five-year period about ‘The two of us have been fighting over this host body for years and we lost because we were fighting. It was selfish of us to fight over the host body,’” Russo said. “So the only natural progression forward for someone as intelligent as Banner to resolve the situation is, ‘Let’s merge ourselves. Let’s quit fighting over the host body and just merge.’”
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