Ever since Avengers: Infinity War landed in cinemas, the internet has been rife with theories about every single facet of the film.
It’s been watched by a lot of people – and we mean a lot: at the time of writing it is the highest-grossing film of 2018 and the fourth-highest grossing of all time.
Consequently, a lot of people have a lot of ideas about what was really going on, reading between the lines to point out a couple of things that aren’t explicitly revealed on screen.
It goes without saying that the following paragraphs will contain spoilers, so bear that in mind before you keep reading.
There were a lot of deaths in Infinity War, meaning attention would soon turn to whether they’re the sort of deaths people can come back from or, y’know, real deaths where they actually die.
Thanos claiming there would be “no resurrections” seems to add to this, but what if there was a way to not die which doesn’t require what most would class as a resurrection.
When a beloved character dies off in another film fans can console themselves into believing their fave is still alive somehow, often performing significant contortions to justify the stance.
And so it has proved with Infinity War: Loki may have died early in the film, never to return, but did he actually die? Not if you believe the latest and most ambitious theory to begin doing the rounds.
Based on the idea that “deception is more powerful than force” in the face of Thanos, journalist Josh Dickey offered the suggestion that Loki isn’t actually dead, he’s just hiding… as Bruce Banner.
Dickey isn’t the only one to espouse the theory, which has since almost taken on a life of its own.
Writing for ScreenRant, Thomas Bacon added more meat to the bones of the idea, pointing to Banner/Hulk being noticeably out of character throughout the film.
“There’s something not quite right about the scenes on Earth involving Bruce Banner. He seems ever-so-slightly out of character, rushing from one situation to the next with an air of bemused desperation,” Bacon writes.
“Bruce Banner’s “performance issues” compound the problem. The film shows him struggling to transform into the Hulk. It was an unexpected plot twist, and not an altogether satisfying one… Is it possible, though, that in reality these “performance issues” were essentially just a bit of acting and illusion on Loki’s part?”
If that all sounds a bit contrived, hold on a second – you haven’t heard the smoking gun in the argument.
Banner is generally shown to remember little to nothing about his time as the Hulk, and yet he knows a fair bit about the infinity stones. Who else knows a fair bit on that front? You guessed it.
This theory is unlike most in that it surprisingly holds together under quite a bit of scrutiny. Sure, you might need to make one or two jumps, but nothing two dramatic and nothing where the existence of said jump contradicts other parts of the narrative.
Hell, Bacon even has an explanation for where the real Banner is among all of this deception. Seriously, he goes very, very, very deep into all of this.
Naturally, we didn’t get closure on any of this within Infinity War itself, but plenty of folks will now be waiting for future additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to find out what’s really been going on.
Who knows, maybe this will play a huge part in the upcoming, fourth Avengers film…