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Infinity War Theory: Loki Was Posing As Bruce Banner

Did Loki survive Avengers: Infinity War after all, by hiding in plain sight, disguised as Bruce Banner? Marvel's Kevin Feige teased that the deaths in Infinity War may be permanent, and the film's opening sequence went one step further, with Thanos assuring viewers, "No resurrections this time." The Mad Titan might as well have given a nod and a wink to the viewers as he said it, promising that this time Marvel would break their tradition of fake deaths. But, by the end of the film, it was clear the stakes weren't quite so high as promised. Thanos's finger-snap killed off half the life in universe, but the most notable victims were all characters who have confirmed sequels. No doubt there will be long-term consequences from Thanos's atrocity, but some of these were fake deaths.

If that's the case, any death in Infinity War is open to question. Including, of course, as always, the death of Loki. The death of the God of Mischief was hardly unexpected; he was known to possess the Tesseract, and that meant he was standing in Thanos's firing line. Killing off Loki in the first scene was a shock tactic, a way of making the film seem powerful and evocative, and it truly worked. But was Loki actually tricking, not only Thanos, but the viewers themselves? Former entertainment journalist Josh Dickey has an interesting theory that Loki was really fooling everyone the whole time. Again. And is alive and well posing as Banner.

It's a surprising theory, but taking it a step deeper reveals there's quite a strong flow of argument to it. Let's take a look at the evidence:

Bruce Banner Is Suspiciously Out Of Character

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. When Banner is finally reunited with Black Widow, the two trade an awkward smile and then avoid any personal talk at all. The Russos have suggested that's because two years have passed, and both characters have moved on; that doesn't quite work for Banner, though, who spent the last two years as the Hulk. To Banner, the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron were only a few days ago. It also doesn't explain quite why filming a reunion scene left Scarlett Johansson "so devastated" - perhaps she's actually referring to a reunion scene that we haven't seen yet.

Related: Did Marvel Change Hulk’s Story In Avengers: Infinity War?

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. The fundamental problem was that viewers couldn't understand why the Hulk wouldn't come out and play during the Battle of Wakanda. The common view is that the Hulk was afraid, shocked after being beaten down so easily by Thanos. The Russos themselves have seemed surprised by this interpretation, instead proposing that the Hulk is tired of being brought out just to fight. He hates Banner with a passion, and hates being his weapon. Is it possible, though, that in reality these "performance issues" were essentially just a bit of acting and illusion on Loki's part?

The final point here is that Bruce Banner knows far too much about Infinity Stones - more than he has any right to. He also seems to remember everything the Hulk experienced on the Asgardian vessel, and that's just odd; previous films have established that Banner can remember nothing from his time as the Hulk. Something about this just doesn't add up.

Loki Knows Doctor Strange Is The Key

The opening scenes of Avengers: Infinity War are rather odd, not least because of Heimdall's strange decision to send the Hulk directly to the Sanctum Sanctorum. That particular plot is lifted straight from Jim Starlin's Infinity Gauntlet miniseries, which saw the Silver Surfer crashland in the Sanctum Sanctorum in a similar manner. But in the context of Infinity War's own plot, it doesn't quite make sense. How did Heimdall know to send Bruce Banner there?

One possible solution is that this entire chain of events is masterminded by Loki. He and Thor are the only two people on that Asgardian vessel who should really know about the Sanctum Sanctorum. What's more, while his brother may be able to sit opposite an Infinity Stone without recognizing it, Loki has far more experience with these ancient relics. It's hardly inconceivable that he recognized the Time Stone around Doctor Strange's neck when he briefly encountered the sorcerer in Thor: Ragnarok. So Strange, a man who wields an Infinity Stone and may well understand the dangers posed by Thanos, is the one man Loki would wish to go to.

Related: What Is Doctor Strange’s Plan in Avengers: Infinity War?

But here's the catch; Loki knows full well that Strange has no reason to trust him. He already had trouble dealing with Strange in Ragnarok. If he enters the Sanctum Sanctorum as himself, Loki will only be met with hostility and distrust. It's a far wiser move to go in disguise, to pretend to be someone else. The problem is, he if he goes as one of the Avengers currently on Earth, he runs a higher chance of getting found out, and his warnings about Thanos could be rejected.

Page 2: Where is Hulk, Actually?

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Infinity War: Why Heimdall Could Only Send Hulk To Earth

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Infinity War Theory: Loki Was Posing As Bruce Banner