In addition to blowing geek minds the world over, the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has resulted in the arrival of a brand new slate of questions and fan theories surrounding Marvel's biggest film to date.
Are those Peter Parker's Spider-Senses that we see tingling? What is that giant, circular device threatening doom in the sky? And who is it that Tony Stark seems to be mourning? One thing that we do know for certain about the upcoming fight against Thanos, however, is that it involves the triumphant return of the Hulkbuster Armor -- but that's probably not Iron Man at the controls.
The Hunted Becomes The Hunter
As seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron, our favorite genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist first used the Mark XLIV Armor to (somewhat) stop a brainwashed Hulk from devastating all of Johannesburg. The battle ended with Bruce Banner being on the wrong end of a Hulkbuster haymaker, but fast forwarding to the current point of the Marvel Cinematic Universe sets forth a very different conflict for Banner and his angry alter ego. During the events of Thor: Ragnarok, audiences see a Banner who is freshly removed from being in full-blown rage mode for multiple years, causing the scientist to fear that another transformations could make his Hulk status permanent. Banner elects to accept the risk, though, in order to help his fellow Avenger Thor save his people. The duo succeed at rescuing the day (with a little assistance from Valkyrie and Loki), and the film actually ends with Banner still in Hulk form.
Thanks to the Infinity War trailer, fans now know that Banner does in fact find a way back to his normal stature -- potentially thanks to a reunion with Black Widow and her lullaby? Now that he's back, it would make perfect sense that the scientist wouldn't want to tempt fate twice. But when Thanos arrives, promising destruction the likes of which the MCU has yet to see, the Avengers will need all hands on deck, regardless of any unconventional means it is manufactured.
Further building this theory, Banner can also be seen at the :26 mark of the trailer standing next to a detached Hulkbuster arm that is being possibly repaired or remapped to contain Banner should he Hulk out while inside it. There's also the way that we see the Hulkbuster land at the 1:29 mark that could most definitely seen as Hulk-esque by eagle-eyed viewers.
Plus, the sequence would actually play out as an homage to Marvel Comics canon, since the very same misdirect occurred in Avengers Assemble #6. Written by Brian Michael Bendis in 2012, the issue presented who was presumably believed to be Tony Stark in one of his signature armor sets -- up until the point when the Hulk's transformation exploded the suit as a surprise attack.