After the encounter with Ultron is wrapped up, Bruce Banner (in Hulk form) is on board a quinjet, presumably on auto-pilot back to headquarters, talking to Natasha over the comm link. Instead of returning to his team, he shuts of the communicator and goes AWOL.

By the end of the movie, we know he hasn't yet contacted SHIELD nor Natasha personally.

Why did he choose not to return with the rest of the Avengers, and do we have any idea what his future plans are?

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    @SS-Pi I assume you're asking what his motivations are? Or are you asking what he was trying to acheive? (given that last time S.H.E.I.L.D found him anyway.) Apr 27, 2015 at 5:10
  • Obviously he's going to Los Angeles to talk with the one person he can truly trust and confide in: his cousin Jennifer. (Seriously, why was this not part of Phase 3?!?) May 6, 2015 at 20:13
  • @MasonWheeler: they were saving it for Phase 4. May 11, 2021 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


Given SHIELD's express desire to weaponize the Hulk (and to a lesser extent, all the Avengers) I can see why Banner would do everything in his power to avoid being tracked or followed by SHIELD or its operatives. Honestly, his plans simply appeared to be to keep anyone from trying to use the Hulk again.

The catastrophe of the Hulk under mind-control and Stark's inability to quell the Hulk without laying waste to part of a city is Banner's primary fear. He feels compelled to avoid anything like that from happening again. With good reason, even with the Hulkbuster and the Veronica support system, Stark barely was able to regain control of the Hulk.

  • Knowing what we know about SHIELD in its televised series, it is possible he may believe he has a greater opportunity for privacy than he has had in the past. If he is able to keep his transformations to a minimum, it is conceivable he could stay off of SHIELD's radar for quite some time before being rediscovered.

  • Given the history of the Hulk, very few efforts to control or use the Hulk in any controlled fashion ever end up working out well or for very long. Banner may have decided this last foray with SHIELD and the Avengers simply had too much collateral damage, much of which was caused by him.

His relationship with Natasha was far less of an issue than it appeared. His feelings were genuine but felt the danger of the Hulk was more of a threat than he was prepared to allow anyone to shoulder on his behalf. Knowing Romanoff's dedication to SHIELD or whatever agency is paying the bills, it would only be a matter of time before she would be asked to bring the Hulk in to help.

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    This holds true, but I can't help but feel this had more to do with his conversation with Natasha... I feel he was distancing himself from her...
    – Stark07
    Apr 27, 2015 at 7:38
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    She is a control factor. If she has the power to calm the Hulk, then she is just another means for SHIELD to control the Hulk. Just another factor in his decision to ghost. Apr 27, 2015 at 7:41
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    Hmm... True. I just wonder if this was more about his personal relationship with Nat rather than with SHIELD...
    – Stark07
    Apr 27, 2015 at 7:42
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    @ash_k29 : I think they were both factors. Not only did he want to get away from SHIELD, he has always had a fear of getting close to anyone lest the Hulk hurt them.
    – Omegacron
    Apr 27, 2015 at 14:59
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    @Omegacron - this is what came to my mind. He is wary of letting Natasha near him in the first place...
    – Stark07
    Apr 27, 2015 at 15:02

I believe his major motive behind this was he did not want to endanger anybody.

He was very wary when

Natasha tries to get intimate with him. He isn't very comfortable with this, & is trying to protect her from the "other guy". He also says to the effect that he trusts her, it's the "other guy" who he doesn't.

We have seen this in the past as well.

  1. In Hulk (2003 film) he leaves civilized settlements & goes to live in a forest alone.
  2. In Incredible hulk (2008 film) yet again we see him living in a remote place.
  3. In Avengers we see him living in a remote village in Calcutta.

Please note that in both cases he leaves everything so as to put his love away from the "other guy"s path.

I believe that is something he does at a personal level. He doesn't want to endanger people around him. We hear this from time to time.

Remember, in Avengers he says

"The last time I was in New York I kinda broke Harlem"...

This clearly shows some level of remorse. Also,

Natasha Romanoff: You want to think about removing yourself from this environment, Doctor?

Bruce Banner: [chuckles] I was in Calcutta, I was pretty well removed.

  • The 2003 movie isn't canon (Marvel Cinematic Universe)...
    – user931
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:38
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    @SS-3.1415926535897932384626433 - point taken. But my point is that we see his motives in Incredible Hulk as well. Despite being outside MCU, I feel that Banner's motives remain the same.
    – Stark07
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:56

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