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In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Natasha Romanov gets The Hulk to relax back into Bruce Banner when The Hulk is no longer needed. I do not recall her doing this in The Avengers/Avengers Assemble, or in The Incredible Hulk. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, they call it a Lullaby.

When did Romanov start pacifying The Hulk?

Was there some off-screen story that occurred in comic books, or in some other media that explains how this started?

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    Who is David Banner? – Lightness Races in Orbit May 29 '15 at 3:09
  • maybe the green evil alter ego of Bruce Banner, about whom the world is friggin unaware of ??? :D :D :D – RicoRicochet May 29 '15 at 3:26
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    It's pretty obvious to me that Romanov is the 'Hulk Whisperer' – Jack B Nimble May 29 '15 at 3:28
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    In case Lightness and Rico are serious, David was the name used in the 1970s Incredible Hulk TV series. – Daniel Roseman May 29 '15 at 9:19
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    The scene in India in the beginning of Avengers Assemble foreshadows this to some extent, with Banner talking Romanov down from the crisis and her explicit decision to trust him and "stand down" - arguably, what we see in Ultron is that seed, turned around and nurtured. – gowenfawr May 29 '15 at 10:58
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The Lullaby was developed by Bruce Banner between the events of Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Therefore Natasha has been using it for a maximum of 1.5 years, probably less.

After the events of Avengers: Assemble, Bruce Banner began working with Tony Stark & the other Avengers on ways to control his alter-ego. Foremost among these was the Veronica Protocol, which was

a space-based delivery system that launches the Hulkbuster armor along with its support module and vibranium cage.

It's safe to assume that, during this same period, Bruce worked with Natasha to develop a way of calming himself down when a mission was over. The Lullaby itself appears to be

a post-hypnotic suggestion method of causing The Hulk to revert to Bruce Banner. Natasha approaches Hulk using some variation of the phrase "The sun's getting real low." and then taps him at two locations on his arm.

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Although we don't see the development of the Lullaby occur in any off-screen materials, a method like this would take several months to develop and test before it could be used in the field. Whereas Bruce would not want to try it without extensive testing, it's possible that Natasha could have tried it successfully on a mission without his prior approval.

The Battle of New York (Avengers: Assemble) occurred on May 4th, 2012. The raid on Baron von Strucker's base in Sokovia (Age of Ultron) occurred on April 29th, 2015. And we know that Bruce & Tony were working together as early as January 6th, 2013 (the therapy session seen in Iron Man 3). Therefore we have a window of almost two years between the two movies. Assuming at least six months development time to develop the Lullaby, we can deduce that Natasha has been using it in the field less than 1.5 years.

  • At the end of Ultron, Natasha was trying to trigger it over video, so I doubt the touch was required – user16696 May 29 '15 at 18:52
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    @cde : True, but I think that was her only option at the time. As we saw, it also had no effect. – Omegacron May 29 '15 at 19:29
  • I never realized that Bruce was part of the Veronica Protocol. That makes sense; but did Natasha touch his arm in two points or more drag her finger across his palm? That is what I remember seeing... just curious! – Odin1806 Dec 17 '17 at 17:26
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The first time we see Black Widow attempt to calm down The Hulk into Bruce Banner is in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Being as we saw no hint of this in Avengers Assemble/The Avengers and we have not seen the two of them interact in any other films, it is likely that Natasha first started calming The Hulk down when The Avengers first reformed in order to take down Hydra after the fall of SHIELD in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That would mean that when Avengers: Age of Ultron occurs, Natasha has most likely been doing it for around a year, give or take however long it took them to discover this reliable way to calm him down.

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Well, if you read their body language considering the fact that they have a romantic link and how Natasha is the only one who can do it (Thor tried in Ragnarok) it's likely a way to invoke another more powerful emotion into the mind of the Hulk. The way Natasha caresses his forearm and hand. Then she has a smirk as she's looks down and sort of away as if she's blushing at his reaction. All boils down to hormones, they're attracted to each other and she's turning him on to calm him down. Simple.

  • Do you have evidence for any of this? – Edlothiad Dec 17 '17 at 15:39
  • The question asked "when", not "how". – Blackwood Dec 17 '17 at 17:58

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