The Hulk has had many different incarnations over the years, shifting from uncontrollable berserker to crafty brawler to everything in-between. There’s one incarnation of the Hulk who catapulted into the public consciousness due to his appearance in Avengers: Endgame: Professor Hulk. The amalgamation of multiple Hulk personalities, Professor Hulk has been noticeably absent during the recent events of The Immortal Hulk, when his presence could help shift things away from the terrible future the One-Below-All has in store for Hulk and the entire Marvel Universe.
Who exactly is Professor Hulk, and could he reappear in The Immortal Hulk?
First appearing in the final moments of Incredible Hulk #377 by Peter David and Dale Keown, Professor Hulk combines many of the strongest elements of the other personalities that make up Hulk. Gifted with the incredible strength of the Savage Hulk but with the cunning of Joe Fixit and the intelligence (and morality) of Bruce Banner, Professor Hulk is one of the most potent and powerful figures in the history of the character.
However, despite his best efforts to better contain and control the rage that has often-times defined the character, Professor Hulk is often challenged by others around him and the test they put to his patience. If properly enraged, he can even transform into a feral version of Bruce Banner. Hulk primarily uses this personality until the events of Onslaught catapults Hulk into the Heroes Reborn Universe — costing him this form. Professor Hulk is eventually revealed to just be another shade of Banner’s personality but remains one of the most overtly heroic.
A version of the character ended up appearing in Avengers: Endgame. During the five-year time-skip between the beginning of Endgame and the majority of the plot, Bruce Banner was able to come to a place of peace between himself and the side of him represented by the Hulk. This version of the Hulk was similar to the Professor Hulk from the comics, proving to have the genius and strength necessary to utilize the Infinity Gauntlet — albeit at the apparent cost of one of his arms. He’s also notably at peace with himself, with Banner only appearing as the spirit inside of the Hulk when confronting the Ancient One in the past.
Many of the Hulk personalities of the past have been pushed to the side recently, thanks to the interference and influence of the Devil Hulk. Slowly, however, other versions of the Hulk have fought through and appeared. Joe Fixit was able to briefly take control of Banner’s body during a fight in the Shadow Base and the Savage Hulk was unleashed during the scheme for Xemnu to replace the Hulk in the minds of the world’s populace. Even the Green Scar has been shown seemingly breaking free and impacting the world around them, proving capable of standing up to Xemnu and killing him.
Professor Hulk has only been mentioned, not seen. It’s possible that, as the most overtly heroic Hulk, the Devil Hulk hid him away as deep into Banner’s subconscious as he could. He could even be disguised as the Devil Hulk, who was recently shown to be in chains within Banner’s mind. There have been hints that the One-Below-All (who has a deep connection with the Devil Hulk and wants to use him to kill and consume across the next iteration of reality) can actually consume versions of the Hulk, which could have been the grisly fate of Professor Hulk. Or, there’s always a chance his original idea was sound — that he’s actually the combination of the previous Hulk incarnations.
This means that there’s a chance the various Hulks (and even Green Scar, who is an independent personality) could fuse once more into Professor Hulk. This version of the Jade Giant might be the only one that could hope to stand up to the Devil Hulk once and for all. It’s just a question of whether or not that version of the character will ever actually get the chance to fight him.
Could the version of the Hulk who appeared in Avengers: Endgame make a reappearance to help bring down the Devil Hulk?