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The latest Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer is the gift that keeps on giving as far groundbreaking revelations. Whether it’s our first substantive look at Vision, to whatever the hell it is that Black Widow now calls weapons, we just got treated to several clues on which people like us will nitpick with glee. However, in what could potentially be the biggest tidbit we could glean, a pair of lines uttered in the trailer may be a critical clue foreshadowing a key casualty in the film.
Examine the evidence at the 1:25 mark of the trailer embedded below. The trio of Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man are framed rather deliberately into a wide group shot, looking exceptionally somber, as Stark pessimistically interjects, "No way we all get through this" -to which Cap replies, "I got no plans tomorrow night."
It’s so deep and poetic in its setup that it just reeks of a grim foreshadowing; especially given writer/director Joss Whedon’s proclivity for creating one major cast sacrifice per film (though Agent Coulson’s television resurrection after his death in The Avengers admittedly lessened the magnitude of that death a bit.)
So, who do we think is going to get the sad send-off in The Avengers: Age of Ultron? Well, the characters featured in the shot implies that it could be either Cap, Banner, or Stark. However, we know it’s not Cap, seeing as he is playing the titular role in Captain America: Civil War next year. And anyone familiar with that film’s development knows that Tony Stark most definitely has an integral role to play in that storyline, so it can’t be him, either.
Thus, I’m learning heavily towards Banner/Hulk biting it this time around. There’s evidence for this found in process of elimination, but also based on the publicized plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those plans do not seem to include Hulk at all, which is not exactly an auspicious harbinger for Mark Ruffalo’s emerald ass-beating rage monster. In fact, Ruffalo, himself has expressed serious doubts that a Hulk solo movie would ever materialize. Plus, Joss Whedon was reportedly told by Marvel Studios head, Kevin Feige that a Hulk appearance may never again venture outside of the Avengers films. While that would seemingly secure Hulk’s spot in the series, it also puts up the kind of creative walls that are could be seen as rather limiting for the character and performer.
Additionally, the trailer seems to imply that some kind of romance is blossoming between Mark Ruffalo’s Banner and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. From the look of things, based on the bittersweet gazes of longing, it could be a short, tragic kind of romance. Their relationship began in the first Avengers film when Widow recruited Banner in Calcutta during the period he spent off the grid. There seemed to be a noticeable rapport between the two, which blossomed in a demented way when Banner Hulked out on the Helicarrier, almost killing her. However, the hint of a romance destined to end in Hulk-related tragedy could be the emotional seed from which a sacrifice of some kind will grow.
Of course, there is one major problem with the idea of Hulk dying: he’s a character that’s basically impossible to kill. As seen in previous Marvel movies, the guy can withstand any and all kinds of punishment – and he happens to be a perfect, literal embodiment of the phrase "whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger." So while there may be some suggestion that Banner will bite the bullet, the truth is that we have no idea how that could actually happen.
What do you think? Am I reading too much into this? Or are we really going to see Joss Whedon give a key member of The Avengers the Hoban Washburne/Phil Coulson sacrifice when Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1st?