At the beginning of Avengers: Infnity War Thanos had already beaten Hulk to a pulp. He had no Infinity Stones on him and was practically useless at that point.

So when Heimdall transported Hulk from Asgard, why did Thanos say "That was a mistake" to Heimdall?

What was the mistake on his part?

What unfinished business did Thanos have with Hulk?

  • Heimdall tries to fight against Thanos. Sending hulk to earth to warn others mean things may get more complicated for hulk. So that's why he threaten to the Heimdall
    – Vishwa
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 12:59
  • 3
    @Vishwa ..complicated for Thanos, you mean?
    – Charles
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 13:02
  • @Charles more work... nothing impossible I mean. p.s: I get what you mean though ;)
    – Vishwa
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 13:41

4 Answers 4


There are two ways to interpret the statement Thanos makes:

  1. He's telling Heimdall that Heimdall has made a mistake
  2. He's muttering to himself that it was a mistake not to kill Heimdall

Given the way he says it directly to Heimdall, I'm of the opinion that it's the 1st version. The only reason that action could have been a mistake made by Heimdall is that it will negatively impact Heimdall himself.

Thanos was already completely in control of the Asgardian vessel at this point, and had presumably (as per Thor's later comment) "slaughtered half my people".

Had Heimdall not carried out the transport of Hulk, presumably Heimdall would have been left as one of the (injured) survivors. Thus, it was a mistake as it prompted Thanos to kill Heimdall.


Heimdall sent Hulk to earth so that he could warn people of Thanos's coming, and presumably Thanos knew this (or could safely assume it). So the issue was not that Thanos still had any particular use for Hulk, or that he wanted to kill Hulk before moving on. But his overall chances of success in collecting all the stones were hurt by Heimdall's move.


Thanos told Heimdall "That was a mistake." because Heimdall transported Hulk to Earth, and Thanos did not appreciate that action, so he killed him for it. Yes, he seemed like he was going to destroy the ship anyways, but maybe he wasn't initially going to and instead just get the stone, kill Loki, and then leave. But now that he did that, he disrespected Thanos and so thus lost his life. I really think that's all this comes down to.

E: Don't know why this is being downvoted. The logic is the exact same as that of @Dave above. He explains it in more detail, but it's the same idea.

  • Thanos only decides to kill Loki when Loki betrays him, I doubt that was the plan from the start. Commented May 8, 2019 at 8:46
  • Why do you think Loki grabbed the Tesseract at the end of Thor: Ragnorak? There might have been a few but Loki knows that he did not retrieve that for Thanos and that he also lost Thanos the mind stone, something Thanos was previously in possession of. Thanos has every right to be mad at Loki. Loki took the Tesseract in large part to serve as a bargaining tool should he ever run into Thanos again. Why do you think he looked so scared when he sees his ship in the post-credits scene of Thor: Ragnorak and at the start of IW? Commented May 9, 2019 at 16:29
  • @TheLethalCarrot, Loki sees that upon offering the Tesseract and saying "we have a hulk" (thus demonstrating where Loki stands in relation to Thanos), and after Thanos easily beats the Hulk (someone Loki personally knows to be incredibly powerful), that he's even more vulnerable and likely to die, so in a desperate attempt to save his life he says he can help as a guide, which Thanos rejects, then in one absolute last attempt to save himself (and possibly his people, though mainly himself) he tries to stab Thanos which obviously doesn't work. Commented May 9, 2019 at 16:33

[Short version] Loki is inside The Hulk. Heimdall helped Loki escape, and Thanos knows. Loki will be hunted down anyway, so the escape is momentarily & wasted (he could have used it on somebody else), and Heimdall will be executed for this.


  • Banner, who has years of experience controlling Hulk, is in control of them all, but once Hulk manifests Loki would take over (forever). To prevent this, Hulk refuses to come out AT ALL. Hence so little screen time for the big green guy.

  • Loki is also feeding Banner information about Thanos, which is why Banner knows so much in the movie about things he should not.

  • Heimdall knows Loki is in Banner, that is why he transported Hulk to earth so quickly (Thanos would torture innocent hero Hulk to inflict pain on Loki). Thanos knows where Loki is, and that Heimdall knows, which is why he says it was a mistake (Hulk + Loki will be hunted down and tortured anyway). Thanos kills Heimdall there and then for his role in Loki's escape (Thor is left alive, since Thor did not directly break his rules).

  • Thanos merely kills Loki (even tough he should be tortured for his Tesseract failure and endless betrayal), because it is a mere shell of the real Loki. This is also why Thanos so explicitly says: "No resurrection for you this time". He is aware Loki's essence/soul is alive, but he cannot resurrect without a body.

  • Hulk vs Thanos actually being Huloki vs Thanos (with Hulk + Loki fighting for control) allows for a much better Hulk/Huloki vs Thanos fight in Avengers 4.

[Me attempting to write version] Loki, a cowardly schemer by nature, was desperately searching for a way out. He was stuck on a spaceship, with Thanos, and he knew that torture was waiting for him (1). That is when it came to him, he would transfer himself into the Hulk and take over. It was a clever move befitting the God of mischief.

For who had a better chance against Thanos than Huloki? He had seen the Hulk and his stupid brother fight, and even Thor's newfound Lightning Power only gave the Hulk pause (2). All he had to do was take control of the giant green oaf's brain, similarly to what Scarlet Witch had done before (3). If Huloki could not defeat Thanos with brute force, he could try a ploy like he had done with Algrim (4). If the worst came to pass, and Huloki was defeated, he would hide safely in insect Banner. Thanos does not crush insects without a reason (5), so he would be safe inside Banner while his physical body inhabited by his illusion would be tortured.

Unfortunately, as with all of Loki's plans, it would not work out. Upon transferring, the Hulk began fighting Loki for control, and Thanos quickly defeated the absent-minded Huloki. Worse for Loki, Thanos was not so easily fooled and was aware of what the trickster had done.

But then something happened he did not expect (or did he?). The all-seeing Heimdall, having trained himself for years to see trough Loki's tricks (6), not only knew that Loki was in the Hulk, but had also seen that Thanos was aware of it as well. Loki quickly realized that Heimdall would not allow Huloki to be tortured: the Hulk had just saved Thor and ultimately the people of Asgard, and it would be unthinkable for such a hero to be tortured because of the things Loki had done. Thus summoning the last of his powers, Heimdall transferred Huloki away to earth.

It was a little later that Loki learned what had happened next. Thanos could not allow what Heimdall had done to merely pass, and gave him a clean death. The only solace that could be found was that Heimdall knew that what he had done was not for nothing; Thanos had said that Heimdall had made a mistake, thus making it clear that Thanos was indeed aware of Loki inhabiting the Hulk. Thanos, not caring to torture the fake Loki, had merely killed Loki's physical body, preventing his immediate resurrection.

The story of Loki ends (for now) with Loki as a mere helpless parasite. The Hulk refuses itself to manifest, knowing that Loki would take control. For now Loki had to content himself with feeding Banner information about Thanos. If only Hulk would stop raging in his ear about how he made him loose a fight for the first time ever...

(1) Avengers - “If you fail, if the Tesseract is kept from us, there will be no realm no barren moon, no crevice where we cannot find you. You think you know pain? He will make you long for something as sweet as pain.”

(2) Thor 3.

(3) Avengers 2.

(4) Thor 2.

(5) Avenger 3.

(6) Thor - "Never has an enemy escaped my watch until this day. I want to know how it happened."

  • 5
    Welcome to Movies.SE! I hate to say it, but this sounds like total nonsense.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 12:18
  • 1
    I saw this fan-theory just yesterday on reddit. It was dumb then... It is dumb now... Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 14:02
  • Went looking for that, but all I found is the theory that Loki is posing as Banner.
    – Frank
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 5:39
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    Loki's soul being a separate entity is far more in-line with what we already know. Particular interesting is Odin's death, and his reappearance to talk to Thor. Also, notice the parallel's between the portrayal of Odin death, Freya's funeral, and of the heroes at the end of Avengers 3. Basically, as long as a person's soul is intact, they can be revived during Avengers 4. This is also important for Gamora, whose soul is also still present, but had a strong physical death. Of course there are a 1001 other possibilities, but calling this dumb is just ignorant (welcome to Movies.SE).
    – Frank
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 5:52
  • Regardless of 'dumb'-ness, this is pure speculation and does not belong as an answer on any SE.
    – CGriffin
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 14:24

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