I know what it's like to lose. To feel so desperately that you're right, yet to fail nonetheless. It's frightening, turns the legs to jelly. I ask you to what end? Dread it? Run from it? Destiny arrives all the same. And now it's here. Or should I say... I am.
~ Thanos' most famous speech.
Thanos is the overall main antagonist of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; serving as the overarching antagonist of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, and a mid-credits scene character in Avengers: Age of Ultron before appearing as the main antagonist of Avengers: Infinity War. He will reappear in Avengers: Endgame as the main antagonist once again.
He is an extremely powerful extraterrestrial warlord who commands a massive army known as the Chitauri. He formed an alliance with Loki to invade Earth, and later forged a partnership with Ronan the Accuser to destroy Xandar - both in exchange for the deliverance of two powerful Infinity Stones, only for the pair to end up failing with their tasks before betraying Thanos afterwards.
In The Avengers, he was portrayed by Damion Poitier. In Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Avengers: Infinity War, he was portrayed by Josh Brolin, who is known for his role of Dr. William Block in Planet Terror by Grindhouse and Cable in Deadpool 2. Brolin will reprise his role in Avengers: Endgame.
You think you know pain? He will make you long for something as sweet as pain.
~ The Other describing Thanos.
Thanos embodies the very meaning of a galactic overlord. His hunger for power, despite already being among the most (if not the most) powerful beings in the universe, is evident by his searching for the Infinity Stones with the apparent goal of controlling all of existence. He desired to use the Tesseract to look beyond the known worlds to find greater ones that it would unveil. He is also extremely dangerous, bloodthirsty, sadistic, and cruel, finding children that he can raise to be assassins and forcing them to watch as he murdered their families and destroyed half of their respective races. He is also an exceptionally intimidating individual, easily striking fear into those who are his allies even if they hold considerable abilities and powers, with Ronan the Accuser showing visible signs of fear in his presence and Loki doing so at the mere mention of him, as well as being able to command the Chitauri army unchallenged.
Thanos is extremely unforgiving and intolerant of failures, with a loathsome nature; The Other warned Loki that he would know a new kind of pain if he did not give them the Tesseract, something which visibly scared the God of Mischief and made him more determined than ever out of fear of Thanos' power. Even though Thor had not yet known about Thanos, he could still sense Thanos' easy control over Loki as being absurd due to Loki's arrogance. This side of his was shown further when Thanos furiously threatened to bathe the stairways in Ronan's blood if he failed to deliver the Orb, something which scared one of the strongest Kree into submission, and forbade Gamora from rescuing Nebula when the latter fell into a trap whilst on a mission in the Cloud Tombs of Praxius. Strangely, while he did ruthlessly kill Loki for failing him and attempting to kill him, he did not torture Loki first, apparently deeming the God of Lies as not being worth his time due to being far more interested in his winning war for the Infinity Stones.
When he was faced with opposition, Thanos found enjoyment in taking down his enemies with ease, especially if said opponent managed to stand a chance against him in a fight. When the Hulk attacked him on the Statesman, Cull Obsidian tried to intervene, but Ebony Maw stopped Obsidian and told him to "let [Thanos] have his fun." Thanos also displayed his cruelty when he forced the dwarves of Nidavellir to forge the Infinity Gauntlet in order to control the power of all the six Infinity Stones at once. After they had completed the Gauntlet and presented it to Thanos, Thanos massacred them all, leaving only Eitri, the Dwarf King alive. Thanos then cut off Eitri's hands, refusing to let him forge any weapons out of paranoia that he may forge a weapon that could defeat him. He also made Thor watch his own brother died, grinning as he slowly strangled Loki in front of him and afterward tossing Loki's corpse in front of him. Thanos also had no qualms about torturing and even murdering children to achieve his goals, as seen with his "modifications" to Nebula, presumably added to her at a young age. He also seemed to allow his minions to harm children as well, such as when Ronan the Accuser murdered Drax's family, his young daughter included. His plan to snap away half of the universe would have definitely included children as well.
Thanos has little to no regard for his followers, even his adopted children, showing absolutely no empathy when Ronan killed The Other and referring to Gamora as his "favorite daughter", even with Nebula present. He remained calm even after learning of Maw's death and was not fazed by the death of all the Black Order, although given he said Maw did his mission anyway, it is implied he may feel gratitude for their loyalty and respects their efforts. While Thanos' charisma makes him able to inspire complete loyalty to most of his adopted siblings, he is not flawless in his ability to fake parental affection and to the children he dislikes, he inspires no love, as he is despised by his own "daughters", Gamora and Nebula. Thanos has proven to have absolutely no care for Nebula, as he had no qualms removing parts of her in order to make her stronger, taking her apart piece by piece and replacing her with artificial limbs and organs so she would be able to defeat her sister and always punishing her for failing. He even went as far as to cruelly and ruthlessly torture her and seems to have zero respect for her skills as a fighter, going as far as to say that he did not want to waste time killing her. However, Thanos is not completely unable to love. He quickly took interest in Gamora after seeing her fight against her captor and decided to spare her and even went as far as to shield her from the massacre of the Zehobereis, teaching her on his views of balance. He grew to genuinely care for and deeply love Gamora as his child. Thanos held her abilities above all others and favored her above all of the other adopted children, to the point that he entrusted her to find the Soul Stone and was visibly disappointed by her lie. He notably did not torture her but instead Nebula to retrieve the Soul Stone. He was deeply saddened for having to kill her to get the Soul Stone and mourns and feels severe emotional pain for her death that Mantis was able to feel.
Thanos is also manipulative and hesitant to trust, sending Ronan to retrieve the Orb for him and not telling him that it contained an Infinity Stone. He keeps a low profile, lurking in the shadows and making others do his work for him. However, after both of his alliances backfired, he shows that he is fully capable of taking action himself, as he decided to hunt for the Infinity Stones himself.
Thanos is also highly confident to the point of borderline arrogance. He merely smiled when The Other told him challenging the Avengers is like courting Death. He even was unfazed when Ronan threatened to kill him with The Orb, despite knowing well that the Kree was already very powerful even without the Stone, displaying only anger over his betrayal. Thanos also confidently smiled when he decided to collect the Infinity Stones personally. He also called himself "generous" when discussing the traits Gamora inherited from him, a further sign of Thanos' delusions.
Thanos claims multiple times that he wants to wipe out half of life in the universe to save the other half from extinction. In truth, Thanos is just trying to prove himself right after his species rejected the solution he proposed many years ago and force it on the universe at large, according to director Joe Russo. Therefore, Thanos actively ignores any other options, such as doubling resources, and does not mind decimating three quarters of some species — according to The Russo Brothers, the Decimation killed half of those he has already halved before, such as Asgardians, the Zehoberei, or Drax's people. And that is not taking into account i.e. losses the Asgardians suffered from Hela before him.
It has been revealed that Thanos once had a kinder and more benevolent side to himself, as he cared deeply for his planet and people even though he was shunned for being deformed, as he tried everything he could to convince the governments of his planet to do what he suggests. The fact that they were unable to understand his resolve to save his planet and called him insane permanently made him who he was in the present with his desire to exterminate half of the population of every planet so as to save these civilizations from the same overpopulation tragedy which destroyed his home planet. This is why Thanos truly believed his cause for killing off half of everyone in all planets to be a righteous cause, seeing himself a righteous soul who is doing what is necessary to save all the civilizations of the universe, so they do not face the same tragedy as his home planet.
Thanos is also shown to have an honorable side. While perfectly willing to manipulate others, he seems to disapprove of lies, as he never taught Gamora how to lie and was clearly disappointed that she lied on the Soul Stone. He honors his end of the deal, as even though he was angry for Ronan causing him to lose Gamora and returning empty-handed, he was still willing to fulfill the end of their deal. He even extends this to his enemies, sparing Iron Man when Doctor Strange gave him the Time Stone.
Surprisingly, he has shown signs of empathy, benevolence, and respect towards even his opponents. This is first seen when Star-Lord attempts to kill Gamora due to the promise he made to her, but thanks to the Reality Stone, the ammo was transmuted into bubbles; it is then that Thanos says he likes Quill for his willingness to kill Gamora when the situation called for it. This respect is seen again when he commends Tony Stark, viewing him as very similar to himself, going so far as to say he hopes humanity remembered him. When Scarlet Witch destroyed Vision, he actually sympathizes for her lose, comforting her and telling her he has experienced the same kind of sadness when he killed Gamora.
Powers & Abilities
Thanos is frighteningly powerful, able to effortlessly intimidate, overpower, severely harm and even potentially kill beings as powerful as Loki, who is almost on par with Thor, and Ronan The Accuser, who was among the strongest Kree, Thor at full power, and Hulk. He rules the Chitauri and Outrider army unchallenged. Korath has fearfully said he is the most powerful being in the universe, although Ronan was confident that he could kill Thanos with the power of the Orb. Nevertheless, Thanos displayed no sign of concern after Ronan threatened him. Gamora also blatantly told Nebula she doesn't know if killing Thanos is possible. Thanos was also shown to be fully confident in being capable of collectively harnessing the full power of all six Infinity Stones with the use of an Infinity Gauntlet, a feat that no other being have ever survived. This was proven correct when he was able to handle the use of all six after finally completing the Infinity Gauntlet.
Superhuman Strength: Thanos holds incalculably extraordinary, godly levels of superhuman strength, to the point that he is capable of easily wielding all six Infinity Stones with the Infinity Gauntlet, a feat that no other being has survived, making him one of the strongest, if not the strongest being in existence. Thanos could effortlessly break the highly durable containers of the Infinity Stones, as he casually crushed the Tesseract and later the Eye of Agamotto in a single hand, which was protected by an extremely powerful spell. He was also capable of effortlessly breaking out of Groot's vines and it took the combined efforts of Doctor Strange, Drax, Iron Man, Spider Man, Star-Lord, and Mantis to keep him restrained, and even then, he still showed great resistance. Upon waking up, Thanos was quickly able to break out of the restraints and regain control of the Infinity Gauntlet. He also was still casually able to clench the Infinity Gauntlet when restrained by countless Eldritch Whips by Doctor Strange's replicas. Thanos is so strong that beings of lesser but still higher superhuman strength and resilience pose no threat or challenge to him, such as Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Gamora, as Thanos proves by effortlessly stopping Black Panther's full charge with a single handed choke hold and knock him out with a punch, overpowering Spider Man with one hand casually and being able to effortlessly break out of his web and use it to pull him to Thanos, effortlessly restraining Gamora with a single hand and later throwing her off a cliff in Vormir with little effort. He also could overpower Iron Man in his nanotech Mark L Armor with little effort, with his strength being more than sufficient to easily tear apart the armor with his bare hands, and he was able to effortlessly break Iron Man's sword in half and then stab him with it. Even when Captain America used all his strength, which was vastly augmented by his determination, he was only just barely able to hold back Thanos’ gauntlet hand and the Mad Titan proceeded to effortlessly knock the Super Soldier out with a single punch. Even beings of the highest levels of strength and resilience such as Hulk, Vision, and Thor do not pose much threat to Thanos, as Thanos effortlessly beat Hulk and Thor, with Thanos going as far as to threaten that he can easily crush Thor's head and kill him anytime he wants, and lifted Vision off the ground with one hand, who was powerless to break free, and quickly ripped the Mind Stone from Vision's extremely durable Vibranium forehead. The only time he was significantly injured was against the fully-empowered Thor wielding Stormbreaker, a weapon reputed to be the strongest of all of Asgard's weaponry, and this was while he was distracted, and even still, Thanos quickly regained control over the Infinity Gauntlet afterwards and was still strong enough to survive using it at the scale needed to wipe out half of the universe, although he did enter a catatonic state for a while due to performing such a feat while considerably injured. His strength also extends to his legs, as he was able to jump a tremendous distance to avoid Doctor Strange's rays with a single leap.
Superhuman Reflexes: Thanos, despite his size, possess stupendously quick reflexes, as he was able to easily dodge a few blows from Hulk, and then instantly struck him multiple times before Hulk had a chance to respond. Thanos also easily reacted to Loki's swift attempt to kill him, effortlessly choking Loki to death before the latter could react. While Thor managed to land a blow on Thanos while Thanos had just beaten Hulk, Thanos easily kicked the God of Thunder away before he could attack again. With just a single hand, Thanos was able to easily grab Gamora before she could strike him with Godslayer (which Thanos broke in the process), and to even react to the extremely agile Spider-Man's attacks, eventually getting a grip on him and pinning Spider-Man down. He was also able to effortlessly pummel Iron Man in hand-to-hand combat within seconds and break his sword and stab him before he could react.
Superhuman Durability: Thanos has incalculably extraordinary, godly levels of supernatural resilience and durability, rendering him capable of easily handling the Infinity Stones with the Infinity Gauntlet without any strain or harm done to himself, even surviving the power of all six without harm, something that none who have attempted have ever survived. Thanos' durability makes him almost impossible to be visibly injured with regular gunshots do absolutely no harm to him, as shown when he remained completely unfazed by shots from the Winter Soldier, with even firearms and melee weapons of among the highest caliber doing very little harm to him, with him only barely flinching after being shot by Star-Lord and slashed by Drax's knives and managing to parry Drax's knives and Doctor Strange's Eldritch Sword with his bare hands without suffering any damage. He is also able to effortlessly endure and shrug off attacks from beings of among the highest levels of superhuman strength as if it was nothing, as he was completely uninjured by punches from Spider-Man, which barely staggered him, remained completely uninjured by full-powered blows from Iron Man's Mark L armor, with even the sharp blades of the armor only inflicting a slight cut on Thanos' face, with him going as far as to mock Iron Man for only being able to draw a little drop of blood, and he was even barely fazed and completely uninjured by blows from Hulk or fully-empowered Thor. Indeed, Thanos' durability is great enough that it took an attack from fully-empowered Thor wielding Stormbreaker, a weapon so powerful that it was considered the most powerful in Asgard's history, to finally wound and harm him when the blade got lodged directly in his chest and even though Thor caused Thanos visible pain by twisting the axe deeper, Thanos retained enough strength to activate and use the Infinity Gauntlet at the scale needed to wipe out half of the universe, surviving such vast display of power despite the severe injury, although it did cause him to briefly entered a catatonic state but he quickly recovered, even going as far as to mock Thor for not aiming at his head.
Superhuman Stamina: Thanos has displayed vast levels of superhuman stamina, as he proves capable of exerting himself at full capacity for tremendous periods of time even while pressured, as shown when he endured fighting repeatedly in Titan and Wakanda against the likes of the Avengers, Guardians, Black Panther, and Okoye without once showing any signs of fatigue and even after being severely injured by Thor stabbing and then twisting Stormbreaker into his chest as deep as he could, Thanos retained enough stamina to activate the Infinity Gauntlet at the scale needed to wipe out half of the universe and although he was exhausted enough to enter a catatonic state briefly, Thanos quickly recovered and was still able to warp away and only moments later had fully recovered from any exhaustion he underwent.
Infinity Gauntlet: After equipping the Infinity Gauntlet into his left arm, combined with his already extraordinary physical constitution and raw power, Thanos is granted the potential to safely harness the supernatural powers and dominion over the all aspects of existence possessed by all the six Infinity Stones should he add them to the Gauntlet, with the more stones Thanos inserts into the Gauntlet, the more power he gains. Upon acquiring all six stones, Thanos becomes almost infinitely powerful, to the point that even with a severe injury, he killed off half of life within the universe with just a snap of his fingers, making him the most powerful entity in the universe. It is notable that Thanos seems to completely master all the powers of the stones just after only shortly acquiring them, apparently showing he had full understanding and knowledge of the powers of the Infinity Stones, making him nearly invincible as he can easily and seamlessly switch between the powers of the stones and can even combine them.
Regenerative Healing Factor: Upon finally completing the Infinity Gauntlet, its power can quickly heal and regenerate any of Thanos' wounds, regardless of severity or blood loss, allowing Thanos to instantly heal and recover from all injury he sustained from fighting the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, with even the severe wound Thor dealt with the devastatingly powerful Stormbreaker completely vanishing without a trace of it ever being there.
Energy Absorption and Warping: Combining the Power and Space Stones, Thanos is able to absorb energies he was exposed to and transform them into something else, as he could absorb the explosive energy of Iron Man's missiles, and redirect it at the Avenger as a single concentrated beam of fiery energy.
Terrain Manipulation: Combining the Reality and Space Stones, Thanos can manipulate the terrain at a great enough scale to be able to pull the surface of Titan in order to force Doctor Strange closer to him.
Space Manipulation: After inserting the Space Stone into the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos acquires the stone's complete control over space. His mastery and understanding of it's powers allows him to achieve a wide plethora of liberal but potent capabilities and is not limited to simply opening portals, although it remains the most useful ability that he acquired as he can now effortlessly travel to anywhere he desires without needing to use any other transportation, even able to achieve interdimensional travel without aid now, as he easily warped to Knowhere, Titan and later Wakanda by casually opening a portal and he can also take others with him, as he warped not only himself but also the entire Black Order after having the Power Stone slowly blow away the Statesman and can also forcibly warp others along with him with ease, as he effortlessly took both him and Gamora despite her resistance to his ship and later Vormir, as well as being able to use the portals to influence other locations without directly being there, doing so to send the Power Stone's energies to the moon and then send the pieces through the portal, with his precise control over the portals even allowing him to remove an object attached to him if he so desires, as he removed Stormbreaker from his chest upon warping away from Wakanda. He could create compression forces strong enough to create singularities that sucks up anything within close proximity, as shown when he summoned a devastating vortex that gathered up all in it's path and sent it at Doctor Strange, which Strange could not block and was forced to transmute it into a multitude of blue butterflies to repel it, funnel the kinetic force of oncoming projectile attacks to make them harmless and then gather them and redirect them, as he harmlessly funnel the kinetic energy of Iron Man's projectiles before sending it back at the hero, create force fields that can easily disintegrate bullets, as he easily destroyed multiple shots from War Machine, and even has the sufficient skill to alter the space between molecules, allowing him to make others intangible and just as easily make them solid again, as he easily phased Hulkbuster through him and stone before making him solid again to trap him. Thanos was also able to skillfully use the Stone as a powerful form of telekinesis, warping the fabric of space around objects in order to manipulate and move them with a single gesture. He was able to instantly freeze Loki mid-stab with ease, effortlessly crush the guns on War Machine's armor, knock down Falcon, and produce force fields powerful enough to repel the energy of Scarlet Witch as a means of defense. His Space Stone induced telekinesis was so strong that he was able to telekinetically pull the shattered fragments of Titan's moon across space to rain down on the attacking Avengers during the Battle of Titan.
Reality-Bending: Upon acquiring the Reality Stone and inserting it into the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos acquires complete control over reality, allowing him to warp the very fabric of reality itself to be whatever he desires, as he himself boasted to Gamora. He has shown to have full understanding and mastery over the Reality Stone's powers, surpassing even Malekith, capable of using it to warp reality to such a degree as to create highly elaborate physical simulations and illusions of false realities over a wide range of influence, as evidenced when Thanos was able to create a false illusion of himself interrogating the Collector in a completely deserted Knowhere, in order to fool the approaching Guardians of the Galaxy and mask the colony's true status as burning down and utterly ruined, which was so convincing that the illusionary self of Thanos can be physically interacted with, with Gamora being able to fight and even kill the false Thanos. He later conjured another illusion to Doctor Strange, showing the planet Titan in its peaceful prime, in a time before it became an uninhabited wasteland. He can make himself invisible using the Reality Stone, as he first spoke to Gamora unseen before revealing himself shortly after undoing the illusion. Thanos can also use the Reality Stone to warp and transmute matter and object into anything he desires, even able to do this to living organisms, as he effortlessly incapacitated Guardians Drax and Mantis by temporarily warping their physical bodies, splitting Drax's body into pieces and turning Mantis into still-conscious strips of flesh. While he did this by sending a beam from the Reality Stone, he can also silently do this and without needing to fire a beam, as when Star-Lord reluctantly attempted to execute his teammate and lover, Gamora, to prevent her capture by Thanos, the Titan silently transmuted his Quad Blasters to harmlessly fire bubbles, before transforming the weapon itself into bubbles, and would later do the same to Gamora's dagger on Vormir to prevent her committing suicide. Thanos can use this very effectively in combat, as evidenced when he fought in Titan and Wakanda, transmuting a field of ship wreckage into a swarm of bats to attack Iron Man. He can also manipulate the earth with the stone, spawning a cage of stone pillars to trap Black Widow and pulling the surface of Titan itself to pull Doctor Strange into his hand. Upon completing the Infinity Gauntlet, thus reaching the highest level of power the Reality Stone can exert, he became able to warp reality to such an extent that he was even able to cause the bodies of others to turn to dust at a global scale, even while severely injured, causing the victims of his genocide to disintegrate to ashes, with just a snap of his fingers.
Energy Manipulation: After inserting the Power Stone into his Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos acquires complete control over the destructive force of the universe, giving him vast energy-manipulating powers. Due to his strong understanding of the Power Stone's capabilities, Thanos was able to use it for more diverse and versatile capabilities, with the Stone becoming one of his most versatile and often-used in combat for its destructive potential. Thanos' control over the energy of the Power Stone can allow him to infuse it into the Gauntlet, with it being strong enough to shatter a gateway to the Mirror Dimension sent to him by Doctor Strange. With a single gesture from the Gauntlet, Thanos is able to manipulate and specifically unleash the Stone's power to charge objects with unstable energy, causing them to overload and violently detonate. Thanos makes common use of this ability due to its versatility and combat potential, as he is able to control the time and size of the detonation, whether instantly or slowly as Thanos used the Stone to slowly overload and detonate the damaged Statesman after retrieving the Space Stone, giving himself time to teleport him and his Children out and later used the Stone's energy and versatile destructive powers to devastating effect, violently and instantly detonating a ruined spaceship fragment that was dropped on him by Iron Man. He can even exert such powerful energy that it was even powerful enough to rip apart the surface of Titan's moon with its sheer power. Thanos can also unleash tremendously powerful blasts or waves of the Stone's explosive energy, applying powerful concussive force or outright destroying objects with its volatile power. A wild shockwave of energy was able to knock out Star-Lord, Drax and Nebula instantaneously, all three individuals having great superhuman resilience, while a few concussive waves were enough to effortlessly repel attacks and blast away the majority of the opposing Avengers during the Battle of Wakanda. The Stone's energy could also be concentrated into direct beams of power with enough power to be capable of cleaving through structures with ease, forcing back a shielded Iron Man, and heavily damaging the Avenger's armor with a single point-blank blast. Thanos could also use the stone for more subtle applications, such as exerting the energy upon others to torture them. During the Attack on the Statesman, Thanos utilized the Stone to torture an injured Thor, pushing the Stone into his head and causing the Asgardian excruciating pain using its energy. Used together with the Space Stone, Thanos also brutally tortured Nebula with its power, by telekinetically pulling her mechanical components apart while exposing her to the energy of the Power Stone. With the Power Stone, Thanos can also negate and redirect oncoming energy attacks, as he easily prevented Black Panther from using his kinetic energy pulse and redirected it to the earth when he struck the latter to the ground.
Time Manipulation: After inserting the Time Stone into his Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos acquires complete control over time. Quickly completely mastering the Time Stone's powers, while using it similarly to Doctor Strange's method, although he does not need Eldritch Magic and simply needs to clench the Gauntlet to activate the Time Manipulation Magic, causing the same symbol of the Eye of Agamotto to appear in the palm of his Gauntlet's hand and similarly conjuring said symbol as he uses it, his skill is shown to be far more refined than Doctor Strange's, as Thanos has the skill needed to rewind time with the level of finesse needed to truly recreate an object, even one as powerful as an Infinity Stone, while simultaneously resurrecting a being and keeping some from being affected by it, as he was able to recreate the events where Vision died, so as to resurrect Vision and recreate the Mind Stone, even after Wanda Maximoff had destroyed both of them, while also keeping the Avengers from being affected to prevent them from trying to stop him, whereas Doctor Strange could not truly recreate the stolen pages of the Book of Cagliostro with the Time Stone, although this may have been aided by the fact that the Time Stone was amplified by the Gauntlet already having 4 other Stones. At the height of the Time Stone's powers, with the Infinity Gauntlet having been completed, Thanos gains the ability to accelerate the time of living creatures at a global scale, even able to do this while badly wounded, with the victims of his genocide quickly aging and becoming decomposable brown corpses.
Soul Manipulation: After inserting the Soul Stone into the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos acquires complete control over souls as well as life and death, giving him divine authority over souls and the right to decide who lives and who dies. With the Soul Stone, Thanos can detect and attack the souls of others, allowing him to identify the real one among mystical replicas of others and attack them, as evidenced when he was able to tell which one is the real Doctor Strange and disperse his duplicates with a single burst of energy, also pushing the sorcerer's astral form out of his body for a while. Upon completing the Infinity Gauntlet and greatly enhancing the Soul Stone's powers as a result, Thanos gained the ability to induce death by wiping the very souls of his targets at a global scale, to the point that even with a severe injury, still was able to use the Soul Stone in conjunction with the other Stones to successfully wipe out half of the universe, erasing the victim's souls from existence. This catastrophic event even claimed the lives of most of the Avengers and all of the Guardians of the Galaxy, with the exception of Rocket Raccoon and Nebula. The Soul Stone also can conjure dreams for Thanos to recover from exhaustion and speak with someone he cherishes, as after wiping out half of all life in the Universe, the sheer energy required to achieve such a feat nearly overwhelmed Thanos, and briefly sent him into a dream state caused by the Soul Stone itself, transporting his mind to a world consisting of a barren, infinite expanse of feet-high water under an orange sky. Within the dream world, Thanos saw himself as without the Gauntlet or his injuries sustained from Stormbreaker. Before returning to his senses, he was briefly able to communicate with a reflection of his deceased daughter, Gamora, standing under a Zen-Whoberi gateway - in the form of the young child she was when Thanos first met and adopted her - telling her of his final fulfillment of his lifelong goal and admitting to her the great cost and sacrifices made to achieve it.
Death Inducement: After completing the Gauntlet, Thanos becomes able to use the powers of the Reality, Time and Soul Stones at such a vast scale as to wipe out half of the universe with just the snap of his fingers, successfully achieving this even after being severely wounded by Thor using Stormbreaker. The victims of the genocide quickly aged before turning into a brown decomposing corpse, disintegrate and finally had their souls erased from existence.
Genius-Level Intellect: Even in his youth, Thanos was deemed a genius among his kind, despite his deformation. His long life allowed Thanos to refine his intellectual aptitude to the highest degree, making him exceptionally intelligent. Hence, due to Thanos' intellectual genius, he is among the most intelligent (if not the most intelligent) individuals in the universe. His intellect makes him incredibly lethal even without using his powers or fighting skills, as displayed by his ability to conquer many worlds. By simply using his manipulative and strategic skills, he indirectly causes the Battle of Xandar and Chitauri Invasion, both of which caused the formations of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers to fight their respective battles. All the while, Thanos remained effectively anonymous, so much so that even the extremely intelligent Iron Man was completely fooled into believing that Loki had no aid during his invasion, and with Doctor Strange initially not having Thanos on his list of otherworldly threats. It was only after Thor received a vision on the Infinity Stones that he was able to figure out Thanos' involvement, with Thor admitting that Thanos had been using his intellect to play a very intricate game and has effectively used the Avengers as pawns without them even realizing it until Thor saw the vision. Thanos was even clever enough to be considerably superior to Loki himself, as he easily outsmarted him on more than one occasion - he not only successfully used Loki as a pawn without the latter realizing it for a long time, but he was later also able to successfully finish off the God of Mischief by easily predicting that he would attempt an assassination and countering it casually. Thanos also easily deceived the Guardians of the Galaxy into letting their guard down, thus allowing Thanos to incapacitate them and capture Gamora. Thanos is also highly perceptive, as he is not fooled at all by Loki and easily saw through Gamora's lies that she never found the Soul Stone.
Manipulation: Thanos is an exceptionally skillful and experienced master of manipulation, quite possibly the best manipulator in the universe, as without leaving his throne, with superb manipulations of powerful beings alone, Thanos was able to cause the Battle of Xandar and Chitauri Invasion, which were among the most devastating battles ever known. He even managed to manipulate someone as intelligent as Loki, who was famous for his manipulation skills, with ease by using his distaste for Thor and Odin. Thor has said that Thanos has been playing a very intricate game for years with such efficiency that he has effectively manipulated the Avengers as pawns for his plans.
Master Tactician and Strategist: Thanos is an exceptionally accomplished strategist and tactician, with centuries of experience in using strategies, quite possibly the best master of tactical warfare currently in the universe. Thanos' mastery and experience in using strategy and tactics allows him to create extremely complex and well-coordinated plans and execute them effectively, with the strategies he created and employed being so effective that he gave the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy great trouble all the while remaining anonymous. Thanos is even a far more skilled tactician than Loki, who was famous for being a crafty genius in orchestrating cunning schemes, as he easily deceived the God of Mischief into becoming his minion and later easily predicted and outsmarted Loki's attempt to assassinate him and successfully finished him off. Thanos' strategical aptitude also allows him to accurately predict incoming events and effectively manipulate said events to his advantage, as he was able to anticipate the Guardians going to Knowhere to retrieve the Reality Stone and arrived there before they could prevent him from taking it. Thanos even went as far as to set up a brilliant trap for the Guardians by casting an illusion to fool them into believing that he is still torturing the Collector for the Reality Stone while in actuality he had acquired the Reality Stone long before they arrived, all the while easily manipulating Gamora using illusions specifically seen in her mind to lure her into emotionally charging at Thanos, which worked to a great effect, catching Gamora and the Guardians completely off-guard and allowing Thanos to successfully capture Gamora and escape from the Guardians uninjured.
Master Leader: Thanos is an extremely skilled leader, with a large amount of charisma despite his intimidating persona, inspiring absolute loyalty to the violent and powerful armies of Chitauri and Outriders and members of the Black Order. He is known for having easily decimated dozens of species with his powerful army, killing the Zenohebrei and Luphomoid species.
Polymath: Thanos is also shown to be quite learned and accomplished in many subjects, such as math and science, with him thus being able to accurately predict that his people and planet was about to be devastated due to overpopulation, which he claims to be a simple calculus to him.
Master Martial Artist: Thanos is an exceptionally skilled hand-to-hand fighter, with millennia worth of fighting experience. Thanos' fighting skills far surpassed even other master combatants, making him the deadliest fighter in the universe. His style is shown to be fluid, as he first defends against his enemy before unleashing a devastating barrage of attacks. He was able to easily fight off and quickly force back both Doctor Strange using a sword made of Eldritch Magic, and Drax with his knives while his right eye was blinded by a web cotton, easily fight off and swiftly pummel Spider-Man with only one hand while his other hand was restricted by the Cloak of Levitation) and easily defeat and grievously wound Iron Man (despite Iron Man's nanotech Mark L armor and sword, which he easily disarmed and used to land the severe wound), with only Doctor Strange's intervention saving Iron Man from death. Additionally, Thanos easily countered Black Panther's charge by choking him with a single hand and then pummeled him to the ground with a single punch, as well as effortlessly defeated and knocked out Captain America with a single blow. Most impressively, Thanos was even able to defeat and beat Hulk (the former undefeatable champion of the Grandmaster's Contest of Champions) to a bloody pulp with ease with well-coordinated attacks, something Iron Man could only do after a long battle and a moment of distraction, as well as defeat a fully-empowered Thor without much effort. It was only with a sneak attack that Thor armed with Stormbreaker was able to land a severe wound on Thanos, but even then the Mad Titan was able to quickly recover.
Master Torturer: Thanos is shown to be highly accomplished in many fields of torture, with his skills in torture being quite famous, as the Other implied Thanos can cause so much suffering to Loki that he would beg for pain itself. His mastery of torturing techniques allows him to inflict the maximum amount of damage without killing the subject, as when he tortured Nebula to make Gamora give up the location of the Soul Stone, Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet to painfully pull apart Nebula's cybernetics implants, but he was casually able to avoid truly ripping the necessary implants apart in order to cause her severe pain without killing her. The torture was effective enough that Gamora fairly quickly gave in and told Thanos the location of the Soul Stone to spare Nebula from further torture.
Zehoberei (slaughtered by the Black Order and Chituari)
Gamora's family (slaughtered by the Black Order and Chituari)
Luphomoids (slaughtered by the Black Order and Chituari)
Nebula's family (slaughtered by the Black Order and Chituari)
Dwarves (slaughtered by Thanos)
Xandarians (slaughtered by Thanos and the Black Order)
Nova Corps (slaughtered by Thanos and the Black Order)
Irani Rael (presumably killed by Thanos)
Rhomann Dey (presumably killed by Thanos)
Asgardians (slaughtered by Thanos and the Black Order)
Loki (killed by Thanos)
Hemidall (killed by Thanos)
Collector (presumably killed by Thanos)
Vision (killed by Thanos)
Scarlet Witch (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Winter Soldier (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Spider-Man (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Falcon (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Doctor Strange (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Nick Fury (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Maria Hill (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Star-Lord (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Gamora (thrown over a cliff by Thanos)
Drax (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Groot (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Mantis (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Black Panther (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Border Tribe (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Half of the universe's population (including those killed off-screen)
Hank Pym (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Janet van Dyne (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Hope van Dyne (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Betty Ross (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Lady Sif (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Loki actor (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
Galaga Guy (disintegrated to dust by Thanos' death wave)
The only matter I do not take seriously, boy, is you. Your politics bore me, your demeanor is that of a pouty child. And apparently, you have alienated my favorite daughter, Gamora. I shall honor our agreement, Kree, if you bring me the Orb. But return to me again empty-handed, and I will bathe the stairways in your blood.
~ Thanos to Ronan the Accuser.
Boy.. I would reconsider your current course!
~ Thanos to Ronan as the latter betrays him and takes the Power Stone.
Fine. I'll do it myself.
~ Thanos takes action himself as he vows to personally retrieve the Infinity Stones and exterminate both The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Fun isn't something one considers when balancing the universe. But this… does put a smile on my face.
~ Thanos - heard in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer.
The end is near. When I’m done, only half of humanity will still exist. Perfectly balanced; as all things should be.
~ Thanos in the second trailer for “Avengers: Infinity War”.
In time, you will know what it's like to lose. To feel so desperately that you're right, yet to fail all the same. Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives.
~ Thanos to the Avengers.
You're strong... But I could snap my fingers... and you'd all cease to exist.
~ Thanos to Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer and Mantis.
The Tesseract… or your brother’s head. I assume you have a preference?
~ Thanos to Loki, threatening to kill Thor unless Loki hands over the Tesseract.
Your optimism is misplaced, Asgardian.
~ Thanos to Loki.
Undying? You should choose your words more carefully.
~ Thanos to Loki before killing him.
No resurrections this time.
~ Thanos after killing Loki.
You’re a great fighter, Gamora. Come. Let me help you.
~ Thanos adopting Gamora.
Look. Pretty, isn't it? Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. Too much to one side or the other... Here. You try.
~ Thanos distracting a young Gamora with a switchblade knife.
Is that sadness I sense in you, daughter? In my heart, I knew you still cared. But one never knows for sure.
~ Thanos after Gamora killed a fake copy of him.
Reality is often disappointing. That is, it was. Now... reality can be whatever I want.
~ Thanos obtaining the Reality Stone.
Going to bed hungry. Scrounging for scraps. Your planet was on the brink of collapse. I was the one who stopped that. You know what’s happened since then? The children born have known nothing but full bellies and clear skies. It’s a paradise.
~ Thanos justifying his acts of cruelty to Gamora.
Little one, it's a simple calculus. This universe is finite, its resources finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correction.
~ Thanos to Gamora.
I’m the only one who knows that. At least I’m the only who has the will to act on it. For a time, you had that same will. As you fought by my side, daughter.
~ Thanos to Gamora.
Thanos:For a time... you had that same will... as you fought by my side. Daughter. Gamora: I'm not your daughter. Everything I hate about myself you taught me. Thanos: And, in doing so, made you the fiercest woman in the galaxy. That's why I trusted you to find the Soul Stone. Gamora: I'm sorry I disappointed you. Thanos: I am disappointed. But not because you didn't find it. But because you did. And you lied.
~ Thanos reveals that he is aware Gamora knows the location of the Soul Stone.
You're strong, me. You're generous, me. But I never taught you to lie. That's why you're so bad at it.
~ Thanos to Gamora.
I ignored my destiny once, I can not do that again. Even for you. I’m sorry, Little One.
~ Thanos before killing Gamora to get the Soul Stone.
I take it the Maw is dead. This day extracts a heavy toll. Still, he accomplished his mission.
~ Thanos on Ebony Maw's death.
Doctor Strange: Let me guess, your home? Thanos: It was. And it was beautiful. Titan was like most planets; too many mouths, not enough to go around. And when we faced extinction, I offered a solution. Doctor Strange: Genocide. Thanos: But random. Dispassionate, fair to rich and poor alike. They called me a madman. And what I predicted came to pass.
~ Thanos explaining the fate of Titan to Doctor Strange.
I'd finally rest... and watch the sun rise on a grateful universe. The hardest choices require the strongest wills.
~ Thanos to Doctor Strange.
Thanos: Well, well. Nebula: You should have killed me. Thanos: It would have been a waste of parts!
~ Thanos confronting Nebula.
Thanos: Stark. Tony Stark: You know me? Thanos: I do. You're not the only cursed with knowledge. Tony Stark: My only curse is you.
~ Thanos confronts Iron Man for the first time.
All that for a drop of blood.
~ Thanos to Iron Man after the latter manages to cut his cheek.
You have my respect, Stark. When I'm done, half of humanity will still be alive. I hope they remember you.
~ Thanos to Iron Man.
I understand, my child. Better than anyone. [...] Today, I lost more than you can know. But now is no time to mourn. Now is no time at all.
~ Thanos to Scarlet Witch.
You should… you… you should have gone for the head!!
~ Thanos taunting Thor after the latter severely wounded him in the chest with Stormbreaker, moments before he unleashes his full power of the Infinity Gauntlet.
Thanos: Daughter.. Gamora: Did you do it? Thanos: Yes. Gamora: And what did it cost? Thanos: ....Everything.
~ Thanos to a young Gamora in the Soul World.
According to producer Kevin Feige, Infinity War will explore Thanos' plans and motives, even saying "you could go as far as to say he's the main character".
In the comics, Thanos was the master of the Infinity Gauntlet, which he used in the eponymous series in an attempt to court Death. He has no relationships with Loki nor the Chitauri, but he is nevertheless one of the Avengers' most historical foes. When he took a break from being a conqueror, Thanos was entrusted with the Reality Gem of the Infinity Gems.
In the Amalgam Comics imprint, Loki's counterpart, L'ok D'saad served Thanos' counterpart, Thanoseid.
The name "Thanos" is based on the name of the mythological Greek figure Thanatos, meaning "death", a reference to his obsession with Death.
Thanos is clearly the Big Bad of the Avengers film series, as he is the one responsible for providing Loki with the Mind Stone and an army to invade Earth in the first film, and that the Mind Stone is what gave Ultron free will to rebel against the Avengers in the second film.
Thanos is the only villain who has interacted with every major hero in the franchise; as he was responsible for the events depicted in The Avengers (which featured all the major heroes of Phase One) and is the mastermind behind Guardians of the Galaxy before going on to proceed in meeting them all in Infinity War.
In Thor, which was released a year before The Avengers, the Infinity Gauntlet makes a cameo in Odin's vault. This one was for the right-hand, but the one seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron was for the left-hand. Producer Kevin Feige confirmed after the movie's release that there were two, and the one Thanos has is not the one from Thor.
However, in Thor: Ragnarok, it is revealed that the Infinity Gauntlet in Odin's vault is a fake, meaning that there truly is only one Infinity Gauntlet.
It is revealed in Avengers: Infinity War that Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet was forged at Nidavellir, meaning that it is not the original, if there was an original.
The involvement of Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy was largely-influenced by The Avengers director Joss Whedon; the early script by Nicole Perlman had Thanos appear as the Guardians' primary foe, but Whedon was convinced that he should be downsized. In addition, Whedon says that it was his idea to include him in The Avengers, but found him the most-difficult character to write, ironically. He also helped Guardians of the Galaxy writer and director James Gunn cast Josh Brolin as the character.
Josh Brolin based his portrayal of Thanos on the performance of Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now.
Thanos is one of the five villains of the MCU to actually succeed in his plans, as he finally collected all of the Infinity Stones and wiped out half of the universe's populace. The other ones are Loki (who took control of Asgard in Thor: The Dark World), Helmut Zemo (who has managed to split the Avengers apart in revenge for his family's demise in Captain America: Civil War), Surtur (who has managed to destroy Asgard), and Ghost (who has managed to obtain quantum energy to cure herself from a fatal disease in Ant-Man and the Wasp). However, unlike Loki and Zemo, Thanos is the only one ever to get away with his actions as he is last seen watching a sunrise from another planet, though it is likely that in the sequel he will be defeated.
Thanos appeared in a drawing by Thor in the non-canon web series Team Thor, which serves as a cross-promotion for Thor: Ragnarok, on a wall of pictures and information in an attempt to deduce who "the man in the purple chair" is, noting that he's "big", he's purple, and "he doesn't like standing up".
At 29 minutes, Thanos has the most amount of screen time of any character in Avengers: Infinity War, beating Gamora (19 minutes), Iron Man (18 minutes), and Thor (14 minutes).