Note: This article is about the incarnation of Thanos from the Marvel Cinematic film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Thanos (Marvel).
|“||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.|
|“||There is no good or evil. There is only the will of Thanos!||„|
|~ Thanos to Drax|
|“||Fine. I'll do it myself.||„|
|~ Thanos vows to hunt down the Infinity Stones himself as he steals an Infinity Gauntlet.|
Thanos is the main antagonist of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe film series. He served as a minor but pivotal antagonist in The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He is set to appear as the main antagonist of Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel.
He is a powerful alien warlord who rules over a dead dimension and commands a massive army known as the Chitauri. He allied himself with Loki to invade Earth, and allied with Ronan the Accuser to destroy Xandar, both in exchange for the deliverance of two powerful Infinity gems, but they both failed to accomplish this task and had betrayed him.
He was portrayed by Damion Poitier in The Avengers, and by Josh Brolin in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Brolin will reprise Thanos' role in Infinity War as well as its sequel.
Thanos's past is unknown at this point and how he came to power. Not even his species has been fully discovered, sans the assumption that he is an Eternal. It is known that at some point, he gained control over the deadly army of the Chitauri, and took the assassin Gamora as his daughter after killing her people. Also taken in was Nebula, a cyborg; she and Gamora had a sibling rivalry, but became attached, with Nebula saying "of all our siblings, I hated you the least", suggesting that there were many other siblings. Thanos once calls Gamora "my favorite daughter" without considering Nebula being present at the moment.
Thanos greatly desired the Infinity Stones, objects of immense power that held considerable dominance over the various forces that occupied the universe, and forged several alliances in order to locate them. According to Infinity War co-writer Stephen McFeely, he desires them so as to "re-balance the universe", but what this exactly means is unknown. He somehow obtained the Mind Stone, which could mind-control people, and put it into a spear of his own making; the other Stones, however, eluded him.
In The Avengers, Thanos appears in a post-credits scene, where the Other tells Thanos that the Tesseract, the Space Stone, is in a small world, a human world. It also informs him that Loki is ready to lead the Chitauri, and so he was given the scepter with the Mind Stone to go get the Tesseract. In a post-credits scene, Thanos is revealed to have been Loki's benefactor, having provided the Chitauri Army used by Loki in his attempted invasion of Earth. When advised by the Other that opposing the Avengers would be "to court death", as the human race was not as weak as Loki claimed, Thanos glances at the camera and flashes an evil grin.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Thanos plays a more active role in the film, where he has enlisted the help of Ronan, Korath, and his daughters, Gamora and Nebula, to retrieve the Orb (Power Stone) for him. As it turns out, Gamora is not actually Thanos's daughter, since Thanos killed Gamora's family and snatched her as an infant to train her into the perfect assassin, having abused and tormented her in the process of doing so. This causes Gamora to betray Thanos, which leads to a chain of events that leads to Gamora finding her true calling as a protector of the universe and a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. When Ronan and Nebula are called to discuss Gamora's betrayal, Ronan kills The Other, who was speaking for Thanos. Thanos does not react to this, but is angry at Ronan for not obtaining the Orb (and for apparently alienating Gamora). He says he will destroy Xandar for Ronan if he brings him the Orb, and will "bathe the star-ways with [his] blood" if he does not.
Thanos promised Ronan that he will help Ronan destroy Xandar in exchange for Ronan's services. However, once Ronan gets a hold of the Orb, he feels he no longer needs Thanos help and also decides to betray him. Nebula also decides to betray Thanos out of jealousy over Thanos showing preference for Gamora over her. Ronan and Nebula take Korath with them. In the end, Ronan and Korath are killed by the Guardians of the Galaxy (including Gamora), Nebula escapes and becomes a renegade villain independent of Thanos, and the Guardians give the Orb to the Nova Corps for safekeeping. Drax the Destroyer, who got revenge on Ronan for killing his family, decides to turn his attention to Thanos, as the latter was the one who sent Ronan to kill Drax's family.
However, Thanos is still determined to find the six Infinity Stones and the Infinity Gauntlet so he can use them to conquer the universe.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Following Ultron's defeat at the hands of the Avengers, Thanos appears in the film's mid-credits scene. Fed up with his henchmen failing him and betraying him, he goes into a white room somewhere and takes the Infinity Gauntlet from a hiding place, swearing to collect all of the six Infinity Stones himself.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Thanos doesn't appear in the film, but is mentioned once by Nebula, who angrily blames Gamora for the lifetime of pain and misery that she suffered at the hands of Thanos. However, after having a change of heart and helping the Guardians defeat Ego, Nebula reconciles with Gamora, but leaves her as she intends to kill Thanos and prevent anyone else from falling under his control.
Thanos is rather power-hungry and authoritative, 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 murders their families. He is also very resentful, calculating, and argumentative, 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 has an unforgiving and loathsome nature; The Other warned Loki that he would know a new kind of pain if he did not give them the Tesseract, Thanos threatened to bathe the starways in Ronan's blood if he failed to deliver the Orb and forbade Gamora from rescuing Nebula when the latter fell into a trap whilst on a mission in the Cloud Tombs of Praxius. He has little to no regard for his followers, showing absolutely no empathy when Ronan killed The Other and referring to Gamora as his "favorite daughter", even with Nebula present. He inspires no love, as he is despised by his own "daughters", Gamora and Nebula. He is also completely manipulative, distrustful, and hesitant, 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 decided to hunt for the Infinity Stones himself.
Powers and Abilities
Thanos has not demonstrated his powers at this point. However, it is conceivable that he is extremely powerful and strong, able to strike fear into an Asgardian like Loki and command the Chitauri army unchallenged. Korath says he is the most powerful being in the universe, although Ronan was confident he could kill Thanos with the power of the Orb. Nevertheless, Thanos displayed no sign of concern after Ronan threatened him.
Minions of Thanos
|The Other||Second in Command||Deceased|
|Ronan The Accuser||Agent||Defected/Deceased|
|Korath the Pursuer||Agent||Defected/Deceased|
- According to producer Kevin Fiege, Infinity War will explore Thanos' plans and motives, even saying "you could go as far as to say he's the main character".
- Thanos is similar to Supreme Leader Snoke from the Star Wars sequel trilogy; they both serve as alien warlords who employ various villains to enforce his will. In Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, Snoke appears as a hologram sitting down on a chair, similar to how Thanos appeared in a hovering throne in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- 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 the only villain who has interacted, albeit indirectly, 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.
- 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.
- 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 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".