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Note: This article is about the incarnation of Thanos from the Marvel Cinematic film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Thanos (Marvel).

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
Fun isn't something one considers when balancing the universe. But this... does put a smile on my face.
~ Thanos's most famous lines, heard in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer.

Thanos is the primary antagonist of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is the Bigger Bad of The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. He will return 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. Brolin will reprise Thanos' role in Infinity War and its sequel, Josh Brolin also portrayed Dr. William Block in Planet Terror.

History

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.

The Avengers

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

ThanosMCU

Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thanos plays a more active role in the film, where he has enlisted the help of RonanKorath, 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 furious at Ronan for not obtaining the Orb (and for apparently alienating Gamora). After mocking him and calling him "Boy",Thanos says he will destroy Xandar for Ronan if he brings him the Orb, but if he fails again,Thanos will "bathe the star-ways with [his] blood" if he does not. Nebula then easily persuaded the frightened Ronan to leave,as they knew too well he is no match for Thanos.

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,while Thanos,unfazed,by their threats of killing him,cut off contact with them in anger of their betrayal. 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

Thanos Infinity Gauntlet

Thanos gaining an Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Thanos is indirectly mentioned numerous times in this film; the first time was when Tony said of a possibility that a powerful villain would destroy the Avengers, which made Thor finally realize that someone has been manipulating the events (including Loki) to find the Infinity Stones. Following the deaths of Ultron and his army at the hands of the Avengers, Thanos finally appears in the film's mid-credits scene. Fed up with losing his resources and his henchmen failing him and betraying him in his failed attempts to acquire the Stones and tired of the lack of progress in his crusade, he goes into a white room in an unknown location and takes the Infinity Gauntlet from its hiding place, swearing to collect all of the six Infinity Stones by himself.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Thanos doesn't appear in the film, but is mentioned twice, once by Nebula (who angrily blames Gamora for the lifetime of pain and misery that she suffered at the hands of Thanos), and another by one of the Ravagers (led by Taserface) as he is aware that Nebula is Thanos' adoptive daughter. Eventually, after having a change of heart and helping the Guardians defeat Ego and the Sovereign, Nebula reconciles with Gamora, but leaves her as she intends to kill Thanos and prevent anyone else from falling under his control.

Thor: Ragnarok

Thanos doesn't appear nor is mentioned in the film. However, his giant ship is seen during a mid-credits scene as it was intercepting one of the Grandmaster's giant ships containing the Asgardians survivors following the deaths of Hela and her army of Berserkers by the the hands of the fiery demon Surtur. It can be implied that Thanos and his forces are going after the Space Stone that Loki saved from Ragnarok following Surtur's death.

Character

You think you know pain? He will make you long for something as sweet as pain.
~ The Other describing Thanos.

Personality

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 murders their families. He is also exceptionally intimidating, 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 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, something which visibly scared the God of Mischief and made him more determined than ever out of fear of Thanos's power. Even though Thor had not yet known about Thanos, he could still sense Thanos's 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 starways 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. 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 manipulative 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 shows that he is 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.

Powers and Abilities

Thanos has not demonstrated his powers at this point, it is conceivable that he is frighteningly powerful and strong, able to strike fear into beings as powerful as Loki, who is almost on par with Thor, and Ronan The Accuser, who was among the strongest Kree, and command the Chitauri 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 that he is capable of collectively harnessing the full power of all the six Infinity Stones with the use of an Infinity Gauntlet, a feat that no other being have ever survived. He was shown to be powerful enough to wield two Infinity Stones with the Gauntlet.

  • Superhuman Strength - Little of Thanos's powers are known, but in the trailers of Infinity War, he has shown sufficiently immense levels of strength to touch the Space Stone, one of the Infinity Stones, without showing any strain and insert it into his gauntlet. He was also shown to be able to use both the Space Stone and Power Stone at once with the Infinity Gauntlet, also without any difficulty. These feats were extremely remarkable considering that Ronan evidently struggled to keep the Power Stone in control while Thanos was not fazed at all by using 2 of the Infinity Stones's power. Thanos was also shown capable of effortlessly pummeling Iron Man and Spider Man and overpowering Thor at his full potential without much effort.
  • Energy Blasts - Thanos is capable of shooting out purple energy blasts, as shown when he unleashed a barrage of purple energy attacks when attacking Star Lord in the d23 trailer of Infinity War.
  • Portal Opening - With the Space Stone inserted into his Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos was able to open portals to anywhere in the Universe, as shown in the trailer of Infinity War, where he warps into an unknown location using a portal where he battles Spider Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange and Iron Man.

Abilities

  • Master Manipulator - Without leaving his throne, Thanos was able to cause the Battle of Xandar and Chitauri Invasion, which were among the most devastating battles ever known. 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.

Minions of Thanos

Agents Position Status
The Other Second in Command Deceased
Loki Laufeyson Agent Alive
Ronan The Accuser Agent Defected/Deceased
Nebula Assassin Defected
Korath the Pursuer Agent Defected/Deceased
Gamora Assassin Defected
Chitauri Alien Army Alive
Black Order Agents Alive

Quotes

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.
Fine. I'll do it myself.
~ Thanos takes action himself.
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.

Gallery

Images

Videos

Trivia

  • 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 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".

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           Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains

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Iron Monger | Raza | Abomination | Thunderbolt Ross | Samuel Sterns | Whiplash | Justin Hammer | Senator Stern | Loki Laufeyson | Laufey | The Destroyer | Jasper Sitwell | Red Skull | Arnim Zola | Heinz Kruger | Thanos | The Other | Georgi Luchkov | Gideon Malick | Aldrich Killian | Eric Savin | Ellen Brandt | Vice President Rodriguez | Maya Hansen | Jackson Norriss | Malekith | Kurse | Alexander Pierce | Winter Soldier | Crossbones | Georges Batroc | Wolfgang von Strucker | List | Scarlet Witch | Quicksilver | Ronan the Accuser | Nebula | Korath the Pursuer | Yondu Udonta | The Collector | Ultron | Ulysses Klaue | Yellowjacket | Mitchell Carson | Helmut Zemo | Vasily Karpov | Kaecilius | Dormammu | Lucian | Karl Mordo | Ego | Ayesha | Taserface | Abilisk | Vulture | Tinkerer | Shocker #1 | Shocker #2 | Mac Gargan | Aaron Davis | Hela | The Grandmaster | Skurge | Fenris Wolf | Topaz | Surtur

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           Avengers Villains

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Abomination | Absorbing Man | A.I.M. | Air-Walker | Alkhema | Amatsu-Mikaboshi | Amora | Annihilus | Apocalypse | Arcade | Ares | Arkon | Arnim Zola | Atlas | Attuma | Avalanche | Awesome Android | Baron Mordo | Baron Von Strucker | Baron Zemo | Baron Zemo II | Batroc | Beetle | Beyonder | Black Knight | Blackout | Black Talon | Blastaar | Blob | Blood Brothers | Boomerang | Brotherhood of Evil Mutants | Bullseye | Bushmaster | Bushwacker | Chameleon | Chemistro | Chitauri | Chthon | Circus of Crime | Collector | Constrictor | Corruptor | Count Nefaria | Crimson Dynamo | Crossbones | Crossfire | Daken | Dark Avengers | Deadpool | Deathbird | Deathurge | Diablo | Dire Wraiths | Doctor Doom | Doctor Octopus | Doctor Spectrum | Dormammu | Dracula | Dragonfly | Dragon Man | Eddie Brock | Egghead | Ego the Living Planet | Electro | Elements of Doom | Enclave | Equinox | Exodus | Fabian Cortez | Fin Fang Foom | Firebrand | Firelord | Fixer | Frost Giants | Galactus | Gargantus | Goliath | Grandmaster | Graviton | Grey Gargoyle | Griffin | Grim Reaper | Grizzly | Growing Man | Hate-Monger | Hela | Hera | Herr Kleiser | High Evolutionary | Horsemen of Apocalypse | HYDRA | Immortus | Ironclad | Jack O' Lantern | Juggernaut | Justin Hammer | Kang | King Cobra | Kingpin | Klaw | Korvac | Kraven the Hunter | Kree | Lady Deathstrike | Leader | Legion of the Unliving | Living Laser | Living Monolith | Lizard | Loki | Lucia Von Bardas | Machinesmith | Mad Thinker | Madame Masque | Madelyne Pryor | Maelstrom | Magneto | Malekith | Man-Ape | Mandarin | Mandrill | Master Pandemonium | Masters of Evil | Mauler | Maximus | Melter | Mentallo | Mephisto | Midgard Serpent | Mister Hyde | Mister Sinister | M.O.D.A.M. | M.O.D.O.K. | Mojo | Molecule Man | Mole Man | Molten Man | Moonstone | Morgan Le Fay | Moses Magnum | Mystique | Namor | Nebula | Nekra | Nitro | Omega Red | Onslaught | Phalanx | Piledriver | Pluto | Presence | Princess Python | Proctor | Puma | Purple Man | Radioactive Man | Ragnarok | Red Ghost | Red Guardian | Red Skull | Rhino | Ronan | Roxxon | Sabretooth | Sandman | Sauron | Savage Land Mutates | Scarecrow | Scarlet Witch | Scorcher | Secret Empire | Sentinels | Serpent Society | Shocker | Sinister Six | Skaar | Skrulls | Space Phantom | Squadron Sinister | Stardust | Stilt-Man | Stranger | Super-Adaptoid | Super-Skrull | Supreme Intelligence | Superia | Surtur | Swordsman | Taskmaster | Technovore | Thanos | Thunderball | Thunderbolts | Thunderbolt Ross | Thundersword | Tiger Shark | Tinkerer | Titania | Toad | Trapster | Trick Shot | Typhoid Mary | U-Foes | Ulik | Ultron | Vapor | Vector | Whirlwind | Winter Soldier | Wizard | Wonder Man | Worthy | Wrecking Crew | X-Ray | Yellow Claw | Ymir | Zodiac | Zzzax

Movies
The Avengers: Loki Laufeyson | Chitauri | Leviathans | The Other | Georgi Luchkov | Gideon Malick | Jasper Sitwell | Thanos
Avengers: Age of Ultron: Ultron | Ultron Sentinels | Ulysses Klaue | HYDRA (Wolfgang von Strucker, List, Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver) | Thanos

           Thor Villains

Comics
Abomination | Absorbing Man | Air-Walker | Annihilus | Arcade | Ares | Arnim Zola | Beyonder | Bi-Beast | Blackheart | Blastaar | Circus of Crime | Collector | Crusader | Desak | Destroyer | Doctor Doom | Dormammu | Dracula | Ego the Living Planet | Enchanters Three | Enchantress | Executioner | Fafnir | Fenris Wolf | Firelord | Frost Giants | Galactus | Gorr the God Butcher | Graviton | Grey Gargoyle | Gog | Grog | Growing Man | Hela | High Evolutionary | Impossible Man | Immortus | Jormungand | Juggernaut | Kang | Karnilla | Knorda | Korvac | Kurse | Living Monolith | Loki | Lorelei | Magog | Malekith the Accursed | Man-Beast | Mangog | Marauders | Masters of Evil | Megatak | Mephisto | Mercurio the 4-D Man | Mister Hyde | M.O.D.O.K. | Mongoose | Nebula | Onslaught | Perrikus | Piledriver | Pluto | Purple Man | Quicksand | Radioactive Man | Ragnarok | Sandu | Set | Seth | Shatterfist | Skrulls | Space Phantom | Stilt-Man | Stranger | Super-Adaptoid | Super-Skrull | Surtur | Terminus | Thanos | Those Who Sit Above In Shadow | Thunderball | Titania | Titanium Man | Valkyrie | Worthy | Wrecker | Wrecking Crew | Ulik | Ultron | Umar | Ymir | Zarrko

Movies
Thor: Loki Laufeyson | Laufey | The Destroyer | Frost Giants | Jasper Sitwell
Thor: The Dark World: Malekith the Accursed | Kurse the Strong | Dark Elves | Marauders | The Collector
Thor: Ragnarok: Hela | The Grandmaster | Skurge | Fenris Wolf | Berserker Army | Topaz | Sakaaran Guards | Surtur | Thanos

           Guardians of the Galaxy Villains

Comics
Alkhema | Annihilus | Badoon | Blastaar | Collector | Chitauri | Dark Avengers | Doctor Doom | Ego the Living Planet | Galactus | Grandmaster | Kang the Conqueror | Korvac | Kree | Loki Laufeyson | Maelstrom | Magus | Nebula | Ronan | Skrulls | Space Phantom | Super-Adaptoid | Super-Skrull | Supreme Intelligence | Thanos | Ultron | Universal Church of Truth | Venom

Movies
Guardians of the Galaxy: Ronan the Accuser | Nebula | Korath the Pursuer | Kree | Yondu Udonta | The Collector | The Other | Thanos
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Ego | Ayesha | Sovereign | Taserface | Yondu Udonta | Nebula | Abilisk