Since his introduction in The Avengers, Thanos has become one of the most fascinating villains ever put to film and throughout this post, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about him.
There will be some spoilers here so if you aren’t fully up to speed with the Infinity Saga then I hope you get dusted out of here because we’re gonna be spoiling everything.
Thanos originally started as an idea in Jim Starlin’s mind all the way back when he was studying Psychology in college.
Along with Drax the Destroyer, Starlin thought up the past as comic book characters that both dealt with anger issues and after going to Marvel, Starlin was asked to pen an issue of Iron Man.
Starlin didn’t believe that his career would last longer than a couple of weeks and thus he threw his all into it and used the chance to drop them in.
He pitched the idea of Thanos to Marvel and though they liked him they had some notes and pointers for the up-and-coming comic book creator.
Thanos was originally a relatively normal-sized character that initially appeared on the same level as a man but this changed over time. Starlin has gone back and forth over this saying that his original idea was to have him more in line with a villain like Metron but that Marvel talked him into taking Thanos in a new direction.
Admired at what Jack Kirby had done with the New Gods the heads at Marvel stated that if they were going to steal one of the new Gods that they might as well rip off the best of them and thus Thanos ended up being more in line with Darkseid than anyone else.
And thus the mad Titan was born.
First appearing in The Invincible Iron Man #55 all the way back in 1973 he quickly became a foe for the metal man, the original Captain Marvel, Avengers and Silver Surfer.
When Infinity War was about to be released, Marvel reprinted pretty much all of his appearances and even gave a helpful reading list of what to check out.
I’ve actually read through the majority of these for my website and though some of them are hit and miss there are some genuine classics in there such as the Silver Surfer appearances and of course Infinity Gauntlet.
Now all of these stories are kinda combined to create the version that we’ve come to know and love in the MCU…depending on who you ask.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the character was born on Titan to A’Lars. Thanos was born with a deviant gene which radically changed his appearance and though he was initially ostracised, due to his brilliant mind he quickly rose through the ranks.
Thanos wished to be both brilliant and deadly and thus he built his body too, quickly becoming an almost god-like figure amongst the race.
If this has piqued your interest then I definitely recommend that you check out Thanos Rising as it sort of tells his origin story in a really well-fleshed-out way.
In the MCU, Thanos loved his planet incredibly and he was very proud of their accomplishments, however, as with most civilisations, they eventually hit a point that ultimately leads to their extinction.
Thanos realised that overpopulation would completely decimate the species and thus he suggested that half the population be culled to ensure that the other half can survive.
This idea was thought to be far too drastic and he was labelled as a mad man for even suggesting it.
Thanos was exiled from the planet and he watched from afar as they slowly started to succumb to his prophecy.
After using up all the resources on the planet, Titan became inhospitable and all life on its surface perished. Thus, Thanos was the last of his race and after learning the hard way he decided that he wouldn’t allow the rest of the universe to succumb to the same fate.
Using his intellect and power he quickly built an army and moved through the universe, wiping out half the population on planets one by one. In his eyes, he was balancing the universe and though he earned the reputation as being a warlord, he soon gained a vast amount of devout followers that believed him to be the most powerful being in the universe.
Amongst these were the orphans that he collected from several of the races the conquered and along with Gamora and Nebula he also picked up Ebony Maw, Corvus Glaive, Cull Obsidian and Proxima Midnight who went on to form the Black Order.
Children of Thanos
Though on the surface Thanos seemingly treated his children like soldiers, when it came to Gamora, he seemed to genuinely care for her and over the years he gained a lot of respect for the character and even became affectionate towards her.
Thanos used to force Gamora and Nebula to fight one another and he would then amputate a certain aspect of the loser to make them stronger.
Gamora never lost and thus Nebula became mentally damaged and hateful of her sibling.
Thanos seemingly favoured Gamora above all and even after she started to detest him he still believed that she would one day fall back in line and he saw her as an heir.
Together, along with the Other and Chitari forces they destroyed the ecosystem on several planets to balance them out but it wasn’t too long before Thanos realised that it would take too long for him to complete it in his lifetime.
The Infinity Stones
He started to research a faster way to end half of all life in the universe and this is when he discovered The Infinity Stones, objects of immense power, scattered across the known universe that, if collected, could accomplish his goal.
Thus he made it his life’s mission to gather them.
The first stone Thanos came across was the Mind Stone and he placed this into a sceptre which could be used to control the minds of those that were against him.
He too learned of the Power Stone and sent Nebula and Gamora to retrieve it under Korath’s command.
Nebula fell into a trap during this and Thanos who detested failure told Gamora that she was not allowed to rescue her under any circumstances.
Nebula tore off her own arm to escape and though the orb wasn’t retrieved, Thanos allowed her to return.
Disappointed in her abilities, Thanos sent Gamora to find the Soul Stone and though she found a map detailing its location, she burned it and lied to the Titan, saying that the stone’s location was unknown.
It’s at this time that Thanos made allegiance with Ronan the Accuser who carried out several massacres for the Titan. During one of these, he murdered Drax’s entire family which formed a vendetta between the two.
After the tesseract was awakened on Earth, Thanos recruited Loki to lead his Chitari forces to earth and here they would gain the tesseract. In exchange for handing it over, Thanos would give Loki rule over the entire planet, however, The Avengers fought back.
They managed to beat Loki and also gain the sceptre containing the Mind Stone which Thanos had gifted Loki for his mission. Hydra commandeered this from S.H.I.E.L.D. and started their own research on it whilst Thor took the Tesseract back to Asgard.
Upon being defeated by the earthlings who had been labelled unruly wretches, Thanos stood up and smiled, realising that he had finally found something that would challenge him.
Thanos started to study the Avengers, most notably Tony Stark who he viewed as also being someone that was cursed with knowledge.
The Infinity Gauntlet
Thanos worked away in the shadows, sending his minions out to manipulate events to bring the stones together but he was betrayed by Ronan who, after locating the Power Stone decided that he would use it to get revenge on Xander.
It’s also at this time that Gamora left Thanos and joined the Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Ronan murdered The Other and Nebula joined him before being defeated alongside his forces by The Guardians.
The Orb was collected and given to the Nova corp which meant that Thanos had lost another stone.
It was during this time that he got the Infinity Gauntlet constructed by the Dwarves of Nidavellir and stated that he would do the job of collecting the stones himself.
Nebula snuck onboard the Sanctuary 2 and tried to assassinate him but was captured which plays into Infinity War.
Thanos learned of the location of all the stones and set out after them.
Hunting the Stones
Thanos arrived on Xandar and infiltrated the Nova Corp HQ which is where he found the orb. Thanos place it into the Infinity Gauntlet and then made his position known, killing half the Xandarians before heading out to get the Tesseract from the Asgardians that had become refugees on their way to Earth.
With the Black Order, Thanos killed half of the population on board the ship whilst the other half escaped to Earth. He took the space stone from the Tesseract before killing Loki and beating Hulk and Thor almost to death.
Here he gave a speech about how loss turns the legs to jelly and how destiny always catches up. This plays into the final few moments of his life which we will talk about at the end of the video.
Thanos then sent his Black Order out to retrieve the Time and Mind stone whilst he went after the reality and soul stone.
This is where we pretty much get all of the events of Infinity War played out with Thanos collecting the stones one by one. He even sacrifices Gamora to get the Soul Stone and makes it his mission to track them down no matter the cost.
Battle on Titan
Nebula escapes during this time and she faces down against Thanos on Titan along with the Guardians and some of the Avengers.
Thanos bested them and almost killed Tony Stark, however, he spared his life in exchange for the Time Stone before heading to Earth to collect the Mind stone.
Here he easily defeated those that tried to stop him and even brought the Vision back to life using the Time Stone to collect the gem. It’s at this moment that Thor threw Stormbreaker at him and though the could have been fatal, due to Thor wishing to boast, he did not go for the character’s head. Thus Thanos managed to carry out the snap which wiped out half of all life universe.
At this moment all of time froze for Thanos and he was transported to the Soulworld without the wound in his chest or the Infinity Gauntlet. In this seemingly endless void, he approached what seemed to be a young Gamora waiting for him.
When asked what the mission had cost him he stated everything and you truly got the feeling that it may all be for nothing. Thanos to me is very much an example of why you should be careful of what you wish for as he lost the only person that he truly cared about in order to carry out something that would initially be undone.
Still, he didn’t have time to mourn and he returned to the real world mere seconds after he had carried out the snap.
With the Time Stone, he healed his chest and used the Space Stone to escape to his garden which is where he watched the sunset in what he thought was a grateful universe.
Destroying the Stones
The reality was completely different and the character was far away from the screams of pain that echoed across the planets as life was snuffed out for seemingly no reason.
The universe entered a phase of anger and mourning and Thanos settled on his farm, living a rather simple life for three weeks.
Thanos clearly started to second guess whether what he had done was the right thing or not and to avoid the temptation of bringing those he’d sentenced to the abyss back he destroyed the Infinity Stones by using their own energies against them.
This added further damage to his body and he spent his remaining few days severely wounded and limping around his home.
It’s at this point that he was ambushed by the Avengers who had tracked the character through his use of the stones and Nebula’s knowledge of the garden.
They cut off his arm and then beheaded him, ending the character’s life.
However, it wouldn’t be the last time that we saw the character and after the Avengers travelled back in time to get the Infinity Stones, an alternate version of Thanos from 2014 followed the group back through the quantum realm and here he sent Nebula to get the Infinity Gauntlet.
In the wreckage of Avengers HQ, he fought Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, beating the three and leaving most of them severely wounded.
The heroes, however, had managed to reverse the snap and joined by the heroes of the universe, the resistance was able to defeat Thanos.
Young Thanos’ Mentality
Now I love this younger version of Thanos as we truly see the character for what he really is. It’s clear that the character deep down is a sadistic murderer and after seeing that his plan failed through knowledge of the future, he realises that rather than deciding not to do it, he must instead wipe out all life in the universe.
This is because he realised that the survivors of the snap would always remember what they’d lost and focus on that instead of what they gained which would lead to them living in despair. Thus all life must be reduced to a single atom and reconstructed, grateful for what they have instead of what they lost.
Thanos managed to retrieve the gauntlet, however, due to the Stark tech now embedded in it, Tony was able to take the stones and carry out his own snap which wiped out all of his forces.
Thanos accepted his defeat with dignity and we watched as the loss turned his legs to jelly, he sat down and turned to dust, much like the fate he wanted to force upon others.
Will he be back?
Well, a deleted scene for Avengers Endgame revealed that like the rest of the survivors, if the snap which willed him out of existence was reversed he could return.
On top of this we have the What If series which is set to feature a vocal appearance by Josh Brolin so it does look like we will be seeing his Grimace-looking head sooner rather than later but who knows if this will be for good or just a cameo.
Either way that’s everything you need to know about Thanos!