THANOS IS COMING!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a particularly large rock since 2012’s The Avengers, you know that he’s the “Big Bad” that’s been pulling the collective strings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the movies, he’s still something of an enigma. His motivations are still unrevealed. All we know so far is that he’s lent Loki a scepter that contained the Mind Gem in order to acquire a Tesseract which contained the Space Gem, and that he tasked Ronan to bring him the Power Gem (or something). So far, he’s been let down by his agents, and so he’s set out to unite the Infinity Stones himself.
Looking at his history from the comic books, we know much, much more about him though. So, here at Screen Rant we thought it was high time we presented the 13 Things You Need to Know About Thanos!
13. He’s an Eternal from Titan, born with Deviant Syndrome.
Thanos was one of the last sons of A’Lars (also known as Mentor), progenitor of the second colony of Eternals on Titan (a moon orbiting the planet Saturn). Born with a massive, deformed body and hide-like skin, it was clear from birth that he had Deviant Syndrome, a rare condition where an Eternal more closely resembles their enemies The Deviants. At birth, his mother attempted to kill him. During his school years, Thanos was a pacifist and would only play with his brother Eros. Due to his deformities, he became a morose child, one obsessed with the concept of death.
Like all Eternals, Thanos is essentially immortal. He possesses the natural ability to synthesize cosmic power for whatever use he sees fit. He also possesses limitless strength, durability, and intelligence. Through bionic implantation and meditation, Thanos augmented his natural Eternal Powers and surpassed all the other Eternals on Titan.
12. He killed his family
As his powers grew, so did his ambition for conquest and destruction. Thanos stole one of his people’s starships and travelled the cosmos searching for mercenaries and malcontents for a large private army. Amassing a small fleet, he dropped nuclear bombs on his home world of Titan, killing thousands of people, including his mother Sui-San. He declared himself the ruler of what remained of Titan, and set his sights on the nearby planet of Earth.
Shortly after this, Thanos met the embodiment of Death itself. Death, in the form of a human female, became Thanos’ companion, drawn to him by his dedication to nihilism as well as the genocide of his own people. As an adult, Thanos attempts to create a new life for himself by starting a family. He is visited again by Mistress Death, for whom he murders his new family.
11. He’s romantically obsessed with Death
Thanos became obsessed with Death, having felt love for someone for the first time in his life. To make himself worthy of so awesome an entity, Thanos decided to acquire more power. At first he planned simply to seize political power through the conquest of worlds, but later sought to become more powerful through the attainment of items such as the Cosmic Cube and the Infinity Gems.
At one time, he acquired the Cosmic Cube and transformed himself into a godlike form. Thanos battled the Avengers and Captain Marvel. When Thanos carelessly discarded the Cube, believing falsely that he had drained it of all power, Mar-Vell struck the cube, willing it to restore the universe to what it had been. Robbed of power, Thanos reverted to mortal form in the center of the universe where his flagship Sanctuary II retrieved him under pre-programmed instructions. Revived, Thanos was dejected to discover that Death had abandoned him because of his failure.
10. His Brother is an Avenger
Eros is the youngest son of two Eternals, A’Lars and Sui-San. Eros grew up to be a fun-loving, carefree womanizer in contrast to his brother Thanos, a power-hungry, misanthropic schemer. Only when Thanos launched his first major attack against Titan, an attack that left their mother Sui-San dead, did Eros begin to take life a bit more seriously.
In a campaign against Thanos, Eros fought alongside the survivors on Titan as well as Captain Mar-Vell and the Avengers. Thanos would be defeated here for the first time. After this, and realising his wanderlust once more, Eros travelled to Earth and looked up the Avengers.
The Avengers allowed Eros to join under the name Starfox, feeling his given name was inappropriate. He fought alongside them for several months, helping to defeat Terminus and Maelstrom. He would later leave the Avengers to pursue the space-pirate Nebula, whom he discovered was his niece.
9. He has a subconscious desire to lose
At one time, Thanos gained the Infinity Gauntlet and united the Infinity Gems. Granted with omnipotence, he wiped out half the universe’s population as a tribute to his love, Death.
Still spurning him, despite his tribute to her, Thanos became angrier than ever and more determined to prove his worth. Earth’s collected heroes, alongside cosmic entities Love, Hate, the Stranger, Epoch, Chaos, Order, and Galactus, battled Thanos. Despite their massive power levels, they could not defeat Thanos.
Thanos had overlooked his grandniece, Nebula, who was able to remove the gauntlet from his hand, undoing all he had done. Eventually, Adam Warlock would possess the Infinity Gauntlet, ending the crisis. After Thanos obtained and lost the Infinity Gauntlet, he was led to a period of introspection. Adam Warlock recognized that Thanos’ efforts to obtain omnipotence had been thwarted not only by the intervention of superheroes but by Thanos’ own self-doubt and anxiety. His subconscious belief that he wasn’t good enough held him back each time.
8. In the comics, Drax was created to kill him
Unlike the version seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, the comic book version of Drax the Destroyer is quite different. In the comics, he is originally real estate agent Arthur Douglas, a normal man driving in the Mojave Desert along with his wife Yvette and his daughter Heather, when a spaceship carrying Thanos passed overhead on a surveillance mission to Earth. Wishing to keep his existence a secret, Thanos destroyed the automobile in case its passengers had seen his ship.
Unknown to the Titan, his father, Mentor, had been monitoring his activities on Earth. Mentor discovered that Heather Douglas was still alive, and took her back to Titan to be raised. She later returned to Earth as Moondragon. Mentor determined that the threat of his son Thanos could no longer be ignored and wanted to create a being of sufficient power to defeat Thanos. Enlisting the aid of his father Kronos, who millennia before had become a discorporate wraith, Mentor had Kronos seize the astral form (living consciousness) of Arthur Douglas before it had completely fled from Douglas’s body. Kronos and Mentor then fashioned a humanoid body from the Earth’s soil, granted it superhuman powers, and cast Douglas’ spirit inside it. Thus they created the being who would become known as Drax the Destroyer.
7. He was originally created to rip-off Metron, but became a rip-off of Darkseid instead
While Thanos was directly influenced by a DC character, it wasn’t originally going to be Darkseid, but Metron instead. Metron is a cosmic villain, just like Thanos is, who sits on his galactic throne, known as the Mobius Chair. He has a number of almost godlike powers, which vary dramatically between his appearances, but they are generally energy-based, as many of Thanos’ are, and are also augmented by technology, just like Thanos’ are. So, in spite of the fact that he certainly looks a lot more like Darkseid, Thanos was actually influenced more Metron.
Creator Jim Starlin had this to say – “Kirby had done the New Gods, which I thought was terrific. He was over at DC at the time. I came up with some things that were inspired by that. You’d think that Thanos was inspired by Darkseid, but that was not the case when I showed up. In my first Thanos drawings, if he looked like anybody, it was Metron. I had all these different gods and things I wanted to do, which became Thanos and the Titans. Roy took one look at the guy in the Metron-like chair and said: ‘Beef him up! If you’re going to steal one of the New Gods, at least rip off Darkseid, the really good one!’”
6. He has multiple children
His most famous child is the assassin, Gamora. She isn’t one of his biological children, rather he adopted her and raised her as his own to serve as his right hand. Gamora was the sole survivor of the alien humanoid race called the Zen Whoberis, a peace-loving people whose population were wiped out by a zealous religious order seeking to establish a galaxy-wide empire. The mad Titan Thanos rescued Gamora and raised her on his space-station, Sanctuary.
He also has a son, Thane. Thane is the secret Inhuman son of Thanos. After a descendant Inhuman tribe ran afoul of Thanos and his army, one Inhuman woman returned home pregnant with Thanos’ child. Thane grew to adulthood and became a healer among his people. When Thanos eventually came looking for him, he underwent Terrigenesis and developed powers, and an appearance similar to his father’s. One of his new powers enabled him to trap Thanos in amber, ensuring the Mad Titan was trapped in a state between life and death.
5. He celebrates Christmas
In order to psychologically condition Gamora to be more than just a soulless killing machine, Thanos provided her with as normal a childhood as he could muster. He reasoned that she would function better if she were to have a childhood therefore she would not be simply psychotic but capable of reason.
In doing so, he chose to assign her a birthday and each year celebrated a modern Earth style Christmas, complete with gift-giving, a Christmas tree, and the illusion of Santa. He even goes as far as to call a truce each year and send gifts to surviving family members such as his brother, Eros. Exactly how he got his hands on a Christmas tree, remains a mystery.
4. He’s had multiple clones
Thanos once conducted extensive research on genetics, and after studying many of the universe’s heroes and villains cloned them and gene-spliced his own DNA into the subjects. Although he later abandons the project, five clones survive, being versions of Professor X, Iron Man, Gladiator, Doctor Strange, and Galactus.
A sixth and unnamed version of Thanos also appears, and it is revealed the incarnations of Thanos encountered by Thor and Ka-Zar were his clones. The true Thanos (with the aid of Adam Warlock, Gamora, Pip the Troll, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, and Dr. Strange) destroys the remaining clones.
This has been relied upon as a plot device on a few occasions as whenever a previous storyline contradicts more established Thanos-lore, it’s said to have been an abhorrent clone and the actions quickly forgotten about.
3. He was once defeated by Squirrel Girl
Things haven’t always gone to plan for Thanos. He’s had more than his share of defeats, but none quite so embarrassing as losing to a human squirrel and her army of furry companions. That’s right the vicious, murderous, insanely powerful, seemingly unbeatable and sometimes omnipotent Thanos… was once defeated by Squirrel Girl!
While not officially set within the established Marvel cannon, GLX-MAS #1 published in 2005, was intended as a parody as it was in a special holiday issue. In it, however, the Watcher stated that it was indeed Thanos and not a clone or other imposter, poking fun at the times where Thanos has been defeated a little too easily only to claim later that it wasn’t really him. No wonder Squirrel Girl has earned aliases like “The Anti-Life” and “The Slayer of All That Breathes.”
2. He once owned a “Thanos-copter” and was arrested by regular cops.
In another less-than-stellar moment for the Mad Titan, this embarrassing defeat also occurred. In the same issue that Thanos was flying around in a helicopter (Spidey Super Stories #39 – “Who will get the Cosmic Cube?”), Thanos tried to steal the Cosmic Cube, so Hellcat and Spider-Man got to work to prevent him from doing so. Hellcat kicked the powerful item out of the Mad Titan’s hand and it fell into an alleyway where it was found by a small child (who used its almighty power to conjure up an ice cream for himself – kneel before him!).
Thanos tried to retrieve the cosmic ice cream maker, but was stopped by the aforementioned Spider-Man and Hellcat. The police were called, they arrived on the scene and Thanos was arrested and sent to jail. Not quite as bad as his defeat by Squirrel Girl, but another moment he’d rather forget.
1. Thanos’ name is a modification of “Thanatos,” the death urge.
Writer-artist Jim Starlin originally conceived of Thanos of Titan during college psychology classes. As Starlin described:
“I went to college between doing U.S. military service and getting work in comics, and there was a psych class and I came up with Thanos … and Drax the Destroyer, but I’m not sure how he fit into it, just anger management probably. So I came up to Marvel and Roy Thomas asked if I wanted to do an issue of Iron Man. I felt that this may be my only chance ever to do a character, not having the confidence that my career was going to last anything longer than a few weeks. So they got jammed into it. Thanos was a much thinner character and Roy suggested beefing him up, so he’s beefed up quite a bit from his original sketches … and later on I liked beefing him up so much that he continued to grow in size.”
When Thanos finally meets The Avengers, it’s certain that some aspects of his back story are sure to be changed. But the richness of the chracter will be sure to give us the cinematic villain we’ve all been waiting for.
Got any more great trivia about Thanos? Tell us about it in the comments section!