What Happens To Thanos At The End of Avengers: Infinity War?
Immediately after the snap, Thanos is transported to a strange, ethereal realm bathed in orange. The only structure here is an upsidedown-world version of the gazebo where he first met Gamora, and sat there is what appears to be his younger daughter. They have a brief, muted exchange where Thanos begins to grasp his victory, although the conviction that previously defined him feels absent:
Gamora: Did you do it?
Gamora: What did it cost?
It's not explicitly stated in the movie, but this would appear to be Soul World; in the comics, a dimension inside the Soul Stone where the souls "captured" by it reside. Given the orange landscape and presence of the daughter he sacrificed to capture that very Stone, it would fit as a movie approximation, with Thanos going there after the snap to reunite with his lost child. Whether this is simply intended as a window into his own soul, highlighting how much of himself he's lost, or setting it up as a key location in Avengers 4 (possibly where Gamora is trapped), is unclear.
After leaving young Gamora, Thanos teleports out of Wakanda, leaving the Avengers to feel the aftermath of his victory. We next see him in the film's very last scene, on a verdant planet living in rustic isolation. This is, weirdly, a nod to his farming days in the comics, but more purely a stamp on the movie; he sits in silence and smiles. It's over.
What Happens To The Infinity Stones & Gauntlet?
Thanos' victory leaves many questions, including the status of the Infinity Gauntlet. After the snap, the golden glove is cracked and cindered, although as Thanos is able to use the Space Stone to escape it evidently still works and allows him to wield their near-uncontrollable power. This further presumably means that, at the very end of the film, he has the Stones in his possession, or at the very least knows where they all are. The fact he's recovered from Thor's Stormbreaker attack indeed indicates he's used on to heal himself. He's going to need them, as however the Avengers hope to undo his wrath, at least some of them will be important.
That so much of that is speculation is curious; after spending an entire movie focused on collecting them, Avengers 3 loses all interest in the Infinity Stones the moment Thanos snaps. Of course, that does make some story sense; our protagonist no longer cares about them either...
Thanos' Victory Is Broken
Thanos is relatable. That may be the most shocking part of Avengers: Infinity War. He's not quite Killmonger, who was in many ways right in Black Panther (albeit warped), but across the citing of his motivations and the conflict he must go through to win, you begin to empathize with the Mad Titan. The Russos have long said that Thanos was the protagonist of Infinity War, and that's very true; to the point he's the character whose return is promised at the very end of the credits. While the film does focus on the heroes' conflict of duty and friendship - especially in relation to the protection of their two Stones, with Steve Rogers and Doctor Strange both forced to address they allegedly unshakable beliefs - most of its thematic ground is in Thanos.
As already discussed, the sacrifices made for the Infinity Stones are not to the Avengers, but to him. His goal is massive, and the toll greater; he must undo his past in destroying Xandar and Loki, lose what's close to him with Gamora, deal with his foes for the Time Stone and actually address what his true purpose is with the Mind Stone. Each one is a pointed step in deconstructing Thanos (presumably why the Power Stone is skipped over - it repeats what we get with the Space Stone) and making him question his mission - with the conclusion that it is truly worth it.
But was it? The final Gamora scene is tinged not with victory but regret. Thanos himself says he will be at peace when he snaps, and he ends with a trademark grin, but the movie points otherwise. Has he sold too much of himself for his goal? Is the peace at the end a reward or broken? And was victory really the point? There are flaws in his vague logic, as raised by the people of Titan - killing half the population doesn't directly lead to peace - and the ending makes clear it was the journey that drove him. After victory, there's nowhere to go.
Of course, that's not the only way it's not necessarily a victory for him. We are entering the endgame, after all.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019