Warning: Contains possible SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War.
Marvel gives fans their first look at Thanos' vicious minions, the Black Order, from Avengers: Infinity War during the D23 Expo 2017. Without a doubt, Avengers: Infinity War is Marvel’s most impressive undertaking yet, with a reported 67 of Marvel’s characters coming together for one film. Few threats warrant such a massive team effort, but then again, few super villains are as dangerous as the universe's ultimate nihilist, Thanos.
Since his first appearance during an Avengers’ post-credit scene, the Dark Lord’s “starring role” in Infinity War remains one of the most anticipated events in superhero cinema. Still, even a major interstellar scourge like Thanos needs a little help from time to time.
Disney’s D23 Expo shared some juicy tidbits about Marvel and their upcoming film slate, such as unveiling a statue of the Mad Titan himself, in all his fist-shaking glory. As exciting as the reveal was, it left behind one question: Who or what was the statue (or statues) behind everyone’s favorite purple overlord? Today, collected superhero super fans got their answer, as the shroud lifted on the Black Order, or in the MCU parlance, the "Children of Thanos."
Hailing from the Black Quadrant, these treacherous adversaries first arrived in New Avengers #8 (2013). Concocted by Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opeña, and Jim Cheung, the classic team consists of leader Corvus Glaive, Black Swan, Ebony Maw, Supergiant, Proxima Midnight, and Black Dwarf. For Infinity War though, it appears the team has been whittled down to four main baddies, including Glaive, Proxima, Ebony Maw, and a dead ringer for Black Dwarf named Cull Obsidian – which meshes with the name revealed by mo-cap actor Terry Notary last March. For the most part, their cinematic versions are remarkably similar to their comic counterparts. However, Marvel did make a few modifications. Aside from Black Dwarf's new moniker, he now stands larger than Thanos and has two sword-like weapons instead of his traditional battle-axe.
In the comics, Thanos first recruited the terrifying team to enforce his vicious rule over the planets of the galaxy. Their first interaction with Earth’s heroes came soon after, during the Infinity crossover of 2013 – when the Mad Titan sent them to Earth to kill his son Thane. In the process, they discovered that the Infinity Gems (now Stones) were hidden away in Wakanda, so he dispatched the Order to acquire his favorite jewels in a suitably brutal manner.
Reports about the Order’s involvement in Infinity War first surfaced after Notary's announcement. Later images from the shoot in Scotland showed off a mo-capper wielding a weapon similar to the one Glaive often used. One rumor even hinted that the film altered the Order’s origins, making them the adopted children of Thanos, much like Nebula and Gamora. This theory seems to have been confirmed by Marvel Studios co-president D'Esposito's tweet, which referred to them as the "Children of Thanos."
The Order’s official introduction could indicate that elements from the Infinity crossover made their way into the third Avengers’ script, something potentially supported by a sizable presence of Black Panther cast members. If so, Thanos could focus his attention on the advanced nation, sending Black Dwarf to invade (and nearly destroy) Wakanda. No matter what their true role in the saga is, the Black Order represent formidable foes and spell trouble for Marvel’s assembled heroes.
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