Barry Lyga's novel Thanos: Titan Consumed was officially announced as the first canon MCU tie-in book - a statement that was quickly clarified. It seemed both the author and the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, had believed this was canon. Then, when the news broke, Marvel contacted them and asked that they make it clear that "the book has no canonical ties to the MCU."
It's not hard to understand why Lyga and the publisher were confused. In an interview with io9, Lyga told of a writing process that had involved a heavy degree of collaboration with Marvel Studios. He and his editor had a lengthy conference call with Marvel, who outlined their version of Thanos and allowed Lyga to ask any necessary questions. "In some areas I was given great latitude and a free hand," Lyga explained, "while in others I had to tip-toe very carefully through the MCU." Given the closeness of Lyga's relationship with Marvel, and the constraints he had to work with, it's understandable he honestly believed he was writing the first official MCU tie-in novel.
So exactly what happened? Frankly, the only reasonable explanation is that Thanos: Titan Consumed was indeed intended to be canon, but that something changed while Lyga was working on the book. So let's try and work out what that was.
- This Page: Thanos' Origin Book Lines Up With Infinity War
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Thanos' Origin Book Lines Up With Infinity War
Thanos: Titan Consumed opens where Avengers: Infinity War left off - with the snap. He's going through what can only be called a mystical experience, with his mind unmoored from time and space. Lyga describes it as follows:
"I am adrift in myself, alone with my past, my present. The sheer existence of me is at once a weighty and a weightless thing. Time is not an arrow or a line or any other convenient metaphor. Time is not an abstract notion.
"Time is a Stone.
"With the Stone, all his story is open to me. I am in history. I am history. I witness it and relive it and experience it in the same quantum instant."
The opening scene includes Thanos seeing a few key moments in his life, and they include recent events from Infinity War - the slaughter of the Asgardians, Thanos' fight with the Hulk, and even Gamora being tossed off the cliff of Vormir. It's immediately clear that Lyga knew exactly what was going to happen in the film, and it's not difficult to fit this mystical experience with the one seen after Thanos snaps his fingers in the movie. It's worth remembering that mystical experiences like this don't follow the normal constraints of time, so there's no reason Thanos couldn't have had some sort of experience through every single one of the Stones in that moment.
The body of the book corresponds perfectly with the film as well - and even fits with recent revelations from The Art of Avengers: Infinity War. It confirms that Thanos survived Titan's destruction because he was exiled after making the insane suggestion of euthanizing half his homeworld's population, a detail not explained in the film. One scene halfway through Thanos: Titan Consumed sees the Mad Titan confront an Asgardian goddess, and he winds up suffering a brutal injury that clearly foreshadows Thor's attack upon him at the end of Infinity War. The story moves on to show how Thanos recruited Gamora and Nebula, and the Chitauri onslaught on Zehoberei matches perfectly with the film's flashback scene. The level of detail is fascinating, and there is literally no contradiction between this book and Avengers: Infinity War.
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