We finally have some of our first details on the origins, motivations, and mission of Thanos, the Mad Titan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This report is about as official as it can get — it comes from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, himself.
This was revealed as part of Entertainment Weekly’s Infinity War-dedicated issue, with 15 unique covers, eight new images, and multiple exclusive articles shedding light on the secretive, massive film which debuts in just a month and a half.
In an article, Feige revealed some new details about the origins and motivations of the villain. Right from the top, his mission has definitely changed from the comics, when he was an arguably mentally-ill galactic warlord trying to impress the avatar of death.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos is being made a much more understandable villain, it seems. He’s still from Titan, which is actually the ruined planet we see in the film’s first trailer, but its destruction happened very differently.
In the comics Thanos himself was responsible for Titan’s destruction. However, in the MCU, it was the result of something external. Not only that, but it was something that Thanos thought he could prevent, and tried to prevent, but was ultimately not allowed to stop, according to Kevin Feige.
“What he feared most happened, and the planet and everybody on it basically went extinct. He vowed not to let that happen again,” Feige said. “He thinks he sees the universe going down the tubes.”
Now, after the mysterious downfall of his home world, he sees the same thing happening to the rest of the universe. In Feige’s words, he sees life expanding outward, unchecked. For better or for worse, Thanos wants to put a stop to this, to save the universe from itself.
His plan, though, will sound familiar to anyone from the comics: killing one half of the universe. It may be more metaphorical in the movies, but in the comics he used the assembled Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half of all life in the universe to impress Mistress Death.
In the film, he may simply see it as a culling of some sort or population control, like a hunter thinning out a herd of deer. Regardless, it’s almost a religious mission for him, according to earlier comments from the Russo Brothers.
“That’s either genius or horrific, depending on your point of view,” Feige said. “And most of our point of views say it’s pretty horrific.”
Whether these are his ultimate goals, or just his outward motivation, we’ll have to wait and see. Something tells me there’s more to this than meets the eye. Interestingly enough, this paragraph detailing what happened to him on Titan seems to have disappeared from Entertainment Weekly’s article, but it does still exist in other pages.
Personally, I appreciate their attempts to give him a more reasonable backstory, but part of the appeal of Thanos’ as a villain, to me at least, is that his mission is literally wholly unreasonable.
To put it frankly, he wants to assemble a magic sequined Michael Jackson glove to get freaky with a skeleton lady that might just exist in his head. That’s it. That’s where it ends. A more cynical person would say that would never work on screen, but Marvel’s made a living making impossible things work on screen. I’m not sure why this couldn’t have been one of them.