Thanos, in glorious comic book villain tradition, has now died, pretty definitively, twice. It started in Avengers: Endgame when Thor grumpy-gussed his noggin right off of his torso, then doubled back poetically with the film’s surviving heroes breathing little bits of the Mad Titan and company, courtesy of a toasty snap from Iron Man.
But like Luke Skywalker said just before not really being gone, “No one’s ever really gone,” and with Thanos representing an estimated 12% of all MCU post-credits sequences, his absence leaves a big hole in the universe.
Not as big as the hole left by the loss of half of all life, but still, substantial. Maybe that’s why fans have been working overtime, pumping out conjecture as to how their favorite lilac-hued genocidal maniac could make a return trip to movie screens.
Josh Brolin characters never say die
Among the details of Thanos‘ life that get brushed over in the movies is his personal backstory. Somehow, through his imposing presence, the character manages to lull viewers into a sense of quiet acceptance that big purple guys are just out there somewhere. We learn that he’s from Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, but that’s about as much detail work as goes into his genesis.
In the comics, Thanos is an Eternal, one of two races of humanoids created by the godlike Celestials way, way back in the day. Unfortunately for him, he’s also got the DNA of the second race: the Deviants, the disfigured, frequently sadistic flipside to the Eternals‘ genetic coin, which accounts for his lavender hue and the fact that he has a fist for a chin.
Now, Starlin is clear in his interview that he doesn’t have the inside skinny on Thanos‘ future in the MCU, but he voices his belief that his creation will return. “He’s gonna be in, at least a guest appearance, inside the Eternals,” the writer told ComicBook.com, referring to the Marvel Studios movie currently slated for release later in 2021.
Given that the Eternals live up to their name by existing across eons, it could be that the MCU‘s snappiest villain will show up in a flashback to his younger years. Alternately, the advanced race of superbeings might bring him back to life via appropriately science-fictiony means.
It’s all just conjecture right now, but who knows? Maybe when it comes to killing off Thanos, the third time will have to be the charm.