Here’s what you need to know about Thanos, the Mad Titan before heading into theaters this weekend.

Some people call him the Mad Titan, yeah. Some people call him the Most Powerful Being in the Universe. Some people call him Dad. Whatever the appellation, there have been 10 years and 18 films — and they’ve all led to the one villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe who’s badder than the rest: Thanos.

According to the directors themselves, he’s the true focus of Avengers: Infinity War and even the combined forces of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and those beyond (the Guardians of the Galaxy) might not be enough to stop him.

But who is Thanos? Why is he coming to Earth? And what’s he scheming with the Infinity Stones? Here’s a quick Avengers: Infinity War Thanos movie primer to get you caught up on the character before heading into theaters:

He first appears in the post-credits scene of The Avengers (2012)

Following the Battle of New York, in which the Avengers emerge victorious over Loki and the Chitauri forces (Thanos’ army), the Other, Thanos’ personal assistant, reports back to his master to inform him that they have underestimated Earth and its inhabitants:

Although Earth’s Mightiest Heroes haven’t heard of Thanos — through his informants, he knows about them — and as his sly smirk implies, he’s not exactly timorous about taking them on.

He’s trying to prevent what happened to his home planet from happening again

Although not everyone at AiPT! agrees with his methodology, Thanos’ motivations in Avengers: Infinity War are admittedly complicated; at least more complicated than your run-of-the-mill cosmic villain hellbent on world/universal domination. According to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige:

He’s from a planet called Titan that’s no longer inhabited because of things that he thought he could help prevent, and he was not allowed to do that,’ Feige says.

‘What he feared most happened, and the planet and everybody on it basically went extinct. He vowed not to let that happen again. He thinks he sees the universe going down the tubes. He thinks he sees life expanding outward unchecked. That will bring ruin, he believes, to the universe and to that life.’

Flesh is weak. Weakness must be cast aside for the sake of power.

What exactly is it about the Avengers, Earth itself and the Guardians of the Galaxy that makes them fall into the “life expanding outward unchecked” category? That remains to be seen.

Gamora and Nebula are his daughters

Gamora, from the Guardians of the Galaxy films is known as the “Deadliest woman in the galaxy.”

Her sister Nebula? No slouch, either:

The reason they’re so adept? Thanos trained them from birth to be dangerous assassins; before you start considering him for any Dad of the Year (Dad Titan?) Awards however, a reminder of who we’re dealing with here; and the fact that Gamora and Nebula aren’t Thanos’ biological daughters — he “adopted” them after wiping out their planets and species.

“They’re tools to him,” Thanos actor Josh Brolin said in an interview with EW.

Thanos also took the term “sibling rivalry” to a whole new level. According to Nebula, whenever she lost a duel to her sister Gamora, Thanos would remove one of her body parts and replace it with a cybernetic enhancement to “make her stronger.”

‘My father would have Gamora and me battle one another in training. Every time, my sister prevailed, my father would replace a piece of me with machinery, claiming he wanted me to be “her equal.”

But she won. Again, and again, and again, never once refraining. So, after I murder my sister, I will buy a warship with every conceivable instrument of death, I will hunt my father like a dog and I will tear him apart piece by piece.’

As you can see, the result of Thanos’ draconian upbringing of his daughters wasn’t something that would have made it into an episode of Full House.

He wants to use the Infinity Stones to “fix” the universe

Per Brolin’s EW interview:

In Avengers: Infinity War, [Thanos] becomes the central focus, and we’ll see his younger years on Titan, witnessing the forces that destroyed his home world and sent him on a mission to “save” the universe through mass extermination.

That’s a big job, so throughout these Marvel films he has been trying to acquire the Infinity Stones that, when combined in one all-powerful gauntlet, will allow him to bend time, space, and all reality to his will.

He’s not coming to Earth alone

Gamora and Nebula aren’t the only children Thanos has adopted. From what we’ve gleaned in trailers and interviews for the film, he’s also bringing his handpicked soldiers, the Black Order. Per the Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki:

Aside from Gamora and Nebula, Thanos took in and trained other children as well, namely Korath the Pursuer, Corvus Glaive, Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian and Proxima Midnight. The latter four warriors, more faithful and devoted to Thanos’ command than Gamora and Nebula, comprised the Black Order.

Ronan’s meeting with Thanos may be the best gauge of the Mad Titan’s power we have yet

‘Master, you cannot! Thanos is the most powerful being in the universe!’

Ronan the Accuser, elite Kree warrior, insurgent and main antagonist of Guardians of the Galaxy made a deal with Thanos; Ronan would retrieve the Orb (a mysterious artifact later revealed to contain a Power Stone) in exchange for Thanos destroying the planet of Xandar. Remember, Ronan is the character who ragdolled a powerful fighter like Drax with relative ease in Guardians of the Galaxy:

During their first meeting, Ronan and Thanos seem butt heads. But it is Thanos who has the last words/makes it clear who is in charge:

Later, when Ronan comes into possession of the Power Stone, one of the most powerful items in the galaxy, Kree mercenary Korath the Pursuer warns Ronan of the implications of his actions:

Thanos seems more agitated than concerned. We haven’t yet seen Thanos’ capabilities in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Thanos has defeated two individuals more powerful than Ronan in the comic books (Champion and Thor) who were equipped with the very same Power Gem Ronan had in Guardians of the Galaxy. Also, here’s how Ronan vs. Thanos went down in the comics:

Which doesn’t seem to bode well for Drax taking on Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.


Are you looking forward to seeing Thanos on the big screen? Will he be the most powerful villain Earth’s Mightiest Heroes ever face in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Sound off in the comments.