Everyone in the Marvel universe vs. Thanos.
So, you’ve been caught up in the hype and went to see The Avengers this weekend, were confused by some points in the film since you might not have seen the last five movies leading up to The Avengers (or even knew there were five movies leading up to this film), and you were particularly confused by the appearance of a villain at the very end of the movie in the middle of the credits. Who is that guy going on about “challenging the humans is to court death”? What does that mean?
That dude is Thanos, a villain from the comic books. This scene at the end of The Avengers seems to lay a foundation for a sequel in which Thanos is the villain. So, just who is Thanos and what does he want? Thanos is an alien who, at a very young age, literally fell in love with death, or at least the entity known as death. In order to impress her, Thanos caused a disaster that wiped out the population of his planet. He travels the universe seeking ways to kill vast populations in order to woo death and finally serve by her side. He set about collecting Infinity Gems, some of the most powerful artifacts in the universe, and created a gauntlet that displayed each of these gems. Each gem grants the owner total mastery over one aspect of the universe: Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality, and Power. He distorted a female space pirate, Nebula who claimed to be Thanos’ granddaughter, into a misshapen creature, neither dead nor living. In the comic book limited series The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos, desperate to win the affection of death, killed half of the life of the universe using his Gauntlet. The Fantasic Four and X-Men all died at once along with half the universe and the remaining heroes desperately fought against Thanos. In order to impress death further, Thanos allows the heroes a fighting chance, but then kills almost all of them. Thanos then defeats all of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe like Galactus and the Celestials, then expands his consciousness beyond his physical body to become the living embodiment of the universe. Of course, leaving his body leaves the Infinity Gauntlet vulnerable, and Nebula then dons the Gauntlet and restores the universe, bringing the dead back to life. The heroes then have another fight with Thanos and defeat him, taking back possession of the gauntlet.
The Infinity Gauntlet in the movie Thor.
The Infinity Gauntlet prop made for the movie Thor.
If going big is the way to go here, then this is my pure sepculation on what could happen in Avengers 2: Thanos comes to Earth searching for a bifrost (bridge to Asgard) and lays waste to a small town. The Avengers are assembled to attack Thanos, but fail to stop Thanos from entering Asgard. The Avengers follow Thanos to Asgard where Thanos storms Odin’s armory and steals theInfinity Gauntlet. Thanos then uses the Gauntlet to kill half the universe to woo death. Five out of ten people across the universe, selected in random order, drop dead in an instant (the writers can include characters like Black Widow and such in this mass killing, anyone that won’t be used in defeating Thanos). The remaining heroes track down Thanos who grants them a fighting chance to further impress death but easily kills them all, except for Captain America who is distorted into a misshapen creature by Thanos’ Gauntlet, a mockery of Cap’s former self as Thanos’ horrible standard to the survivor’s of Thanos’ holocaust. Down but not out, Cap convinces Thanos that he’s thinking too small with his new found power, and that Thanos should be the universe, a living god that controls everything. Thanos expands his consciousness to become the universe and leaves his body and the Gauntlet vulnerable for Cap to reverse Thanos’ damage to the universe. Back in his body, Thanos is defeated by the Avengers and the Gauntlet is shattered with the gems scattered throughout the cosmos by the Asgardians.
Who knows what direction Marvel will go with this? They also have three other movies, like Thor 2, Iron Man 3, and Captain America 2, in order to further set up Avengers 2. So, we’ll just have to wait and see what further hijinks they have in store for Thanos. Whatever happens though, they shouldn’t stop the wonderful character work that was present in the first Avengers movie.