Marvel Leak Reveals Thanos Is Coming Back as a Changed Villain

When we last saw Thanos in Avengers: Endgame — stop reading if you haven’t watched the movie — he was dissolving into dust, along with the rest of his army after Iron Man put on the gauntlet and snapped them away.

It was fitting payback for the villain, who had snapped away half of the Avengers and half of known life in the universe at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. As we saw; however, the heroes who turned into dust — including Spider-Man, Falcon, and the Scarlet Witch — all came back to fight another day.

Could Thanos do the same? Apparently so, according to a new leak spilling into Marvel headlines. Moreover, the source of the leak has a track record of being right: they were previously accurate about Robert Pattinson being selected to be the new Batman.

How Thanos could come back

Thanos fights Captain America
Thanos fights Captain America. | Marvel Studios

To understand how Thanos could return, we first have to understand the Marvel Comics story Annihilation. That was a multi-character mini-series similar to Secret Wars, which brought multiple heroes from different comic books together to fight a big galactic menace. That was the series that gave rise to what would become Venom when Spider-Man came back with a spiffy new black costume that turned out to be an alien symbiote. 

Written by Keith Giffen, the Annihilation mini-series, running from 2005 to 2007, was about the invasion of the universe from Annihilus and his forces of the Negative Zone. In this storyline, Thanos is kind of a good guy and teamed up with the Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Star-Lord.

How is this possible? The big reason is that Spider-Man: Far From Home introduces the concept of the multiverse or parallel universe’s where some of the same characters and situations exist but they have different fates. We have seen this in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and on the CW Arrowverse shows, which involve multiple version of Earth that frequently cross over. 

When will Marvel bring Thanos back?

One reason this might be a possibility is that the Marvel characters that had been owned by Fox are now owned by Disney. In addition to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, this also includes Annihilus, who is a key figure in the Annihilation storyline. 

As Comicbook.com, explains, the reversal of the Snap (or the “blip,” as Spider-Man: Far From Home calls it), helped make alternate realities possible. And with Marvel getting more into otherworldly, out-there characters that can bend the rules of time, space and physics, like Doctor Strange and his gang, that means pretty much anything is possible. 

Since the Annihilation story involves Star-Lord, we know that the Guardians of the Galaxy come into play, and we know more of them are coming.

The Thanos storyline would take a while to play out

Marvel just announced its slate for the next two years, with two movies in 2020 and three movies in 2021. These are: 

Black Widow (May 1, 2020): The MCU’s first female hero finally gets her own movie. Given that it’s probably a prequel it probably will have nothing to do with Thanos.

Eternals (November 6, 2020): This is about a group of cosmic beings featuring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, and Kumail Nanjiani. This could potentially lay some groundwork for the Annihilation story.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Feb. 12, 2021): This martial arts movie is probably more Earth-bound and may not play into Thanos much, if at all. 

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (May 7, 2021): Did someone say multiverse? 

Thor: Love and Thunder (Nov. 5, 2021): This will introduce Lady Thor (Natalie Portman) and probably tie into the old Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) new friends: the Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Marvel did not announce its movies beyond 2021, but it’s widely assumed that one of those will be Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which James Gunn will direct after he does the Suicide Squad sequel in 2021. This is where Annihilation, if that is the next big MCU story, would hit the ground running.