Who Is Marvel’s Thanos? Learn About the ‘Infinity War’ Villain Now

He’s the biggest baddie of them all, and he’s headed to a theater near you. Thanos, the Mad Titan, has graced the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a few telling end credit scenes, but we’re about to meet him for real in Avengers: Infinity War.

Why does this epic villain have our MCU heroes shaking in their suits? Here’s everything you need to know about Thanos before he hits the big screen once more.

He had a rough start to life

Thanos sitting on a throne suspended in space surrounded by darkness

Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy | Marvel Studios

As comic legend has it, Thanos comes from Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. But the Eternal was horribly disfigured, and thus became a miserable creature obsessed with death and destruction.

This led to Thanos’ quest for the ultimate power, which he has sought in various forms, including the Cosmic Cube and the Infinity Gems (referred to as Stones in the films). Because of his aspirations, he has come up against many of our favorite heroes, including Captain Marvel.

He’s Gamora’s father

Close up of Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Marvel Studios

Well, sort of. After destroying Gamora’s home planet and killing her parents, Thanos adopted her. He trained her as his own personal assassin, which is why she’s so powerful.

But as Guardians of the Galaxy fans know, Gamora turned on her pseudo-dad. While on a mission for his subordinate Ronan the Accuser, she switched sides, in order to keep the Orb out of the hands of evil. We have a feeling that when the two meet again in Infinity War, it won’t exactly be a happy homecoming.

He wants the Infinity Stones

Thanos looking at the Infinity Guantlet with four stones in it

Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet | Marvel Studios

This is the driving force of the coming film, and has been portrayed in the end credits scenes previously mentioned. Thanos believes that by assembling all of the Stones in his Infinity Gauntlet, he’ll have ultimate power and can wipe out the Avengers (and anyone else who gets in his way).

Currently, we don’t know if Thanos has any of the Infinity Stones — if he does, he’s gotten his hands on them in the time between films. But what seems apparent from this image is that he comes into possession of all of them at one point or another during Infinity War.

He is infatuated with Death

Thanos and Death, as a woman with blonde hair

Thanos and Death | Marvel Comics

Yes, that capitalization is correct. For those who haven’t read the comics, Death (in the form of a woman) and Thanos meet, and he falls for Death.

In fact, it’s his desire to please Death that sets Thanos on his path of destruction. The pair have a complicated relationship, which actually results in procreation of sorts: Rot, an unknown state of “non-being,” was conceived from their interactions.

He has killed a lot of superheroes

Thanos holding the dead bodies of Hulk and Spider-Man

Thanos kills superheroes | Marvel Comics

In The Infinity Gauntlet comic series, which is generally accepted to be the source material for Infinity War, Thanos is successful in his mission to destroy a significant amount of life for Death — including many of our favorite superheroes.

Of course, because comics must go on, they found a way around this, and order was restored. Still, it’s pretty daunting for the Avengers and company heading into this film, as it could be almost anyone on the chopping block.

He leads the Black Order

Thanos leads his minions in The Black Order, all standing together

The Black Order | Marvel Animation

Every bad guy needs his underlings. In Thanos’ case, he’s got the Black Order, five “elite warriors” who come to his aid during The Infinity Gauntlet comics saga. But as Screen Rant wrote, we’re seeing the potential for an interesting twist in regard to this collective in the film.

As we know, Gamora and Nebula are Thanos’ adopted children, whom he trained as assassins. Could there be other “offspring” — perhaps some who are still on the side of evil? With set photos teasing at the possible appearances of characters such as Ebony Maw, as well as motion-capture actor Terry Notary’s mysterious role as a “henchman” for Thanos, it’s practically confirmed that the Black Order will be at the Mad Titan’s side in Infinity War.

He broke Captain America’s shield

A close up of Captain America's flag shield

Captain America’s shield | Marvel Studios

In the Marvel world, a substance known as vibranium (which is native to Black Panther’s home country of Wakanda) holds a lot of significance. One of its most notable appearances is as the metal that Cap’s shield is made out of — which, in the comics, Thanos famously destroys.

Though we last saw Cap drop his shield at the feet of Iron Man after defeating his fellow Avenger in Captain America: Civil War, we have a feeling Tony Stark will return it to Steve Rogers in time for them to take on Thanos. But despite Rogers’ golden-boy status, it’s actually Nebula who we’re counting on to save the day in the end, if the source material is to be believed.

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