- "I present to you, Taneleer Tivan, the Collector!"
Taneleer Tivan, also known as the Collector, is the keeper of the largest collection of interstellar fauna, relics and species in the galaxy, operating from the Knowhere port installation. Through his dealings with Asgardians and the Guardians of the Galaxy, he was in possession of one of the Infinity Stones and was nearly able to obtain a second stone. However, this would prove his undoing, as Thanos attacked his museum seeking the Aether.
The Tivan Group
Building the Collection
Taneleer Tivan, along with the rest of his kind, made his appearance in the Universe shortly after its beginning. Over the course of the centuries, he became the leader of an intergalactic conglomerate known as the Tivan Group. Due to his own complete obsession with collecting different objects and specimens, Tivan was given the title "Collector"; he controls a massive intergalactic trove containing a vast collection of both objects and living specimens.
Collecting Infinity Stones
Meeting the Asgardians
In 2013, two Asgardians, Sif and Volstagg, arrived at Tivan's museum, bringing with them the Infinity Stone known as the Aether, which had been recovered by Thor after his battle against Malekith on Earth. They gave it to him believing that it would be safe from other parties. When Tivan asked why they did not keep the Aether in their own vault on Asgard, they explained that they thought it would not be wise to keep it on Asgard since another stone, the Tesseract, was already on there; a notion that Tivan agreed with.
As Sif and Volstagg left the Aether in Tivan's care, Tivan remarked to his assistant, Carina, that they now had one of the Infinity Stones in their possession, and only needed the remaining five, hinting that Tivan was already seeking the Infinity Stones -- in particular, the Power Stone, which contained another of the Stones. Tivan had learned the location of the Orb and had begun working out a plan to steal it for himself.
Buying the Orb
- "Beautiful, beyond compare."
- ―Taneleer Tivan talks about the Power Stone
In order to obtain the Orb, Tivan hired Gamora, the Zehoberei assassin and adopted daughter of Thanos. Gamora and the outlaws Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot brought the Orb to him. Tivan greeted the group warmly, kissing Gamora's hand, but he was particularly fascinated by Groot, as he had never seen a member of Groot's species before. He offered money for his corpse, although he insisted he'd wait until Groot had died first. Tivan angered Rocket when he asked if Rocket were the group's pet.
Tivan began opening the Orb, and gave the four outlaws a history of the origin of the Infinity Stones, along with showing them video footage of the Power Stone being used to destroy all life on a planet. Once the Orb was fully opened and the Power Stone was revealed to the group, Tivan could not hold back his glee as his hands shook and he remarked how beautiful the stone was. Rocket Raccoon was not impressed and demanded that they get their payment.
However, as Tivan was taking out the agreed-upon payment for the Orb to give them, Carina, intending to use the Stone to free herself from his servitude, grasped it. Unable to contain its power, she was killed as the Stone released a massive pulse of energy, which caused her to explode, and destroyed most of Tivan's archive. While Tivan lay in the wreckage, the Guardians took the Orb and escaped from Knowhere.
Tivan survived the destruction with just a bad hit on the head which needed to be bandaged. Clearly frustrated with the destruction of his collection, he sat in the debris and shared a drink with one of his former exhibits, Howard the Duck. Cosmo also joined them and tried to comfort Tivan by licking his face, an action which was mocked by Howard the Duck.
Confronted by Thanos
- "The Reality Stone. Now."
"I told you, I sold it. Why would I lie?"
"I imagine it’s like breathing for you."
"So you do understand. Not even you would surrender something so precious."
"I didn’t know what it was."
"Then you’re more of a fool than I took you for. Last chance charlatan. Where’s the stone?"
- ―Thanos and the Collector
In his quest for the Infinity Stones, Thanos travelled to Knowhere and acquired the Reality Stone from the Collector. Knowing the Guardians of the Galaxy would follow and needing Gamora to recover the Soul Stone, Thanos used the Reality Stone to bait a trap for them.
The Guardians arrived to an intact, yet abandoned, Knowhere where Thanos was attempting to beat information on the Reality Stone out of the Collector who claimed he had sold the Stone while being ignorant of its true nature. Gamora then leapt at Thanos, the subsequent fighting knocking the Collector into a specimen cage. Once she had killed Thanos, the Collector applauded her victory before the real Thanos revealed himself and dropped the illusion. The illusionary Collector disappeared at the same time, revealing that Knowhere was in flames leaving his true fate unknown.
Throughout the universe, Taneleer Tivan has amassed the largest collection of an interstellar variety, through the use of illegal dealings or other, sometimes immoral means; the contents of the collection, while harmless, is also composed of dangerous, even planetary-destructive relics and unlawfully imprisoned sentient beings, who were either made a part of his collection just to fulfill a desire to have them or as a punishment.
Tivan also has a preoccupation with the Infinity Stones, as evidenced by his expressing a desire to obtain all six of them. Whether he has expressed this desire for megalomaniacal purposes (such as controlling the universe with the combined power of the Stones, similar to the like of Thanos), or simply an extension of Tivan's desire to amass the most powerful objects in the universe for his collection remains to be seen. The way he states this desire, however, after coming into the possession of the Aether just after Sif and Volstagg leave his presence, may imply a sinister design at hand.
Towards clientele or business partners, Tivan has an affable and somewhat gentlemanly side, such as kissing Gamora's hand upon meeting with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Beyond this, he can be just as equally cruel. This is displayed by the relationship he has with his servant, Carina, and her fearful demeanor around his presence. Likely viewing anyone in his servitude as an extension of his own collection, Tivan abused her to the fullest, since he had also imprisoned his previous servant and threatened to do the same to Carina over the slightest hint of disobedience. It was this that drove her to attempt to use the Infinity Stone to break out of Tivan's servitude, which resulted in the Stone killing her and destroying his collection simultaneously.
Nevertheless, Tivan has an honorable side and will follow through on any deal, no matter the price. He seems to respect Groot's species and expressed a desire to buy his corpse, but would only add him to his collection after his death, as opposed to several other living subjects Tivan imprisoned in his collection.
Powers and Abilities
- Superhuman Durabilty: His body is much more resistant to physical harm than the body of a human being. When Carina used the Orb, it released a massive pulse of energy, which caused her to explode, and destroyed most of Tivan's archive. He survived the destruction with just a bad hit on the head which just needed to be bandaged.
- Longevity: The Collector is nearly as old as the Universe itself, due to his kind having appeared shortly after the Universe began.
- Tivan Group
- Sif † - Guest
- Volstagg † - Guest
- Broker - Supplier
- Guardians of the Galaxy - Guests
- Cosmo - Collection Piece
- Howard the Duck - Collection Piece
- In the comics, the Collector is one of the Elders of the Universe, a group which is comprised of the last survivors of extinct races from across the universe, making them the oldest individuals in the comics. He dedicated his life to collect artifacts and living beings to place them out of danger as a goal for his life, as his immortality is directly linked to his will to live. One of these artifacts was the Reality Stone, which he managed to obtain before Thanos took it. In the comics, Collector and Grandmaster are not biological brothers, but they referred to each other as brothers due to their long-lasting relationship.
Behind the Scenes
- Benicio del Toro was uncredited for his appearance in Thor: The Dark World.
- Oliver Gough was a stunt double for Benicio del Toro in the role of the Collector.