- "You needn't have come so far Asgardian, death would have come to you soon enough."
"Not by your hand!"
"Your universe was never meant to be. Your world and your family will be extinguished!"
- ―Malekith and Thor
Malekith (Mälekith in Shiväisith) was the utterly cruel and malevolent leader of the Dark Elves, a race of beings said to be older than the universe itself. Born in a realm of complete darkness, Malekith led his people in a War against the Asgardians, using an ancient weapon known as the Aether, but they were thought to have been destroyed thousands of years ago during a final battle against the Asgardian King Bor. Malekith had survived, however, and after going into hiding for thousands of years, he returned during the next Convergence and sought to retake the Aether and use its power to transform the universe by plunging it back into eternal darkness. Before his attempt could succeed, however, Malekith and his armies were finally defeated by Bor's grandson, Thor, in the Battle of Greenwich, resulting in the death of Malekith.
Using the Aether
- "Long before the birth of light there was darkness, and from that darkness came the Dark Elves. Millennia ago the most ruthless of their kind, Malekith, sought to transform our universe back into one of eternal night. Such evil was possible through the power of the Aether, an ancient force of infinite destruction."
Born on Svartalfheim, Malekith was a cruel and warmongering leader of the Dark Elves. Although all of Malekith's soldiers expressed blind loyalty to their leader and he became worshiped as a god-like figure to the Dark Elves, Malekith's desire to restore the universe to a state of eternal darkness put him in conflict with the forces of Asgard and their King Bor who had sworn to protect all of the Nine Realms from any threats, including the Dark Elves.
- "Through their sacrifice we will survive. It will not be in vain."
- ―Malekith to Algrim
Thousands of years ago, Malekith waited for the beginning of the long awaited Convergence, gathering his army in an attempt to harness the power of the Aether, one of the six Infinity Stones that predated the universe itself, and use its destructive power to plunge all of the Nine Realms into eternal darkness where all the Dark Elves could take complete control and rule the universe. When the Convergence began, Malekith put his plan into motion and went to get the Aether.
However, the plot was intercepted by the Asgardians who arrived on Svartalfheim to defeat the Dark Elves, leading to a large scale battle. Watching the battle beside Algrim, Malekith ordered his own soldiers to use the Kurse Stones to give themselves enhanced strength, while he moved to absorb the Aether into his own body in order to gain the ability to unleash it's power upon the Nine Realms and finally gain his greatest victory over the Asgardians.
Mere moments before Malekith was going to touch the Aether, more Asgardian forces, led by King Bor, managed to use the Bifrost Bridge and steal the Aether from the Dark Elves, ending Malekith's War. In response to the defeat, Malekith sacrificed the majority of his people, including his own wife and son, in an attempt to wipe out all the Asgardian invaders, putting himself, his second in command Algrim and a few survivors into hibernation until the next Convergence.
The Aether's Return
Thousands of years since the First Battle of Svartalfheim, during which time King Bor had died while Asgard and all the Nine Realms were currently being ruled by his son Odin, the vengeful Malekith was still in his long hyper-sleep, awaiting the chance to gain his revenge. He was onboard the Ark as he was suddenly and unexpectedly awoken as power was returned across the Ark. He then began searching for the reason for his awakening.
As Malekith and his remaining army began exploring the Ark, Malekith realized the reason was because the Aether had been discovered when it was accidentally absorbed into the body of a human woman named Jane Foster, signalling the beginning of the Convergence. The Aether's reactivity allowed Malekith to sense its location as he called upon all his army to prepare for their next war against Asgard to finally reclaim their greatest weapon.
Malekith first traveled back to his home world of Svartalfheim, which had been all but destroyed during the great war between the Dark Elves and Asgardian Army, with hundreds of Arks littered across the burnt wasteland. Algrim attempted to comfort Malekith by reminding him of all the Dark Elves still alive due to his actions, Malekith swore to avenge his fallen brothers by reclaiming the Aether and using its immense power to destroy Asgard and the universe.
Malekith and the Dark Elves started searching for the Aether across all of the Nine Realms, eventually discovering that Jane Foster had been transported from Earth to Asgard in order to have the Aether removed from her body as its incredible power was slowly killing her. Knowing that the Asgardians would defend Foster and would stand a chance at defeating them in combat, Malekith devised a new plan to regain the Aether by tricking all of the armies of Asgard.
Malekith sent his lieutenant Algrim into the city under the guise of a prisoner captured in the Marauders' War which was still raging on. As part of a ritual action, Malekith stabbed Algrim in the stomach and then stored a Kursed Stone inside Algrim's gut which would make him indestructible and allow him to destroy Asgard's defences from the inside, allowing their Dark Elf Harrows to attack the Asgardian Palace with the force they needed to defeat the armies.
Malekith sent his Dark Elf Harrows to fly into Asgard and invade the city. While Algrim used the Kursed Stone to transform himself into a Kursed and freed the inmates, including Lorelei, he managed to lower Asgard's defences. Malekith's own ship crashed into the city and his soldiers attacked the guards. While the Dark Elves held back the Asgardian Soldiers, Malekith calmly walked through the room, ignoring the battle and destroyed Odin's throne with a Black Hole Grenade.
While his army of Dark Elves continued to battle the Asgardians inside and outside the city walls, Malekith went to the palace room, where he found Queen Frigga protecting Jane Foster from harm. As Frigga demanded that he leave under the promise that if he did he would survive the battle, Malekith introduced himself to the pair and demanded that they hand over the Aether to him, claiming that it belonged to him and that he had survived worse battles.
When Malekith attempted to capture Foster and regain his ultimate weapon, Frigga defended her by attacking Malekith with her sword. The pair engaged in a brief but vicious sword-fight with Frigga putting all her might and skill into defending the young human from the Dark Elf. Taken off guard by Frigga's fighting ability, Malekith was disarmed and defeated in single combat with the Asgardian Queen, with Frigga ending the fight by threatening to cut his throat.
As Frigga held her blade to Malekith's throat, the Dark Elf remained confident as moments later, Kurse arrived and restrained Frigga, disarming her and using his unbeatable strength to hold her back. With his enemies seemingly defeated, Malekith confidently went to grab Foster and reclaim the Aether, only to discover that she was an illusion created by Frigga's magic and the true Foster was hidden safely away in another room of the palace.
Malekith called Frigga a witch and demanded to know where the Aether was. Realizing that Frigga would not talk, Malekith allowed Kurse to kill her by stabbing her through the heart. Thor, witnessing the death of his beloved mother, angrily struck Malekith's face with lightning, leaving a permanent burn on the right side of his face. Kurse carried his injured master and together they jumped on board a Dark Elf Harrow and escaped to their Ark before Thor and Odin could destroy them in revenge.
- "We must strike now."
"No, Asgard is meaningless. The Aether has found its way home."
- ―Algrim and Malekith
Malekith was taken back to the Ark where his injuries were treated while his Dark Elf forces prepared to attack Asgard again and reclaim their greatest weapon. Kurse checked on his leader's recovery and insisted that they must attack Asgard again while the Asgardian Army were still weak after the last battle and their defences were low, however Malekith sensed that Thor and Loki had chosen to disobey Odin's orders and decided instead to move Jane Foster to Svartalfheim in order to draw Malekith out. Seeing this chance, Malekith ordered his soldiers to return to their home world.
Malekith witnessed the Asgardian's arrival on their home world and was surprised when Loki suddenly betrayed his brother by seemingly stabbing him in the side before kicking him off the side of the cliff and cutting off his hand, surrendering Foster to the Dark Elves. Loki then told Malekith that all he wanted in exchange for his partnership was a seat from where he could watch Asgard burn as he claimed to only want to see Thor and Odin lying dead at his feet.
While Malekith considered the offer, Kurse recognized Loki as a fellow prisoner within the Asgardian Dungeons who he had seen during his breakout in the chaos of the Sacking of Asgard, confirming this to his superior. Malekith took Kurse's word and mocked Thor as he lay moaning in pain on the ground, kicking him onto his back. As the Dark Elf extracted the Aether from Foster, it was revealed that Loki cutting off his brother's hand was actually an illusion.Summoning his hammer, Mjølnir, Thor attempted to destroy the Aether while Loki protected Foster, only for the Aether to reconstitute itself almost instantly. Malekith explained that the Aether could not be destroyed and absorbed it, leaving his Dark Elves and Kurse to deal with his two Asgardian opponents. Malekith then made his way to Earth, where he would unleash the Aether into the Convergence and then finally obliterate the Nine Realms.
- "Darkness returns Asgardian, have you come to witness to end of your universe?"
"I've come to accept your surrender."
- ―Malekith and Thor
Arriving on Earth onboard the Ark, Malekith and his forces marched onto the ground of London where dozens of innocent bystanders ran in fear, including Darcy Lewis and Ian Boothby. Malekith looked up where he witnessed portals in the sky opening up as the Convergence began, signally the beginning of the end of the Nine Realms.
Before Malekith could begin unleashing his weapon, they were soon confronted once again by Thor, who had survived his battle with Kurse, although Loki had seemingly been killed along with Kurse. With the Aether enhancing his power and abilities, Malekith battled Thor, absorbing the power of his lightning and throwing him through the air with great force. Their fight quickly led to them being thrown through various portals left by the Convergence.
Their strength was equal, finding that neither could overpower the other as they were teleported over the Nine Realms, taking them to Svartalfheim where Thor lost Mjølnir through a portal, leaving him nearly defenceless. Malekith used this to his advantage as he hit him with a blast of power from the Aether while beating him to the ground before they fell through more portal. While on Jotunheim they were almost killed by a Jotunheim Beast before escaping.
Unleashing the Aether
Eventually, the two were teleported away from each other as Thor was thrown miles across London without Mjølnir to help him get back. Seeing that he had landed just beside the Ark with the Convergence in full effect, Malkeith used the opportunity to begin unleashing the Aether's power upon the Nine Realms, sucking all the light out of the Realms and causing horrific devastation upon his enemies. Malekith made a huge burning cloud with the Aether's power which ripped apart everything near it's range.
Thor returned and confronted Malekith, who casually asked if he wanted to see the end of the universe. Thor defiantly demanded his surrender as he threw a teleportation device Erik Selvig had created at him, before the device activated and teleported his right arm through a portal. Thor then threw the second device, which then teleported his remaining arm away. The Dark Elf arrogantly dismissed Thor's efforts, declaring that the Aether cannot be destroyed.
Thor declared that he can at least destroy him as he summoned Mjølnir and slammed the last teleportation device into Malekith's chest, sending him crashing into the Ark. Subsequently, Jane Foster activated the device, sending him to Svartalfheim. Malekith fell on his back, weakened by the battle, moments later, Selvig used another device to teleport Malekith's Ark to the Dark Elf's location and he was subsequently crushed and killed by the ship's bulk.
- "Through their sacrifice we will survive. It will not be in vain."
Since the war against the Dark Elves and Asgardians that ended in his species complete annihilation and the Aether being stolen from him, Malekith grew a hateful personality in his exile and was deeply embittered by the losses he faced. After this Malekith not only sought the destruction of Asgard with the reclaimed Aether but the entire universe. Stated by Odin to be the most ruthless of his species, Malekith cares deeply about the survival of the Dark Elves as he looked saddened whilst overviewing the wasteland of Svartalfheim and the destroyed ships and corpses of his fallen brothers. In truth, Malekith would sacrifice his own men if it were to help in achieving his goals, in a final slight to make sure the Asgardians suffered as much as they did, destroyed his ships with countless Dark Elves still within and the collective damage on the surface of the planet, culminated in Malekith destroying more of his species than the Asgardians did. He also Kursed his second-in-command, Algrim.
Powers and Abilities
Malekith has mastery over the Aether Reality Stone, and appears to be one of the most powerful beings in the Nine Realms. He is able to match Thor with the power of the Aether, if not slightly surpass him.
- Dark Elf Physiology: Malekith possesses various superhuman attributes, some of which are common to his infamous race, the Dark Elves.
- Superhuman Strength: Malekith, like all Dark Elves, possesses superhuman strength. Ordinarily, Malekith possesses sufficient strength to overpower weaker beings without supplementing his strength with his other powers. However, while using the Aether, he is able to increase his strength to immense superhuman levels, up to the point where he can match Thor's incredible strength blow for blow with his bare hands, even with Thor wielding Mjølnir.
- Superhuman Durability: Malekith's body is extremely durable, much more resistant to physical injury than the body of a human. Malekith has withstood exposure to the temperature and pressure extremes of Jotunheim, falls from great heights, powerful energy blasts, and even numerous, mighty blows from Thor wielding Mjølnir, all without sustaining any permanent injuries. Though a powerful lighting blast from Mjølnir did blacken the right side of Malekith's face, he was not affected much besides that. Additionally, Malekith was one of the extremely few beings powerful enough to withstand and wield the power of an Infinity Stone. However, Malekith's durability still had its limits - as Thor was able to sever both of the Dark Elf's arms by having them teleported back to Svartalfheim, and succeeded in smashing the last teleportation device into Malekith's chest with Mjølnir. The malevolent Dark Elf was finally killed when his massive Ark collapsed on top of him, crushing Malekith.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: In spite of his body's increased durability, it is possible to injure Malekith, such as when a powerful lighting blast from Mjølnir blackened the right side of his face, though he wasn't affected much besides that. Malekith's metabolism enables him to repair damaged bodily tissues much faster and more extensively than a human is capable of. He is shown healing in stasis pods on board his ship. However, without the Aether, he was unable to regenerate damaged wounds or severed limbs.
- Expert Combatant: Malekith is an extremely skilled warrior in both armed and hand-to-hand combat, shown when he quickly and effortlessly took out three armed Einherjar with only his dagger. After fusing with the Aether, Malekith's skill allowed him to go toe-to-toe with Thor, the most powerful and skilled warrior in Asgard, though he was ultimately defeated by the latter after a prolonged battle.
- Expert Tactician: Malekith lead the Dark Elves against Asgard for many years. When facing defeat against Bor and the armies of Asgard, Malekith sacrificed most of his own people and ships to decimate the Asgardian army.
- Multilingualism: Malekith fluently speaks his native Shiväisith, as well as Midgard English.
- "Malekith made a weapon out of that darkness, it was called the Aether. While the other relics often appeared as stones, the Aether is fluid and ever changing. It changes matter into dark matter and seeks out to host bodies, drawing strength from their life force. Malekith sought to use the Aether’s power to return the universe to one of darkness."
- Aether: Malekith is the only one known to effectively use it in combat. The Aether's primary function is to alter reality to fit the user's desires. This is seen when Malekith used the Aether to corrode matter into dark matter and then unleash it on the entire universe. The Aether can also be weaponized into tendrils that shoot out from its wielder. While utilizing the Aether, Malekith can regenerate lost limbs within a few minutes, as seen when Thor severed both of his limbs & some of his arms have already been regenerated.
- Dagger: Malekith wields an ancient dagger forged of Dark Matter that predates our own universe. The merciless leader of the Dark Elves used this blade during the Asgardian invasion of Svartalfheim and during his siege on Asgard. It was Frigga, mother to Thor and Loki, wife of Odin and queen of Asgard, who wrestled this blade from Malekith’s grasp.
- Black Hole Grenade: A key weapon of the Dark Elves, Malekith's army were the main users of this powerful and destructive weapon. Malekith himself took a grenade from one of his own soldiers and used it to destroy Odin's throne during the Sacking of Asgard.
- Jane Foster
- Loki †
- Erik Selvig - Unintentional Killer
- Darcy Lewis
- Ian Boothby
- In the comics, Malekith has the dark side of his face on the left instead of the right.
- In a non-canon story in the Captain America & Thor: Avengers! comic, Malekith is the royal mage of Queen Alflyse of Svartalfheim.
Behind the Scenes
- Mads Mikkelsen was considered for the role of the Dark Elf, but he dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. He was eventually cast as Kaecilius in Doctor Strange.
- Christopher Eccleston revealed in an interview with Graham Norton that he did not enjoy playing Malekith due to the excessive amount of prosthetics he had to wear and most of the character's backstory and motivations being cut out, and admitted that he only accepted the role for the money.
- Vladimir 'Furdo' Furdik and Philip J. Silvera were stunt doubles for Christopher Eccleston in the role of Malekith.
- Jason Horwood was a stand-in for Christopher Eccleston in the role of Malekith.