"In time, you will know what it's like to lose. To feel so desperately that you're right, yet to fail all the same. Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives."

Thanos, referred to as the Dark Lord by his most loyal underlings and the Mad Titan by the galactic community, is a powerful Titan warlord who rules over a distant region of space and also commands two massive armies known as the Chitauri and the Outriders. His own main objective is to obtain the Infinity Stones, and his desire to achieve this goal is what led him to forge deals with Loki and Ronan the Accuser in their respective campaigns against Earth and Xandar, as seen in his promising to aid them in exchange for an Infinity Stone. Both of these new alliances cost Thanos much of his resources, including one of the stones and the loyalty of his two daughters, Gamora and Nebula, and inadvertently resulted in the formation of the two superhero groups: the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Fed up with these failures of his servants, Thanos has opted to seek out the six Infinity Stones himself.[1]


Early Life

Fall of Titan

Thanos is a member of the Titans, a race of powerful, god-like beings that evolved on a planet with which they shared their name. Thanos was born misshapen, bearing a physical mutation that left him marked as an anomaly amongst his people, and therefore left him an outcast. Despite his status, Thanos sought to save Titan when the planet became threatened by an immanent catastrophic event. His idea, however, was considered too drastic and was dismissed by his people, which resulted in Titan becoming subsequently devastated as well as nearly uninhabitable. Another result of this devastation was that the Titan species was on the verge of extinction.[2]

Quest for the Infinity Stones

Training his Daughters

"Flesh is weak. Weakness must be cast aside for the sake of power."

Sometime after Titan's fall, Thanos became one of the most powerful and feared warlords ruling over a distinct region of space,[3] having gained control over the deadly army of the Chitauri,[4] and eliminated the Zehoberei race as well as a Luphomoid family to raise two young women from both races, Gamora and Nebula, to be devoted and deadly assassins.[5] Usually when Nebula lost in a duel against Gamora, Thanos removed a body part from her.[6]

Thanos greatly desired the Infinity Stones, objects of immense power that held considerable dominance over the various forces that occupied the universe,[3] and forged several alliances in order to locate them.[4][3] He successfully located at least one of the stones; the Mind Stone, which he then hid inside a Scepter that was capable of manipulating minds.[4][7]

Through many years of searching, Thanos discovered a lead on the Orb's location, sending Nebula and Gamora to the Cloud Tombs of Praxius under the command of his ally, the Kree soldier Korath the Pursuer. Nebula fell victim to a trap during the mission, and Thanos, not one to tolerate failure, forbade Gamora from rescuing her. Nebula was forced to amputate her own arm in order to escape. The Orb was never recovered, but Thanos let the failure pass and resumed his search.[5]

Aiding Loki

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Thanos is updated on Loki's invasion of Earth

"The Tesseract has awakened. It is on a little world, a human world. They would wield its power, but our ally knows its workings as they never will. He is ready to lead, and our force, our Chitauri, will follow. The world will be his, the universe will be yours. And the humans, what can they do, but burn?"
The Other to Thanos[src]

Thanos discovered that the Tesseract was on Earth and allied himself with Loki in order to retrieve it, providing him the Scepter and his Chitauri army, who would help him conquer the entire planet in exchange for handing over the Tesseract to him. Through his intermediary, The Other, Thanos threatened the Asgardian god of mischief, saying that if he failed in delivering the Tesseract to him, Thanos would force him to endure a new kind of horrific suffering.


Thanos sees an opportunity to court Death

Despite his vast army of the Chitauri and powerful weapons, Loki was quickly defeated during the Battle of New York,[4] while the Scepter-laden Infinity Stone came into HYDRA's hands,[8] while the Tesseract was transported to Asgard by Thor, along with the now captured Loki.[4] The Other reported to his master, who has his back turned, that the Earth's inhabitants were not as weak as they were thought to be. He also declared that challenging the Earth's heroes would be to court Death. Thanos rose to his feet, turned around and smiled at the prospect of what was coming.[9]

Quest for the Orb


Ronan and Nebula gather at Thanos' throne.

"Your politics bore me. Your demeanor is that of a pouty child. And apparently, you alienated my favorite daughter, Gamora. I shall honor our agreement, Kree, if you bring me the Orb. But return to me again empty handed and I will bathe the starways in your blood."
―Thanos to Ronan the Accuser[src]

Some time later, Thanos brokered a deal with his old ally, Ronan the Accuser of the Kree Empire, promising to lend a fraction of his forces in a genocide against the Xandarians in exchange for locating the Orb for the Mad Titan. Ronan and Korath the Pursuer quickly discovered the Orb on Morag and attempted to deliver it to Thanos, but the stone fell into the possession of a Ravager called Star-Lord who was trying to sell it to Broker before Ronan could claim it.


Thanos threatens Ronan the Accuser's life

Unwilling to be denied the stone, Thanos ordered Ronan to pursue Quill and recover the stone, sending Gamora to aid the Kree in his pursuit. Gamora found Quill first, cornering him on Xandar where he was attempting to sell the Orb. She recovered it, but what Thanos did not realize is that Gamora had chosen to cut all ties with him, due to the torture she and her many siblings have suffered through from the Mad Titan, and planned to hand the Orb over to the Collector, who also sought the Infinity Stones for his own purposes.

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Thanos sends away Ronan the Accuser

When Ronan relayed news of Gamora's betrayal to Thanos which he had learned had been planned for some time, the Kree berated the Mad Titan for not taking the situation seriously and even murdered The Other when he lectured Ronan on not showing Thanos respect. Undaunted by The Other's death and Ronan's complaints, Thanos turned Ronan away, instructing him to return to his task and correct Gamora's betrayal, which he was only slightly irked by. Thanos then instructed Nebula to take Gamora's place as Ronan's aide.[3]

Betrayed by Ronan the Accuser

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Thanos learns Ronan has found the Orb

"BOY! I would reconsider your current course!"
"YOU CALL ME "BOY"?! I will unfurl one thousand years of Kree justice on Xandar AND BURN IT TO ITS CORE!! Then, Thanos, I'm coming for you!"
―Thanos and Ronan the Accuser[src]

Ronan the Accuser and Nebula both eventually stole the Orb from the Guardians of the Galaxy, but when Thanos was contacted by Ronan to be updated on their progress, he was furious to discover that the Kree, having experienced the true power of the Orb, intended on keeping the Infinity Stone for himself, despite Korath the Pursuer noting Thanos was the most powerful being in the universe.


Thanos is betrayed by Ronan the Accuser

Nebula joined with Ronan, contemptuous towards Thanos after the horror he forced her to endure throughout her youth. Now believing himself superior to Thanos, Ronan promised to come after the Dark Lord when Xandar was destroyed. Unphased, Thanos cut contact with them without a word. Ronan would eventually lose his life at the hands of the Guardians of the Galaxy, who gave the Orb to the Nova Corps, making yet another Infinity Stone lost to Thanos.[3]

Coming Out in the Open

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Thanos retrieves an Infinity Gauntlet

"Fine. I'll do it myself."

With both Loki and Ronan the Accuser having failed Thanos in their tasks of conquering worlds and bringing him the Infinity Stones, and both of his daughters lost to him, Thanos had finally grown tired with the lack of progress in his crusade and decided to take matters into his own hands. Thanos retrieved the Infinity Gauntlet and began to hunt for the Infinity Stones himself, believing himself to be capable of completing the task while smiling confidently to himself at the prospect of victory.[10]

With his ship, the Sanctuary II,[11] Thanos tracked down the ship carrying the Asgardian survivors of the cataclysmic Ragnarök on their way to Earth, Loki and his brother Thor among them.[12]


"Fun isn't something one considers when balancing the universe. But this... does put a smile on my face."

Thanos is nothing more than the ultimate personification of sadism, cruelty, megalomania, infinite destruction, death, power and madness as shown by his searching for the Infinity Stones with the apparent goal of controlling all of existence. He desired to use the Tesseract to look beyond the known worlds to find greater ones that it would unveil. He is also relentless as seen by his finding children that he can raise to be assassins while forcing them to watch as he murders their families, with Ronan the Accuser showing visible signs of fear in his presence and Loki doing so at the mere mention of him, as well as being able to command the Chitauri and Outrider armies unchallenged.

He has an unforgiving nature; The Other warned Loki that he would know a new kind of pain if he did not give them the Tesseract, Thanos threatened to bathe the starways in Ronan's blood if he failed to deliver the Orb and forbade Gamora from rescuing Nebula when the latter fell into a trap whilst on a mission in the Cloud Tombs of Praxius. He has little to no regard for his followers, showing absolutely no empathy when Ronan killed The Other and referring to Gamora as his "favorite daughter", even with Nebula present.

He inspires no love, as he is despised by his own "daughters", Gamora and Nebula. Raising them in a brutal way, Thanos would pit them against each other in the hope that Nebula would beat Gamora; however, when Nebula lost, he would remove parts of her in order to make her stronger, taking her apart piece by piece and replacing her with artificial limbs and organs so she would be able to defeat her sister. He is also manipulative and mistrustful, sending Ronan to retrieve the Orb for him and not telling him that it contained an Infinity Stone. He keeps a low profile, lurking in the shadows and making others do his work for him. However, after both of his alliances backfired, he decided to hunt for the Infinity Stones himself.

He is also highly confident, to the point of borderline arrogance, as he was shown to be smiling when The Other told him challenging the Avengers would be like courting Death. He also smiled confidently after deciding to hunt for the Infinity Stones himself.

Despite his malicious and dark nature, Thanos believes that he was born for only one destiny: to save the universe from itself. He speaks of wanting to wipe out half of the universe to crete a balance, even stating that half of humanity will be spared from destruction. [13]

Powers and Abilities

"Master, you cannot! Thanos is the most powerful being in the universe!"
Korath to Ronan[src]


Thanos has not yet demonstrated any of his powers at this point. However, it is conceivable that he is terrifyingly powerful, as he is able to easily intimidate an Asgardian like Loki and a Kree like Ronan the Accuser, while ruling the Chitauri army unchallenged. When Ronan the Accuser was about to betray Thanos and use the Orb for himself, his servant, Korath fearfully stated that Thanos is the most powerful being in the universe. Ronan, however, ignored Korath's advice and was confident that he could kill Thanos with the power of the Orb. Nevertheless, Thanos displayed no signs of concern after Ronan threatened him. When Nebula told Gamora of her plans to kill Thanos, she plainly told her that she doesn't know if that's possible. Thanos is also one of the few beings who can easily handle the power of the Infinity Stones, which speaks for his immense power. He holds this much power and reputation even without possessing the Infinity Stones; according to Nebula and Gamora, he would be capable of "[wiping] out half the universe" almost effortlessly if he were to obtain all six of them.

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Thanos crushing the Tesseract

  • Superhuman Strength: Thanos has displayed incalculable levels of superhuman strength, as he is easily strong enough to crush the Tesseract with just a single hand to retrieve the Space Stone and could effortlessly physically overpower, restrain, and knock down other beings with high superhuman strength, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man wearing his Mark XLVIII, Captain America and even Thor with his full powers unlocked. His strength also contributed in his ability to wield the Infinity Stones easily without any harm done to him.
  • Superhuman Durability: Thanos's physical constitution possess tremendously high levels of resilience and durability, rendering him capable of easily handling the Infinity Stones with the Infinity Gauntlet without any strain or harm done to himself, a feat that very few, such as the Celestials, have been seen capable of.


  • Master Manipulator: Without leaving his throne, Thanos ultimately caused both the Chitauri Invasion and the Battle of Xandar. As Thor noted, Thanos has effectively manipulated the Avengers for his own goals.
  • Master Intimidator: Due to his tremendous power, he can easily strike fear into the hearts of people. His intimidation even reaches the hearts of powerful beings such as the Asgardian Loki or the enhanced Ronan the Accuser. Despite never have heard of him or who he is, Tony Stark even fears his coming to Earth.



Infinity War Teaser

Thanos wielding the Infinity Gauntlet.

Other Equipment






Appearances for Thanos

In chronological order:


  • In the comics, Thanos was a member of the Eternals, a race of superpowered beings that descended from a caste of humans genetically enhanced by the Celestials. Thanos himself was the son of Mentor, the leader of an Eternal colony on Saturn's moon of Titan. Much of Thanos' villainous motivations in the comics revolve around his romantic feelings for the entity Death. In the famous Infinity Gauntlet storyline, he became the master of the Infinity Gauntlet, which he used to murder most of the universe's inhabitants in an attempt to impress Death. He is one of the Avengers most historical foes, but when he took a break from being a conqueror, Thanos was entrusted with the Reality Gem of the Infinity Gems.
  • The name "Thanos" is based on the name of the mythological Greek figure Thanatos, meaning "death".

Behind the Scenes


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The Marvel Cinematic Universe wiki has a collection of images and media related to Thanos.
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