MAJOR SPOILERS FOR INFINITY WAR
Avengers: Infinity War built a very compelling and well-rounded — if not utterly insane and slightly contrived — villain in the form of Thanos. Leaving the cinema, I felt the Russo Brothers got a lot right when it came to the introduction of the Mad Titan.
But there was one thing that bugged me.
We never really got a sense of the power behind Thanos. His abilities seemed entirely inconsistent. It was never explained how powerful he really was without the gauntlet on his fist. He’s clearly a threatening being. A powerful and intimidating foe capable of annihilating planets even when not in the possession of any infinity stones, but where does that power end?
Does it end?
Is Thanos Immortal?
Could he actually be killed?
If you read websites like Quora and the MCU wiki, it is suggested that he is indeed unkillable, but after watching the movies, I’m not so sure.
What We Know About Thanos From the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Thanos in Infinity War is a Titan with incredible power, but he does have limits. It is not mentioned what his race could do or what abilities he has, but it is obvious from his cult following and his ability to batter the Hulk that he ain’t nobody to be messed with.
But does that mean Thanos is unkillable?
Ignoring the fact he has universe bending gems attached to his hand for the entire movie, here’s a list of times Thanos is shown to have vulnerabilities that suggest he is not immortal:
- He is stabbed in the neck by Gamora, who seems convinced he’s dead.
- He admits that Nebula nearly killed him when sneaking aboard his ship.
- He is held down and immobilized by the team on Titan.
- He is cut by Iron Man.
- He is shown to be wounded by Stormbreaker.
- He implies Thor could have stopped him by aiming for his head.
Another note to make is that in Guardians of The Galaxy, Rhonin takes control of the power stone. Upon doing so, he threatens to go after Thanos. Rhonin is seemingly aware of Thanos and his abilities, yet believes he is capable of destroying him while in possession of the gem.
Another potential hint that Thanos is not immortal.
What We Know About Thanos’ Immortality From The Comics
If we unpack all of Thanos’ comic book appearances, then we’ll be here all day. But for the sake of his immortality, we’ll take a quick and shallow dive into the universe.
In the comics, Thanos is immortal, but only because he was banished from the realm of death but Death herself. In the movies, this character does not exist, so that’s out.
He has been killed a few times before, of course he has, it’s a comic book universe. He’s also, obviously, be resurrected many times. So in that respect he’s immortal purely because he keeps coming back, but he is killable.
The biggest thing about Thanos to consider from the comics is that he is a Titan, which is part of a race known as the Eternals, this is something that has carried over to the MCU. The fact that he’s a Titan anyway. Because of this we can also assume, given his strength and durability, he is still part of the Eternal race.
According to the official Marvel website — argue with that, nerds — Eternals are virtually invulnerable and have exceptionally long-lifespans.
Keywords here are ‘long’ but not endless, and ‘virtually’ but not completely.
Is Thanos Immortal?
In a scene constructed by Thanos’ power over the reality gem, we do actually see him die. Now, we don’t know if it is possible to simply slice his neck and have him bleed out, or if that was just a construct of the gem, and by the sounds of the comic book iterations that does seem rather unlikely, but the movie does suggest it is possible.
What is more convincing are Thanos’ own words to Thor. Before snapping his fingers, he tells the God of Thunder that he should have taken his head rather than ploughing through his chest. And, and mentioned, by his own admission Nebula nearly killed him, which also seems highly suggestive of the fact he can die.
If you combine that with the core elements of his race as dictated in the comic book world — that those from Titan are long-lived but not completely immortal, and that they are very hard to kill but not invulnerable — and it seems reasonable to be able to say this:
Is Thanos immortal? No. He’s dangerous. He’s incredibly hard-skinned. He’s basically unkillable to anyone living or dust, but not to the point of total indestructibility.
As Loki said, he will never be a god.
I guess a very important point to make, one that I maybe should have opened and closed this article with, is that his entire race died out, which heavily implies that if they can die, so can he.
In the comics, Thanos is not your typical Titan, but the movies seem quite far removed from the exploits put to page. So, it is fairly safe to assume he’s not quite at the same level as his cartoon counterpart. Maybe things will change, but for now, it seems this imposing and deranged Avengers enemy is thoroughly killable.
This begs the question, do you think Thanos will die in Avengers 4? Leave a comment!
Looking for more Marvel stuff? Check out our look at the top-grossing superhero movies of all time (pre-IW).