Thanos Throughout Three Timelines: The Origins of The Mad Titan
Thanos is by far one of the most dangerous foes in the history of the Avengers. The Mad Titan has played a world-breaking role in the story of many heroes, from the Invincible Iron Man, to Captain Marvel, and even the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl! In some storylines, he is competing against Deadpool for the heart of their lady love, the embodiment of Death itself.
In every timeline, Thanos is a extremely powerful and hyper-intelligent opponent, capable of damage on a universal scale. How did he get to this point? And which origin story will be your favorite?
Invincible Iron Man #155 (1982)
Thanos was born on the moon of Saturn named Titan. He, and all the other Titanians, grew up practically in a utopia. It was a moon populated by the Eternals, a species made to be intelligent and beautiful. They were made by The Celestials, cosmic entities with immense power and the ability to create life.
Thanos was born to mother and father Sui-San and A’Lars, respectively. His brother Eros was an Avenger, and had the ability to persuade others, as well as all of the super enhanced abilities that all Eternals are born with. Eros was the golden child of A’Lars, and always made his family proud. Thanos, on the other hand, was born with Deviant Syndrome, making him dramatically different from the rest of The Eternals. As a deviant, his skin was purple and covered in ridges.
As The Mad Titan grew older, he became fascinated by Death, and even met the physical embodiment of Death in an ancient temple. It was there that he fell in love with Death. Hoping to prove his love and win Death’s favor, he planned to annihilate all life in the Universe. While Thanos had all of the same powers of the Eternals, his were augmented and strange due to his mutation. He was stronger and smarter than all of the other Eternals. In this timeline he tirelessly searches for powerful artifacts to help him destroy all life in the known universe, all for love.
Thanos Rising (2013)
Thanos is born on one of Saturn’s moon Titan, to mother and father Sui-San and A’Lars, respectively. His mother, upon seeing him, is immediately terrified, and hears horrifying whispers in her head. She planned to name him Dione, but the voices scream only Thanos. She can’t process his deviant mutation, and struggles with the voices in her head, seeing a future where this baby grows into the Mad Titan. Seeing all of the pain that her boy will cause, she immediately tries to kill him. He is saved, and she is locked away in an insane asylum.
Thanos grows up to be hyper-intelligent, and a popular person amongst his peers. He becomes close friends with many of them, including a young mysterious girl. This girl, with piercing green eyes, constantly suggests extreme action. When Thanos wants to play with his friends, she suggests they go to a dangerous and secretive cave, where all of his friends die when wild reptilians trap and eat them. When Thanos wants to avoid even dissecting those reptiles, this mysterious girl inspires him to go seek revenge and kill all of the reptiles that killed his friends. Thanos begins to lust for blood, and begins kidnapping, dissecting, and murdering people to figure out his own deformity. He sees his actions only as science, and yet all of citizens of Titan are alarmed, because there had never been murder on Titan before.
With his rage, his lust for this mysterious girl heightens. He admits that he loves her, and she denies his love, calling him weak for taking so long to admit his true feelings. At his lowest, he searches for meaning and love by dissecting his own mother, searching throughout the galaxy to find new lovers, and having children with nearly all of them, in the hopes that he would feel that love he once wanted.
Eventually, Thanos circles back to his home planet, and to this mysterious girl, who reveals herself to be Death. And as before, she rejects his love, saying that she won’t accept him until she knows that he will only love her. And so he kills for her. He kills to find love.
Thanos: Titan Consumed (2018)
Thanos is born to mother and father Sui-San and A’Lars, respectively. He is purple, which is the ceremonial color of death, and causes great fear amongst all of his peers. His mother fears him, and father pays him no mind. All he wants is love, and to help the people closest to him. Thanos loves them unconditionally, and works as a scientist to help their planet.
In time, he discovers that his planet is in grave danger. Titan is running out of resources, and he wants to save the people of Titan, so he suggests choosing half of the population randomly to die, and preserve the resources for the rest of the world. Naturally, he is seen as insane, and exiled.
For years, he travels on a slave vessel, slowly rising through the ranks and eventually controlling the ship. He learns that “His Lordship”, the man who once controlled the slave ship, has been chasing after a powerful artifact in Asgard. When Thanos himself traveled to Asgard to acquire this artifact, he and his ship were terribly defeated transported to the home world of the Chitauri after falling through a wormhole.
And so, Thanos amasses an army of Chitauri, and eventually meets their ruler, The Other. The Other pledges to help Thanos and lend him the Chitauri forces so that Thanos can accomplish all that he desires, and so that the Chitauri can one day have a new home.
Thanos plans to help each planet he crosses the same way he hoped to help his: wiping out their population so that their resources may be saved for the future. His murderous rampage left worlds devastated, and on occasion, left him with a few left-behind warriors, from Ebony Maw to Gamora. Even with strong followers and an army behind him, he realizes that the universe is too large to accomplish his goal with brute strength alone.
The Other teaches him of the Infinity Stones, and even helps him find the Mind Stone. With the Mind Stone, he begins his quest to find the rest of the Infinity Stones, and save the universe from itself.
BONUS: Marvel Cinematic Universe (2018)
Originally, it was assumed that Thanos: Titan Consumed was the origin story for the Marvel Cinematic Universe Thanos, but it eventually was made clear that they are separate, and that the novel is not considered film canon. Even still, Thanos’ origin in the MCU is particularly similar. Thanos grew up on a planet doomed by its own overpopulation. He wanted to save it, and they refused to listen to him. The only thing that he believes will save every planet is to cut their population in half, so that the limited resources of the planet can support the diminished populace.
Thanos believes himself to be inevitable. He succeeds in his goal in Avengers: Infinity War using the Infinity Stones to snap away half of all living beings in the known universe. The Avengers killed Thanos only after he had used the stones to destroy the stones.
Then, after the discovery of time travel and the crossing of numerous MCU timelines, the Avengers then defeated him in Avengers: Endgame. Despite this, there are still questions about his timeline.
Did the snap ever truly happen? Can it happen again? And will his origin change again because of the timeline change?
Which is your favorite Thanos origin story? Take our poll below and let us know your thoughts!
Which Thanos origin is your favorite?
Original Comic Book Origin
Thanos: Titan Consumed
Marvel Cinematic Universe Origin