The Avengers: Infinity War trailer brought the sound and the fury with a first look at Thanos wielding the Infinity Gauntlet and several exciting shots of the Avengers in action, but lost in what seems like a throwaway line may be our first hint at why exactly Thanos is on the quest to gather the Infinity Stones.
In Thanos’ voiceover in the Infinity War trailer, he says that “Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing the universe.” This seems to be Thanos’s goal, to “balance the universe.” But what does that mean?
The answer may actually lie in a line from Thanos’s first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in the post-credits scene to Marvel’s The Avengers. In that scene, The Other tells Thanos that to attempt to invade Earth is “to court death itself,” but courting death may be exactly what Thanos has been doing all along.
The best-known story to feature Thanos is The Infinity Gauntlet, the 1991 Marvel Comics event series by Jim Starlin, George Perez, and Ron Lim. That series is the culmination of events that led to Thanos acquiring all of the Infinity Gems and slotting them into the Infinity Gauntlet, granting him near infinite power.
Thanos achieved this feat in order to impress Mistress Death, the embodiment of death itself in the Marvel Universe whom Thanos had a powerful crush on. In order to show his devotion, Thanos used the power of the Infinity Gauntlet to eliminate half of all sentient life in the entire Marvel Universe.
Is this what Thanos is after? Does he plan to “balance the universe” by eliminating half of the life within it, thus evening the scales between life and death? And is he doing it all to “court death”? It makes a certain sense and could add some depth to Thanos as a villain since this quest would make him the hero of his own story, from a certain sociopath’s point of view.
Avengers: Infinity War opens in theaters on May 4, 2018.
Thor: Ragnarok is now playing in theaters. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include; Black Panther on February 16, 2018, Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6, 2018, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.