Avengers: Endgame brought the saga of Thanos to a definitive close, by having the villain die not once but twice during the course of the film. However, now that the Avengers: Endgame digital release is here, with commentary from the writers and directors, we're learning that one of Thanos' deaths was, in reality, more of an assisted suicide.
Check out what Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and co-director Joe Russo reveal about Thanos' first death in Avengers: Endgame, when Thor decapitates the Mad Titan with his axe, Stormbreaker:
McFeely: "So at one point in the room, everyone's getting real frustrated saying, 'What is the story here?' And I think Trinh Tran, our executive producer just said, 'God I really wish we could just kill him.' And we all went, 'Wait a second. Could you? What does that mean?'" And it sent us down this whole road, where we solve the issue in the first, what, 12 minutes? I don't know when this happens."
Joe: "Yeah, very very quickly, but what's great about it, is that it allows for a very different kind of movie to unfold. One that's reflective and pensive, and character-oriented rather than plot-oriented."
Markus: "And they only accomplish what Thanos lets them accomplish. He has finished his job and he lets them kill him."
Indeed, the Thanos we meet in Avengers: Endgame's opening act a very different from the version of the Mad Titan who invaded Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War. After eliminating half of all life via The Snap, and then snapping the Infinity Stones into cosmic dust, Thanos is left with crippling injuries that would've likely plagued him for the rest his days. More to the point, as Markus points out, Thanos was a fanatic who had one single life goal in mind: balance the universe, no matter the sacrifice - including his own life. It makes sense that The Mad Titan offers no resistance to the Avengers strike force that ambushes him in The Garden - after all, he had fulfilled his life's purpose but that point.
It gets even better when you consider that Avengers: Infinity War set the stage for Thanos' self-sacrifice: after causing The Snap, Thanos encounters the spiritual remnant of Gamora inside the Soul Stone, where the specter asks Thanos what his Infinity Gauntlet victory has cost him. A truly sullen and worn down Thanos replies "everything." It sounded like a psychotic villain's narcissistic lament, in the scene, but given the later events of Endgame, it's clear that "balancing the universe" truly did leave Thanos broken and empty from the effort. 2014 Thanos approached The Snap with a lot more maniacal gusto - but that didn't end very well for him.
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in spring 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.
Buy or Pre-order Avengers: Endgame:
- Buy it digitally on Amazon, Fandango Now, and Vudu (7/30)
- Pre-order on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray at Walmart (8/13)
- Pre-order the Steelbook version at Best Buy (8/13)