Though Ebony Maw and the rest of the Black Order were featured characters in the Infinity comics, which helped influence Avengers: Infinity War, Maw actually drew inspiration from another, much older Marvel villain.
If you noticed, at the beginning of Infinity War, Maw delivered one of Mephisto's lines from Jim Starlin's Infinity Gauntlet series. That wasn't just a coincidence.
On the audio commentary for the latest Avengers movie, which just arrived on Digital HD this week, the directors and writers confirm that they drew a lot from Mephisto when creating the live-action version of Ebony Maw. His physical appearance may have been taken from his comic counterpart, but his demeanor and role are a lot more like Marvel's devil than a member of the Black Order.
"Talk about Maw," Joe Russo said on the commentary, "he is inspired a little bit by Mephistopheles from the original Starlin books."
Writer Stephen McFeely confirmed this notion, saying, "Right, we did pull a couple of lines." Joe quickly continued on that point. "There are some directly quoted lines from the book that we put in his mouth."
In the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Mephisto served as Thanos' right-hand-man of sorts, often talking up and praising the Titan. Ebony Maw's line where he tells Thanos "My humble personage bows before your grandeur," is a direct quote from Mephisto in Infinity Gauntlet.
The characters continued on very separate paths, however. Maw met his his demise about halfway through the movie, and he remained loyal to Thanos the entire time. In the comics, Mephisto ended up turning on Thanos, becoming a traitor and exposing a weakness of Thanos.
With his Mephisto inspiration, Ebony Maw had the potential to be one of the most intriguing villains in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his time was cut short. Sadly, we won't get to see what Maw could have become in the franchise going forward, as he was killed in the cold depths of space.0comments
Did you catch the Mephisto references in Avengers: Infinity War? What did you think about Ebony Maw's untimely demise? Let us know in the comments!
Avengers: Infinity War is currently available on Digital HD, and arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on August 14. Avengers 4 is set to hit theaters on May 3, 2019.