An Avengers: Infinity War fan theory opines Thanos' (Josh Brolin) act of wiping out fifty percent of life in the universe was not done to save the surviving half, but was an act made out of "spite" to punish the "greedy" and the "selfish."
Reddit user u/thomascgalvin shared the theory on the r/FanTheories subreddit, arguing Thanos, once in possession of the completed Infinity Gauntlet and its six Infinity Stones, could have doubled resources galaxy-wide instead of halving the population.
Thanos tells adopted daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana) his mission was born of "a simple calculus."
"This universe is finite, its resources finite," he said from his throne. "If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correction."
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely addressed doubling resources on the Infinity War commentary track, where McFeely said "it's about free will."
"That doesn't solve their problem. We're just gonna get there millions of years from now," McFeely said. "And this is an opportunity for people to get it right. And he trusts them."
When Thanos suggested eliminating half of the population of homeworld Titan to save it from the brink of extinction, he was dismissed and forced to watch the planet fall into ruin — enforcing his beliefs that murdering fifty percent of life is "a small price to pay for salvation."
"He was told 'no' to an idea that he had that he felt was the only solution," Joe Russo said.
"And then was proved right to himself when that solution was not acted upon. So, his messianic complex — he is now committed to following through on the idea that he had many, many years ago. He's not stable — although he appears stable at times — he's not a stable individual."
McFeely added Thanos is essentially "rebooting" populations across the universe, while the Russos noted Thanos, acting as a messiah, advocates random mass murder — "random" being the key word, leaving individuals' fates up to chance — but the Mad Titan would take issue with genocide, in keeping with his own philosophy.
The Russos previously said Thanos, upon victory, emerges as a "holy warrior," having accomplished a mission that was "not about ego for him."
"He believes that creatures and beings are suffering because of this. So he believes the road for the right way to peace and balance is through eradicating half of all life," Anthony Russo said.
"And he believes that will bring balance and new life and peacefulness and joy to people — and he dedicates himself to that mission. His choices are remarkably focused on that. He's not killing people he doesn't need to kill. He only kills people in furtherance of that goal."
Thanos next returns in Avengers: Endgame, out April 26, 2019.