Within the Marvel comics lore, Thanos lives to appease the hunger of Mistress Death. The living embodiment of the concept of death, Mistress Death — or Lady Death, as she's sometimes called — oftentimes appears over the shoulder of the Mad Titan, approving of his mass slaughterings and razing of entire civilizations. Death is one of the many abstract entities Marvel has introduced over the years and has been so commonplace amongst stories involving Thanos, it's slightly surprising Marvel Studios decided to avoid that plot thread entirely while crafting a story spanning the better part of a decade.
Jim Starlin — the Marvel alumnus who helped create Thanos, Mistress Death, and plenty of others — was aware from the get-go that Kevin Feige and his team at Marvel Studios didn't want to introduce Death or any other of those other abstract entities, say Eternity or Master Order and Lord Chaos, too early within the MCU timeline.
"They told me early on that they didn't feel like abstract entities were something that the movie-going audience was ready for," Starlin tells ComicBook.com. "But with the next Dr. Strange movie, they're stepping into that realm. So if there are more Thanos movies down the line, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Mistress Death showing up there."
Starlin has a point. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is opening up a whole can of worms the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to explore. It seems increasingly likely these abstract entities are something that will pop up on-screen before too long, especially after there was at least one planned sequence in Infinity War involving the Living Tribunal that was cut from the movie.
“So the idea was that [Thanos is] sort of zipping through the universe being presented with all of his many, many crimes. So bodies are being thrown at him, he lands and things turn into bodies, hands are grasping at him, and it’s just really kind of grim,” screenwriter Stephen McFeely said at San Diego Comic-Con last summer.
“And at the end he gets dumped in front of the Living Tribunal who judges him guilty. It was great, it was really... when you introduce the idea of the Living Tribunal, it does open up a whole new era. I don’t know if my grandmother would understand that.”
Avengers: Endgame is now streaming on Disney+.
What other abstract entities would you like to see pop up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!