GALAXY GUIDE #11: Thanos' Greatest Schemes


It seems almost a certainty now that Thanos, the Mad Titan, will be the central villain of the forthcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie, having shown up in the post-credits scene of the "Avengers" film, and having been repeatedly teased by those involved with the Marvel films. But thus far, those in the know have been tight-lipped about what his role might be in the film’s story, with only a possible logline being leaked, which refers to the film’s potential MacGuffin as “something everyone wants.” Thanos has sought a number of items that would fit that description in his time, and the schemes he has employed to obtain those objects have ranged from the byzantine to the horrific.

Given that, this week we’re going to take a look at the most notable of his twisted plans, any of which could well factor into the Guardians film.

The Cosmic Cube

The Cosmic Cube has already shown up in the "Avengers" film, where Thanos was manipulating Loki to steal it for his own ends, so it seems unlikely that the "Guardians" film would feature a Cosmic Cube redux. But Thanos’ ties to the Cosmic Cube date back to his 1973 debut storyline by writer/artist Jim Starlin, which began in Iron Man #55, and continued through Captain Marvel #25-33. Thanos sought the Cube to become nothing less than God, and nearly achieved his goal, were it not for the timely intervention of Captain Marvel and the Avengers.

Extinguishing The Stars

Thanos was thought dead after his first attempt at godhood, but in reality had failsafes in place to whisk him away at the last moment, leaving him free to plan his next scheme. Posing as an ally to the cosmic wanderer Warlock, against Warlock’s evil half the Magus, Thanos was in fact playing the long game. He sought to obtain Warlock’s soul gem, alongside five other similar gems, which he would use to extinguish every star in the universe, snuffing out all life in the ultimate act of nihilism. Once again the Avengers, this time with the aid of Warlock, were on hand to stop him, though at the cost of Warlock’s life. Thanos would pay the price for his mad designs as well, however, when Warlock’s spirit returned to wreak vengeance, and transformed the villain into immobile stone.

The Infinity Gauntlet

Now banished to the realm of his paramour Death, Thanos was tasked by Death with restoring a perceived imbalance in the cosmos; the fact that more beings were alive across the universe than had ever died. But Thanos was not satisfied with merely carrying out Death’s wishes; he sought to become her equal. The path to this goal became apparent when he realized that the Infinity Gems, which he had utilized as a blunt instrument of destruction in his previous endeavor, were in fact much more than weapons. They were the key to mastery over every aspect of existence: Reality, Time, Space, Soul, Mind, and Power. With the Infinity Gems mounted on his gloved hand, Thanos obtained his dream of becoming the Supreme Being of the multiverse, and wiped out half the life in our universe, before Warlock returned from the grave and outwitted the demented demigod, stripping him of the Infinity Gauntlet, and shattering his delusions of supremacy.


When the hordes of the Negative Zone overlord known as Annhilus invaded our dimension, Thanos saw opportunity as he always does. Initially allying himself with Annihilus, he aided the insectoid conqueror in capturing Galactus, one of the most powerful cosmic beings in existence. Ever treacherous, Thanos eventually betrayed Annihilus, and sought to aid the opposing heroes in freeing Galactus from captivity. However, this particular scheme ended very badly for Thanos, as Drax The Destroyer, a relentless engine of destruction created to kill Thanos, did just that, punching a hole through his chest and seemingly ending his threat for good.

The Thanos Imperative

Thanos was resurrected once again, this time by his old foe Warlock who used the regenerative powers of his cocoon to restore Thanos, seeing him as essential to his own struggle with the Magus. But Thanos was much displeased with his return to the land of the living. He had found comfort in Death’s arms, and his resurrection drove him mad with rage at being ripped away from Death’s sweet embrace. He eventually regained his faculties enough to be persuaded to aid the Guardians of the Galaxy against the forces of the Cancerverse, an alternate dimension populated with unkillable corrupt beings, where Death herself had been destroyed. But the Guardians learned a painful lesson; never trust Thanos. Thanos turned on them, necessitating Star-Lord and Nova to sacrifice themselves in an effort to destroy the Cancerverse and contain the threat of Thanos.

Both Thanos and the Guardians have since returned in the pages of Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley Avengers Assemble, where Thanos’ latest scheme is still unfolding. But regardless of where his future plans take him, Thanos’ twisted history and endless array of universe-threatening plots ensure that the writers of the "Guardians" film will find no shortage of possibilities to explore with the Guardians’ deadliest enemy.

Our weekly Galaxy Guide takes you through the cosmic side of comic book movies, from "Guardians of the Galaxy" to infinity and beyond. Tell us what you think in the comments section or on Twitter!

Previous Galaxy Guides:

» Who is Rocket Raccoon?

» Who is Groot?

» Who is Gamora?

» Who is Drax the Destroyer?

» Who is Star-Lord?

» Plotting a Course for "Guardians"

» Gunning for the "Guardians"

» Surfing Across Universes

» Who Should Direct The "Guardians" Movie?

» Who Are The Guardians Of The Galaxy?

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