Thanos first made his presence known in the MCU during the post-credits sequence to The Avengers in 2012, where it was revealed that he was the one who sent Loki to attack Earth.
From there, the nefarious Mad Titan made brief appearances in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy. But Thanos was finally unleashed in Infinity War and Endgame as the primary villain of both movies, effectively making him the “big bad” of Marvel Studios’ Infinity Saga.
Of course, Tony Stark famously gave his life to put an end to Thanos and his forces, seemingly wiping the character from the playing field permanently. But would an incredibly popular character like Thanos remain but dust in the wind? The creator of his comic book counterpart had some thoughts.
Jim Starlin Hopes for a Thanos Comeback
Comics industry legend Jim Starlin, known for his work with both Marvel and DC spoke to Inverse about Marvel Studios’ use of Thanos in their movies. Starlin created Thanos in the '70s and offered the following on the character’s lasting appeal, sharing his confidence that fans will see him again on-screen:
“Well, I think he probably hits a nerve. He raises questions that a number of us have thought about. He's also just a badass character. I don't think anybody thinks we've seen the last of him. Disney made a shitload of money off of him and there's probably a shitload of money still to be made. So my fingers are crossed.“
The writer and artist also discussed how the MCU’s Multiverse could pave the way for ”the possibility of bringing back Thanos.”
“I've heard Marvel may want to use some other characters I've done. I think they're running out. Now that they've got this multiverse, there's the possibility of bringing back Thanos. And with Thanos, that opens up possibilities for other characters. There are a few that they haven't used, like the Blood Brothers.”
The Blood Brothers Starlin refers to are Iron Man villains in the comics who first debuted in 1973.
Jim Starlin also responded to a question about Thanos’ dynamic with his brother, Eros (played in Eternals by Harry Styles) and whether or not the Eros character could work without Thanos:
I think they're planning on starting him off without Thanos. Thanos and Warlock also have a lot in common and have an association, and they got a fairly good star for Adam Warlock. I doubt if he's going to be in just this one movie.
Will Marvel Reintroduce the Mad Titan?
The question remains: Would Kevin Feige and the team Marvel Studios ever consider using Thanos again in a movie or series?
In 2020, the rumor mill kicked up a bit over rumblings that the studio planned on putting Thanos in an upcoming project. But beyond his lifeless body being glimpsed in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, this has not happened as of yet.
Perhaps it’s best that the MCU leaves Thanos dead and buried. After all, Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror is already being set up as the next major crossover villain and will be making many appearances in various Marvel Studios projects over the next few years.
Not to mention that Thanos’ overall impact can still be felt quite greatly in the story. Characters still talk about the Blip and being vanished for five years as a result of his actions. And the villain still gets name-dropped in the MCU quite often.
Regardless of whether or not he appears again, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War is tough to dethrone as Thanos’ moment to shine. The movie is available to stream on Disney+ and can be purchased wherever movies are sold.