The heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are in for one hell of a rough ride when the incredibly powerful Mad Titan Thanos makes his presence felt. As things stand, Thanos is lurking in the background, masterminding schemes like the Chitauri invasion of Earth and the gathering of the Infinity Stones – but he is primed to make his own assault in the Infinity Wars films. We first saw Thanos at the mid-credits interval of the Avengers movie, when he was seen with the Other, after the Chitauri invasion had failed. He let a smile slip when the Other informed him that to challenge the heroes of Earth would be “to court death.' He was fully unveiled in a couple pf brief scenes with Ronin the Accuser in last year's Guardians of the Galaxy. His third appearance came after the initial credits rolled in Avengers: Age of Ultron, as we saw the Mad Titan unlock a vault (evidently not the one from Odin's treasure room) to retrieve an infinity gauntlet and eerily uttering "Fine, I'll do it myself." It seems he can no longer sit around and watch his hired guns fail him.
Thanos is powerful enough without any items of power in his possession, so wielding the Infinity Gauntlet (which will essentially make him God if the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of it is anything like the one in the comic books – which, to be honest, it probably won’t be) will make him nigh unbeatable. This makes us wonder; how the hell is he going to be defeated? Well, there are a number of potential ways that he could be brought down and that’s what we’re going to take a look at in this article.
Here are nine ways in which Thanos could be defeated in the Avengers: Infinity Wars movies.
9. Put Scarlett Witch At Her Most Powerful - Comic Book Levels
One of the things that Wanda is known for in the comic books is her fluctuating power levels (mostly due to inconsistent writing, as opposed to it actually being a thing) and, consequently, that could occur in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, it could be a case of Wanda not yet reaching her potential and, when she does, she could become a genuine threat to a character of Thanos’ power levels – even if he’s wielding the Infinity Gauntlet.
In the comics, you see, Wanda has been shown to be a mass reality warper (just like the power the Infinity Gauntlet will presumably give Thanos) and also possesses the power to manipulate probability. In the “House of M” storyline, by simply saying “no more mutants”, Wanda wiped mutants from the planet.
This level of power could act as the ideal counter-measure to Thanos and it could even be a case of the Infinity Gauntlet activating Wanda’s full powers, by virtue of her being in close proximity to it.
It would certainly be cool to see a comic book-level Wanda Maximoff duking it out with Thanos, put it that way. With the way things stand now, it seems the MCU are keeping her in check with respect to her powers. I am merely suggesting that this is something that could happen but it is improbable that the fate of mankind will rest on her magical shoulders being that there are so many other gifted and skilled players within the Avengers.
8. A Loki Double-Cross
Loki will be looking to avoid the wrath of Thanos, following his failure to conquer Earth on the Mad Titan’s behalf in the first Avengers movie. As a result, he may conspire with him once more – perhaps acting in the same capacity as Mephisto did in the Infinity Gauntlet comic book arc, where he was sort of Thanos’ adviser, before attempting to betray him.
This would be the ultimate display of Loki’s deviousness, but also the ultimate way to make amends for all of the terrible things he did in previous movies – assuming his double-cross was in order to help the heroes, as oppose to gaining power for himself, that is.
Either way, if Loki was to appear in the movie as Thanos’ aid, it would be more than likely that his motives were actually to bring the Mad Titan down – as we all know the Asgardian doesn’t play well with others.
7. He Realizes He Isn't Going To Die
Thanos has an obsession with death – in more ways than one. Not only does he crave death itself, but he is also in love with the cosmic entity known as “Death” or “Lady Death” – Marvel’s all-powerful Grim Reaper, so to speak.
As a result, most of his plans revolve around death in one way or another and, while we can’t see the living embodiment of death appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and therefore no attempts to please her by Thanos will occur), what may happen is that Thanos realizes he is unchallenged by the meagre might of the heroes present and, as such, might give up based on the fact that he knows he will prevail.
It sounds odd, but that’s just what Thanos is about. If he comes to the conclusion that to challenge Earth actually isn’t actually “to court death”, he might stop in his tracks and move on.
Could we see Thanos being defeated in exactly the same that he was in the Infinity Gauntlet story arc? It’s certainly a distinct possibility, given that the character who ultimately brought him down is Nebula.
After the collective heroes present – including the likes of Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor – fail to stop Thanos in his quest for universal domination, it takes a simple momentary lapse in concentration for Thanos to lose the Infinity Gauntlet. Nebula simply grabs it off him, bringing to an end his reign of terror and undoing everything he had previously done with the item of power.
Although this would be something of an anti-climatic outcome to the Thanos/Infinity Gauntlet saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (given the action-packed alternative ways in which Thanos could potentially be defeated), it would certainly be a fitting tribute to the source material. This is assuming, of course, that she is somehow worked into the Infinity Wars story line.
5. An Avengers/Guardians Team-Up
This is what everyone undoubtedly wants to see. Could Thanos’ demise in Avengers 3 be as simple as two teams coming together to overpower him?
What could play out is the Guardians figure out Thanos’ intentions to destroy Earth and follow him – there is no reason why the cosmic team won’t turn up to assist the Avengers in their (and the universe’s) hour of need.
Imagine if you will that Thanos is tearing through the Avengers like butter – knocking down the Hulk, smashing Tony Stark’s armour, shrugging off shots from Mjolnir as if it was an inflatable hammer – and, all of a sudden, backup arrives in the form of an anthropomorphic raccoon, a walking tree and a ragtag band of space misfits.
Seeing the two very different teams joining forces to overwhelm Thanos with the numbers game would be absolutely awesome to see and, at this moment in time, it does seem like one of the most likely scenarios.
When Thanos is causing universal havoc with the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet, what better way to combat him than with some divine intervention in the shape of the Allfather Odin?
Thor’s father is one of the few non-abstract beings in the Marvel comic book universe who is actually capable of defeating Thanos in one-on-one combat and, although the Infinity Gauntlet will sway the odds massively in Thanos’ favour, Odin has a few tricks up his sleeve that could even the odds somewhat.
A concept in the comic books that has yet to be explored in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is known as the Odinforce – an ancient Asgardian power that Odin can call upon in desperate times. It has granted him the power to create and destroy galaxies and it could be the leveller required to combat Thanos.
Imagine, if you will, that Thanos is on Earth, causing universal destruction and swatting away the heroes like flies – a portal opens, Anthony Hopkins’ Odin appears and starts beating the Mad Titan around like a rag doll. What an awesome scene that would be.
He could even be wielding the all-powerful Odinsword and/or inhabiting the Destroyer Armour – which would be an incredible sight. In the comics, he has grown to 2000 feet tall doing this, after having absorbed the powers of several other godlike beings. Imagine Thanos doing the same and two giants duking it out in live action?
When it comes to Odin’s potential intervention in the final battle with Thanos, the possibilities are endless and fantastic.
3. Thanos Buster Armor
Iron Man 3 showed that the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Tony Stark is just as capable as his comic book counterpart when it comes to creating a wide variety of different armors – and that could signal the introduction of armors designed specifically to combat individual threats.
Avengers: Age of Ultron movie has already shown that the Hulk can be subdued with Veronika. In the comics, Stark has created such armors as the aforementioned one to combat the Hulk, a Thor Buster armor for the event that Thor went rogue and indeed a Thanos Buster armor.
Maybe, just maybe, Earth (and consequently Tony Stark) will learn of the threat of Thanos (perhaps during the events of Guardians of the Galaxy sequel) and this will prompt the hero to build a counter-measure. Of course, whether or not it would take in to account the fact that the Mad Titan will be wielding the Infinity Gauntlet is very unlikely and, as such, it might struggle to take Thanos down. But if the heroes can take the Gauntlet from him, the Thanos Buster armor could do a great job of finishing the villain off.
2. Captain America Sacrifices His Life
Let's face it, not everyone is going to survive Infinity Wars. Now, if this was to happen, it would have to be slightly different to the outcome of the same scenario in the comic book arc – because Captain America’s sacrifice didn’t actually defeat Thanos in the original story, he actually just died in vein until Nebula rectified the situation. It would, however, be a very good send-off for Chris Evans if his Captain America character was to defeat Thanos at the expense of his own life.
Imagine, if you will, that the godlike Thanos, wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, has dispatched of the rest of the heroes and Captain America approaches him defiantly. Somehow, he manages to remove the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos and uses it to kill him, but loses his life in the process.
At that point, the other heroes could awaken to see his lifeless body laying next to that of Thanos. Assuming the Infinity Gauntlet isn’t as ridiculously powerful in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it is in the comic, they would be unable to bring him back to life, but would appreciate his sacrifice and respect him even more than they previously did. This would, of course, enable Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes to take over the Captain America mantle in future movies.
1. Drax The Destroyer
It could be we already know that he will be the one to take down the almighty Thanos. At the end of Guardians, he made the statement - "Ronin was just a puppet. Now I must kill Thanos." Was this just Drax being Drax or was there more meaning behind that promise? It seems he would be way out of his league considering how badly he did when he took on Ronin. Given that, I still think it's possible.
When all else fails, with the Avengers and their allies soundly beaten by the godlike Thanos, could it simply come down to a one-on-one fight between the Mad Titan and the being who was created for the very purpose of defeating him (in the comics, at least)?
Drax the Destroyer has defeated Thanos before in the comic books, simply because he was made and destined to do so.
He was Arthur Douglas – a human whose family was attacked and killed by the Mad Titan and whose spirit was placed in a powerful new body by the powerful being Kronos in order for him to take Thanos down.
In one instance in the comic books, Drax ripped Thanos’ heart out through his chest. Although that kind of brutality is unlikely to be shown in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Drax taking down the villain in a somewhat less violent way would make a lot of sense (especially given that it’s already been shown, in the trailers, that Drax is on a galactic rampage to find his family’s killer). They just need to somehow tap into that power and dramatically upgrade him into an unstoppable force. Perhaps he can wield the Orb, the gemstone of power and use that to his advantage.