Avengers: Endgame brought the atrocities of Thanos to a close. It had the villain die not once, but twice during the course of the film. However, now that the Avengers: Endgame digital release is here, with commentary from the writers and directors, we learn that one of Thanos’ deaths was, in fact, an assisted suicide. The first time, Thor decapitates the Mad Titan with his axe, Stormbreaker.
The writers’ and co-director’s talk
McFeely, the writer: “So at one point in the room, everyone’s getting really frustrated saying, ‘What is the story here?’ And I think Trinh Tran, our executive producer just said, ‘God I really wish we could just kill him.’ And we all went, ‘Wait a second. Could you? What does that mean?'” And it sent us down this whole road, where we solve the issue in the first, what, 12 minutes? I don’t know when this happens.”
Joe, the co-director: “Yeah, very very quickly, but what’s great about it, is that it allows for a very different kind of movie to unfold. One that’s reflective and pensive, and character-oriented rather than plot-oriented.”
Markus, the other writer: “And they only accomplish what Thanos lets them accomplish. He has finished his job and he lets them kill him.”
The life goal of Thanos
The Thanos we meet in Avengers: Endgame’s opening acts differently from the version of the Mad Titan. After eliminating half of all life via The Snap, and then snapping the Infinity Stones into cosmic dust, Thanos is left with crippling injuries. As Markus points out, Thanos was a fanatic who had one single goal in mind: balance the universe, no matter the sacrifice. It makes sense that The Mad Titan offers no resistance to the Avengers strike force while they ambush him in The Garden. After all, he had fulfilled his life’s purpose by that time.
It gets even better when you consider that Avengers: Infinity War set the stage for Thanos’ self-sacrifice: after causing The Snap, Thanos encounters the spiritual remnant of Gamora inside the Soul Stone, where the spectre asks Thanos what his Infinity Gauntlet victory has cost him. A truly sullen and worn down Thanos replies “everything.” It sounded like a psychotic villain’s narcissistic lament, in the scene, but given the later events of Endgame, it’s clear that “balancing the universe” truly did leave Thanos broken and empty from the effort. 2014 Thanos approached The Snap with a lot more maniacal gusto – but that didn’t end very well for him.
Watch the Endgame trailer now, here: