Marvel Universe had its fair share of powerful antagonists over the years, and some of them were truly cosmic in nature (and in scale), and one of the most notable ones is Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds. Galactus often clashes with both superheroes and villains alike due to his extremely destructive nature. He consumes energy, and only celestial objects rich with life force, such as planets, are suitable enough to sate his everlasting hunger. This sounds straight-up evil, considering that Galactus often doesn’t hold back from devouring planets with sentient lifeforms, but despite everything, can Galactus truly be described as a villain or evil?
Galactus is not a villain in the traditional sense of the world, yes, he sometimes clashes with superheroes and has an antagonistic relationship with them, but he is not evil as his motivations are not evil. Galactus consumes planets not out of spite but rather because it is his purpose. He was created as a third force of the universe to maintain balance in the universe. By consuming the planets, he creates space for new things to come, and eliminating him from the equation might have severe consequences for the entire universe.
Now that we’ve given you the short version of the answer, it’s time to analyze it in a bit more detail. If you’re interested in Galactus’ origin and why his motivations are not evil, stay with us and keep reading!
What kind of creature is Galactus anyway?
Before we can answer this, we have to go way back, before Earth-616 universe existed and before Galactus was who he is today.
Galactus was born in the previous incarnation of Earth-616 as a Taa-an, a humanoid alien hailing from the planet Taa. He was named Galan at the time and lived in a world that was among the most technologically advanced in that universe; before his birth, Galan was likewise genetically engineered and was considered to be a superhero of some sort.
Many years later, after Galan’s birth, his universe started collapsing into the so-called ‘Cosmic Egg.’ A Cosmic Egg is a mass of disorganized matter from which a new universe will eventually emerge, but before this can happen, the old universe has to die in a pretty much gruesome and painful way. Galan’s universe started going through the so-called ‘Big Crunch,’ a legitimate term in physics that marks the collapse of the universe in on itself.
The Big Crunch killed almost all life in the universe, and Taa’ans were among the only sentient beings left. Background radiation rendered the universe pretty much sterile and uninhabitable, and Taa’ans sent Galan, now a grown-up, in an advanced spaceship to find a solution and key to their survival.
Galan returned to his homeworld emptyhanded but proposed that the survivors board his ship and that they should die a glorious death by traveling to the center of the ‘Cosmic Egg’ itself.
Galan boarded his spaceship with the rest of the survivors from Taa, and the journey proved dangerous and lethal for everyone but Galan. Instead of dying like the rest of his crew, Galan notices that he is strangely empowered by a strange kind of energy. Galan was approached by Sentience of the Cosmos and was transformed into Galactus, the only “being” to survive the Big Crunch and to be transferred to the newest incarnation of the universe.
Galactus was created at the same time as Eternity and Infinity, one of the fundamental concepts in the Marvel Universe. He will spend countless eons evolving into his current form and learning about his purpose.
Is Galactus truly evil?
Galactus cannot be considered truly evil, or evil at all for that matter, as he is inevitable, and every universe is assumed to have its own version of Galactus. Numerous cosmic beings and other characters want to get rid of Galactus, and every time they come to the same conclusion – Galactus is too important for the balance of the universe to be destroyed.
Soon after Galactus emerged in his prior vulnerable form, Ecce the Watcher came across him and realized what Galactus is capable of. He wanted to “snip it in the bud” and kill Galactus. However, the Watchers have a policy of non-interference, and Galactus was spared. It is only later that they will realize that Galactus has his purpose and place in the natural order, and even if killed, he will soon emerge again and will himself into existence.
Silver Surfer, likewise, once time-traveled to the time before Galactus would become as powerful as he is today and had an opportunity to kill him. He was warned by the Watchers not to interfere with Galactus’ business as he is a vital component of the universe, planet devouring and all.
Galactus also can’t help his hunger. It drives his every need and every moment of his existence. Death described it the best when she advised Galactus not to resist what he was created to do as he is eventually meant to consume everything.
But, Galactus also feels sorry for eating planets, and this is the most vital point of all.
Why does Galactus eat planets?
If Galactus feels sorry for eating worlds and sentient worlds, why does he keep doing it?
Well, the simplest answer lies in Galactus’ nature. He uses life as food as he can’t sustain himself on anything else (although he was known to survive on solar energy as well, even if it doesn’t provide him with much energy at all.) If Galactus is starved, he loses a good portion of his powers, and he can even be killed.
The more complicated answer is that Galactus was created to feed on life because he plays an important part in the overall upkeep of the universe. By eating worlds and life, he makes space for new things to come.
In the beginning, Galactus had to feed less often, every few hundred years or so, so he actively decided not to feed on the worlds that are inhabited by sentient life similar to him. But those types of planets rich in life energy have become increasingly rare, and Galactus was forced, although with extreme guilt, to consume planets with sentient beings as well. So even if Galactus doesn’t want to consume entire worlds, he has to, and he cannot resist the urge.
At the end of the day, Galactus himself admitted that he would return to universe, eventually, billion times more than he had taken away.