When talking about powerful Marvel villains, it’s impossible not to instantly recall Thanos, who was regarded as the golden standard both when it comes to comics and in the MCU. Thanos has intelligence, power, resources, and enough tenacity to conquer the whole universe. But does he have time for it? We know that Thanos was extremely difficult to kill, but will he ever succumb to the effect of aging? This is what we set out to uncover today as we explore whether Thanos is immortal, both in the comics and in the MCU.
Thanos is immortal in the comics, meaning he is immune to the effects of aging diseases and other calamities that might result in his death. He can still be killed if enough damage is dealt to him. At one point, Thanos was banned from entering Death’s realm, meaning that even after death, he would re-appear at some point. In the MCU, Thanos is not immortal but is extremely long-lived. This is because the cinematic version is technically not an Eternal but rather a Titan.
Now that we’ve covered that Thanos doesn’t really have an expiration date, it’s time to explore why. If you’re interested in how Thanos’ Eternal heritage plays into this and why the MCU version of the character is different, stay with us and keep reading!
Thanos is immortal because he is part Eternal
When Celestial, Nezarr the Calculator, was creating Eternals, he had longevity in mind. This is why only 100 of them were created. Eternals are, as the name of their species implies, immortal. They could never succumb to age, wear & tear, but they could still die from inflicted damage if it was severe enough.
However, via the Machine, some protocols were implemented to ensure their resurrection every single time death happened. Because Eternals can live seemingly forever and reincarnate, they did not need to reproduce and ensure that their genes were passed on. And this is how Thanos comes into being.
We know that Thanos was the son born the natural way to two Eternals Sui-San and A’Lars. The fact that A’Lars wanted to have his own biological children was the reason why he went to war against his brother Zuras, who considered that such a thing would be blasphemy toward the Machine and Eternal way of life.
Still, A’Lars was convinced that Eternals should choose their own destiny, and he soon moved away, established a colony on Titan, and fell in love with Sui-San. On their wedding day, A’Lars gifted Sui-San with Quantum Bands that allowed them to reproduce, and after some time, Thanos was born.
When Thanos was born, both A’Lars and Sui-San realized that an abomination was born, and Sui-San even tried to kill him. Thano was not a full Eternal, considering that both Eternals and Deviants were created from the same DNA. Thanos was born with Deviant Syndrome, meaning that he manifested the savage and ruthless qualities of the despicable Deviant race.
But where it counts, Thano also inherited Eternal physiology, meaning that he is immune to the effects of aging, viruses, and diseases. Basically, after Thanos reached his prime, he stopped aging, but that doesn’t mean that he is impossible to kill.
Thanos can be killed with sufficient damage
Thanos is extremely durable, but that doesn’t mean that he is invulnerable. If you have trouble understanding the fact that Thanos is immortal but still able to be killed, think of the Vampires. They are immortal in a way that they don’t age, but they can still be killed with sunlight and a good ol’ stake through the heart.
If a weapon powerful enough damages Thanos’ vital organs, he will die. Such a thing happened during the ‘Annihilation’ storyline when Thanos failed to regenerate his heart and succumbed to the damage. This is because, at the end of the day, Thanos is not a full Eternal, meaning that his regenerative healing factor is nowhere near that of his “full-blooded” ancestors.
Still, it’s important to note that even when Thanos is killed, he always finds a way to return. At one point, he was banned from entering Death’s realm because of the way he abused his powers in the past.
Why is Thanos not immortal in the MCU?
The cinematic version of the Mad Titan was a more-or-less faithful adaptation of the character, but some changes needed to be made. Thanos was nerfed in almost all aspects. Some powers were taken from him, and even parts of his heritage.
Thanos doesn’t have a connection to the Eternals in the MCU. Instead, he is a Titan, hailing from, well, Titan. There is no Deviant Syndrom in the MCU, and we don’t know whether Thanos was ridiculed by his kind because of his purple skin. As far as we know, other Titans in the MCU also looked as brutish and purple as Thanos.
Still, Thanos is not immortal in the MCU. He is only long-lived, much like Asgardians, Frost Giants, Flora Colossi, and some other powerful alien races. Thanos is at least 1000 years old in the MCU, and he still appears to be in his prime and extremely powerful, but he is not immortal, just like Loki and Thor aren’t.
He is also extremely durable and nearly immune to the effects of regular weapons and energy-based attacks, but he was still killed with a weapon made out of Uru.
We don’t know whether Thanos can reincarnate like his comic version, but it would be an interesting premise to explore, especially since we’ve seen now that due to Multiverse, death might not truly be the end for just about anyone in the MCU.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments!