When Thanos snaps his fingers at the climax of Avengers: Infinity War, he finally completes his quest to erase half of the universe’s population, but in the Mad Titan’s own words, it costs him “everything.” And to add insult to injury, he also pretty badly damages his arm and the Infinity Gauntlet in the process.
Nonetheless, the tyrant has been known to accomplish far more ambitious feats with the Infinity Stones than healing a limb and repairing a piece of metal. He even quickly recovers from a blow to the chest dealt by Thor’s Stormbreaker axe immediately beforehand, so you’d think that reversing the damage done to both his arm and his all-powerful accessory would be a cinch.
As it turns out, though, things may not be that simple. As part of the Infinity War Vudu Viewing Party over the weekend, the official Avengers Twitter account opened the floor to fan questions for directors Anthony and Joe Russo. When one user asked about Thanos’ ability to mend his arm using the stones, the filmmaking brothers chose to keep things ambiguous, saying:
“Perhaps, but there is a cost to using the power of the Stones.”
To a large extent, you could argue that this is a question that’s less relevant to Infinity War than it is to next year’s Avengers 4, since it’s in this next film that we’ll presumably be seeing how Thanos’ arm fares in the long run. This would explain why the Russos are remaining fairly tight-lipped on what may well turn out to be a minor detail, since Marvel’s been notoriously stingy when it comes to information on the upcoming sequel.
That being said, on the audio commentary for the Infinity War home video release, Joe Russo suggests some form of permanent damage to the despot.
“See there, with his Gauntlet and the arm, the power that it takes to use all six Stones is significant, and clearly damaged the Gauntlet and damaged Thanos permanently,” Russo said.
Whether the permanent damage suffered by the character in Infinity War is physical or emotional isn’t entirely clear at this point, you can expect to see Thanos and his gauntlet once again when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019.